Besides the legendary live music performances and epic hiking, Red Rocks Amphitheater is also home to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame Museum. Their collection of over 600 historical music memorabilia items and artifacts signifies their commitment to showcasing more than 50 important artists and venues in the history of Colorado. Unless you’re a real music history aficionado, you might not recognize many of the names in the Colorado Music Hall of Fame (CMHoF). But this year marks the tenth anniversary of the institution, with inductees including The String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Hot Rize, and the Fox Theatre in Boulder. The only other venue to be honored in the Hall of Fame is Red Rocks itself.
Karen Radman, the Executive Director of the CMHOF said: “The 2021 induction class, The Flatirons Sessions, is a representation of three generations of bands who have blended traditional roots music with rock and roll, creating a uniquely Colorado sound that is loved by so many. The Fox Theatre, which has been operating as a concert venue since 1992, is also being inducted for its role in introducing audiences to these bands – and a wide variety of other Colorado and national bands. We’re pleased to be honoring bands and a venue that are still very much part of Colorado’s thriving music scene.”
Nominations for inductees are made by the public with online submissions and the board of directors. Artists have to be either from Colorado or have spent a significant amount of time in the state and been active in the music scene for a decade or more. Radman added, “The Hall’s board looks for venues that have been instrumental in bringing music to Coloradans, having helped shape the Colorado music scene, past or present.”
Including the Fox Theatre in the 2021 inductees is a milestone for the venue that was previously named in Rolling Stone as one of the best venues in the country. Cheryl Liguori, CEO of Z2 Entertainment that owns the Fox told us, “That Rolling Stone article reinforced that we succeeded with our mission: to provide exceptional lights and sound (not a priority for many venues back then); top-notch professional production and venue operations, all wrapped up with a welcoming vibe. The word had already quickly spread that The Fox was the best club to play and the best venue to experience live music.”
And the history of the intimate venue on The Hill is storied. The live production quality is undeniable, and the list of artists who have played there is incredibly impressive. So it makes perfect sense that they would achieve the accolades and join the ranks of the CMHoF.
Liguori went on to say: “Z2 Entertainment is truly honored to have The Fox Theatre inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. We share a lot of early history and fun times with the other inductees. Looking at this year's inductees particularly (The) String Cheese Incident and Leftover Salmon, we all came up together, along with the fans and created history together… I talk to people all the time who list off, with that smile and faraway look, their top Fox shows. The Fox makes special memories for a lot of people and we'll keep them coming.”
The CMHoF was instrumental as an advocate for the industry during the tumultuousness of 2020. In addition to the museum, they provide information and educational resources. According to Radman: “The Hall fields email/phone inquiries from the general public, educators, filmmakers and journalists, seeking answers to questions related to Colorado music. Through social media and a monthly e-newsletter, we promote concerts of Colorado musicians and Hall of Fame inductees, as well as other music-related news and events that our followers would find of interest. In 2020, to support the music community… promote, and endorse the Save Our Stages Act, we secured IRS 501(h) designation, which allows the Hall to lobby for legislative issues that align with its mission. The Save Our Stages Act, supporting the National Independent Venue Association and its Colorado affiliate, was the first piece of legislation that the Hall officially endorsed.” They also sell Red Rocks merch and have published three coffee table books about the illustrious history of Colorado music.
Updates and improvements to the CMHoF are ongoing. A recently established Induction Committee will review and update criteria for nominations in the future and encourage more participation from the public. If you want to make history, contact them for more information on how to get involved.
Radman talked about the upcoming plans for the CMHoF, saying: “It’s an exciting time for the Hall as it celebrates its 10th anniversary with an update to its museum at Red Rocks Amphitheatre Trading Post. New modern bilingual exhibits will be installed in Spring 2022 in a more unified room layout, interweaving the Hall of Fame exhibits and Red Rocks gift shop retail merchandise. The Hall is also undergoing a strategic planning process and will be gathering input from the community to help inform the direction for our next 10 years. These plans could include opening a larger music museum in Denver in the future, hopefully in addition to our exhibits at Red Rocks Trading Post.”
The museum was previously located at the First Bank Center in Broomfield before moving to Red Rocks in 2015. It’s free and open to the public year round, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So next time you’re going to a show at Red Rocks, take some time to appreciate the past by checking out the CMHoF Museum. Who knows? You might learn something before partying your brains out.
The ceremony for this year’s inductees at Mission Ballroom in Denver were postponed from December to spring of next year. Just in time for the 30th anniversary of the Fox Theatre. Liguori summed it up nicely, saying: “30 years in (our anniversary is March 6, 2022) and it's still the venue artists want to play. We hear all the time that The Fox is one of the best plays of their tour.”