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Think big

The inaugural Monolith might not have a brand name like its rival fests ... but look at the lineup


Ghostland Observatory, Spoon, CYHSY all at Red Rocks - this weekend.
  • Ghostland Observatory, Spoon, CYHSY all at Red Rocks this weekend.

Eight days before the inaugural Monolith Festival kicks off, Josh Baker says he's prepared.

Yeah, there's still some marketing and promotion to take care of, and, surprisingly, some tickets to be sold, but Baker maintains he's remaining calm.

"I'm not freaking out yet," he says.

If he were, you'd have to forgive him. What Baker's about to bring to Morrison's Red Rocks Amphitheatre is essentially unprecedented for the region. Take a look at a sampling of names from the bill: The Flaming Lips, Cake, Spoon, Art Brut, The Decemberists, Kings of Leon, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah ... the list goes on.

With a lineup like that, Monolith the brainchild of Baker and Matt Fecher, director of the South Park Music Festival (which is taking the year off) has the potential to bring some serious attention to the region.

And that's precisely the idea.

"We wanted to put together an event that was a good representation of the venue and the whole area, and a pinnacle base for a destination festival in Colorado," Baker says.

The idea of Monolith becoming a "destination festival" is already viable. Baker mentions the variety of locations from which he's seen VIP tickets purchased: Florida, England, Finland.

It's especially impressive when you consider that the Austin City Limits Music Festival and the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco are taking place the same weekend. A number of bands, in fact, are playing two of these fests. A brave few Spoon, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Ghostland Observatory are hitting all three.

Baker explains the dates for this year's Monolith Festival (which is scheduled to continue for at least another five years) were simply the only back-to-back ones available by the time Monolith was ready. He's comfortable with it nonetheless.

A partnership with major concert promotion conglomerate AEG Live made it easier to get the headliners involved, and the promise of those headliners made it easier to get the organizers' own choices. And then there was still a pool of 800 to 1,000 emerging artists who submitted performance applications. Not bad for a first year. Not bad for any year, really.

In the future, Baker hopes to offer more than the five stages the Red Rocks campus will boast this year. But what won't change is the attendance ceiling of 9,400, as opposed to the tens of thousands hosted in other open-air venues. When that figure is coupled with the renown of Red Rocks, Baker is confident his show will be a draw for years to come.

"Every region should have a great festival that they can call their own," he says. "I tell a lot of people, y'know, that this is happening in your backyard. If you live in Colorado, this is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of something special."

Monolith Festival

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison

Friday, Sept. 14, 3 p.m., and Saturday, Sept., 15, 2 p.m.

Tickets: $42.50 for Friday- or Saturday-only passes, $63.60-$79.50 for two-day passes; visit For $175 VIP passes and a full lineup, visit


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