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If You Build It, They Will Come: Montrose Amphitheater

A uniquely tight-knit community, Montrose is large enough to host “big box” stores such as Walmart, Target, and Home Depot; yet small enough that when you walk into a local coffee shop like San Juan Brews, the owners know you by name. This unique combination is perfectly embodied in the brand new Montrose Rotary Amphitheater.

The City of Montrose and the Montrose Rotary Club decided to build the amphitheater because they saw what an asset it would be to the community. They tapped Del-Mont Consultants to lead the charge on architectural design and engineering for the project. Once the project was conceptualized and designed, Del-Mont and the City of Montrose bid out the project almost exclusively to local construction companies, eventually awarding the contract to Styker.

Initially, Stryker had sought to sub roughly 65 percent of the work to local contractors for this project. Upon completion of the project, Stryker had successfully beat that goal and subbed roughly 75 percent to local contractors in the community. The Amphitheater was conceptualized, designed, and built, for Montrose by Montrose.

Amphitheaters and large-scale events are known for having an immense impact on the local economy and job market in the communities that host them. In 2015, Red Rocks Amphitheater generated over $23.5 million for the local economy with only 138 paid shows, and that number has continued to grow year-over-year (with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic.) For comparison, Red Rocks Amphitheater has a capacity of 9,525 and it’s projected that the Montrose Rotary Amphitheater will have a capacity around 6,000. Some of you may be reading this and saying “yeah but we’re not Red Rocks and we never will be - we’re Montrose”.

Well the beauty of the Amphitheater is that it was designed and built to accommodate the needs of large touring parties giving Montrose the ability to host nationally recognized names, effectively opening the gate to recognizing that economic opportunity. There is a roof with ample load-bearing capacity that can accommodate a truss grid to hang lighting, a stage large enough to host a full-scale orchestra, and enough power to connect tour buses, lighting, and audio consoles. Backstage there is an area large enough for a semi to easily turn around and back up to loading docks.

Montrose Oktoberfest, benefitting local nonprofit All Points Transit, was the first event held at the amphitheater. It was coordinated by ThinkSharp! Consulting with help from the Black Canyon Homebrewers Association. Cousin Curtiss opened the event and is a local musician who lives in Montrose. Zolopht, a five-piece funk-band out of Grand Junction with a strong following in the region, appeared next, and finally, we had Iron Horse, which is a two-time Grammy nominated bluegrass band.

There is still a lot of work to be done, and a lot of decisions to be made, in terms of how to properly manage and book the amphitheater but we’re past the hard part. The building is built, it looks and, more importantly, sounds, incredible. Change is scary - especially when it’s done in the face of uncertainty - but it takes courage, community, and faith; three things we have a surplus of here in Montrose.

Go and visit the Montrose Rotary Amphitheatre in Cerise park and stand in the grass. Use your imagination and visualize this: you’re standing in a crowd surrounded by your friends at your favorite outdoor amphitheatre. As the house-music slowly fades and the lights start to dim, you can feel the osmosis of that unspeakable energy from eager fans anxiously waiting to see their favorite band. Suddenly, the stage lights rise and you hear band members tuning their instruments as the energy of the crowd starts to crescendo. Using his sticks, the drummer counts off the tempo and is suddenly joined by the other instruments on the proceeding downbeat.

You’re at the Montrose Rotary Amphitheater and life is good.

#Live for Live Music.


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