On November 17, Denver City Council passed an ordinance establishing AXS, a ticketing company co-owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, as the exclusive ticketing provider from January 1, 2015, until December 31, 2019, for venues owned by the City of Denver. You can read all 47 thrilling pages of the agreement here.

The locations covered by the contract are: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver Coliseum, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, the Buell Theatre, Boettcher Concert Hall, the McNichols Building, Bellco Theatre, the Denver Performing Arts Complex (that’s any events in the Galleria or the Sculpture Park) and the Colorado Convention Center.

Basically, that means that for the next five years, whenever you go to an event at any of those venues (including the Great American Beer Festival, certain touring theatrical productions and the many concerts at Red Rocks), you’ll buy your ticket through AXS. The arrangement has brought up numerous questions from numerous people. Here are the answers to a few of them.

1. Why would the city want this?
Currently, the city allows entities renting its venues to use whichever ticketing company they want. That leaves the city unable to cash in on any part of the money collected in ticket fees, which are often more than $10 per ticket. The new contract allows the city to negotiate for part of those fees. “I think the reality is that the city venues were the exception to the way the business is being run now,” says Denver Arts and Venues spokesman Brian Kitts — and he’s certainly in a position to know: Before he started working for the city, Kitts spent ten years in the marketing department at Kroenke Sports and Entertainment. “If you look at Live Nation or AEG, if they want to book a show at the Pepsi Center, they have to use Altitude Tickets. That’s the way the industry has been for a long time, and the city has just gotten on board.”

This contract also gives the city access to information about who is buying tickets in its venues, something it didn’t have before. “We will use that, I think, to build a case for better or more diverse programming,” says Kitts.

2. Are there any exceptions?
Yes. Events already on sale and event promoters who have existing contracts with ticket vendors will not be required to use AXS. GABF, for example, has a contract with Ticketmaster. When that contract expires, the festival will have to use AXS to sell tickets.

Also, the arts organizations in residence at the Performing Arts Complex (which includes the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the Colorado Ballet, Opera Colorado and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts) are exempt for the foreseeable future.

3. What is AXS?
AXS is a Los Angeles-based ticket merchant co-owned by AEG and Cirque du Soleil. AXS was founded in 2011, and the first two venues for which it handled ticketing were the Bluebird Theater and the Ogden Theatre. Its roster now includes several dozen venues around the United States and a handful in the U.K.

AEG is the largest concert promoter in Denver by far (AEG operates the Bluebird, the Ogden, the Gothic Theatre, the 1STBANK Center and Fiddler’s Green, and is responsible for the majority of the concerts at Red Rocks as well as many of those at the Pepsi Center).

More information, including the actual terms of the contract, is on the next pages. Go to the website to see them.

By Kiernan Maletsky


[Contributed by Alex Teitz, Femmusic.com]

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On Colorado Gives Day, consumers are encouraged to log off Amazon.com and support their favorite local non-profit through an online donation. Landing right before the holidays, the fundraising day is organized to end off the financial year on a high note.

Here in Denver, there are almost a dozen major non-profit organizations supporting the local music scene. And all of them were fundraising hard this week. We caught up with them to see how their Colorado Gives Day campaign turned out.

Colorado Music Festival & Center for Musical Arts
31 total gifts, up fourteen percent from last year.
60 percent total increase in dollars raised over last year.

“Our campaign was about supporting our organization’s work in general: Supporting music in Boulder County, from classes, financial aid and instrument rentals to performance opportunities and the renowned Colorado Music Festival summer performance series,” says Marketing and Public Relations Director Cindy Sewell Hohman.
“[Colorado Give Day] provides a communication platform for all nonprofits to amplify their message, which is especially important for smaller organizations. It raises awareness and focuses year-end giving across the state; creates an incentive to donate at a specific time…often, donors have an ‘I’ll get to it sometime…’ perspective; Colorado Gives Day helps to focus giving and generate income at a time when it is most needed.”

Colorado Symphony
500 donations, up 50 percent from last year.

“Our musicians are selfless; they have in the past sacrificed greatly to ensure that this beautiful music plays on for Colorado. In continuing this tradition, we established 100% participation by all staff and musicians in donating to the CSO on Colorado Gives Day,” said Jackson Stevens, Individual Giving director. “Our campaign was all about having community members join us in supporting the music we all love, and supporting what this art form can do for children as they climb up K-12, and for our adults in washing off the dust from everyday life.”

CPR/Open Air
$181,726 from 1,345 donors, up about a 42 percent from last year.

“For CPR, Colorado Gives Day gives us the opportunity to reach out to our listeners and enlist their support to help us continue to strengthen our mission,” says Jim East, CPR Vice President of Development. “Listener support makes what we do possible and Colorado Gives Day is another platform to further our relationship with them, enabling us to provide more news and music content to the Colorado community.”

KUVO Jazz Radio
$135,000 raised in total for the Rocky Mountain PBS family as of 4 p.m. on Colorado Gives Day.

“We hope that the community will rally with us to keep Jazz alive. Most music programs in schools don’t emphasize jazz,” says Tina Cartagena, Chief Development Officer. “KUVO is helping fill that gap, and making it easier for youth to be exposed to America’s music.”

For the full article and other music organizations that benefited, go to. . .


By Mary Willson

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