1UP Colfax, Casselman's, Park House … who's next?

First it was the 1UP Colfax closing the venue portion of its business, now Casselman’s, The Armoury and Park House are following suit. One by one, some of Denver’s coolest niche music venues are closing their doors and saying so long, leaving many musicians without a place to play and fans without a place to listen. With the string of recent closures in the city’s otherwise bustling music scene, Denverites have started wondering what the hell is going on. So far we have a few theories as to the cause of the domino effect.

Small venues are losing out on business to larger venues/companies.

Since solidifying its stranglehold on ticketing and booking for most of Denver’s premiere venues like Red Rocks, The Ogden Theater and 1st Bank Center, plenty of fingers are being pointed at corporate overlord AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) for essentially creating a monopoly and forcing artists to play at an AEG venue or not play at all. Granted, that doesn’t necessarily mean that small venues can’t continue booking their own gigs and selling their own tickets, but when you’re trying to sell tickets for a little-known local band and Passion Pit is playing on the same night a few blocks away, where do think most people end up?

Rising rent prices are fucking everything up.

Like just about everything else in this damn city, rent prices are on the rise, ruining small businesses and angering residents to no end. Some folks might call it gentrification — big money rolling over those with little money — but others might just see this as a painful side effect of progress in a booming city. It’s not Denver’s fault that it’s so damn cool and that everyone wants to live here, but the swarm of new residents and businesses — which is ultimately a good thing for the city — has definitely taken a toll on establishments that were just barely getting by before. Rent is absurdly high; it isn’t cheap to operate a successful music venue. You do the math.

There is a shadowy plot afoot to dethrone Denver’s glorious music scene.

Los Angeles can squawk about how great its music scene is, but everyone knows that Denver is the music capital of the western United States (we dare you to challenge that!). If not for economic reasons, there’s been some speculation that a jealous western city is tired of playing second banana to Denver and has hatched a devious plot to ruin local venues, thus destroying our music scene from within. Some point the finger at LA, others at Seattle or Portland or Austin, but we’ve got our eyes on different suspect. That’s right, we’re onto you, Omaha!

Blame it on EDM. That always seems to work.

When all else fails, blame millennials and that darn electronic dance music. For real though, a couple of years ago venues around town were booking DJs left and right and they always drew a crowd even on a weeknight. But since EDM has lost some steam recently, it’s not as easy to bring in business with a couple electronic nights a week. And since there hasn’t really been a clear cut replacement to match the drawing power of EDM, some venues may just be at a loss for bookings that will fill the room.