Red Rocks Amphitheatre has attracted the attention of some of the greatest musical acts in the world since 1941. Everyone from The Beatles and the Rolling Stones to U2, James Taylor, and the Eagles has played Red Rocks.
Nestled just outside of Denver, Colorado in the tiny town of Morrison, where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, two giant rocks jut out from the earth creating an open-air performance venue that is nearly acoustically perfect. These monoliths not only create the perfect natural sound stage, but also provide a mesmerizing background for some impressive lighting effects.
In the spring of 2019, Barbizon Light of the Rockies completed the installation and programming of an upgraded lighting package at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Until 2019, large 400 W mercury-vapor lights lit the historic rocks and eight outdoor PAR 64s lit the audience.
“We had been working with Venue Director, Tad Bowman, of the city and county of Denver to look at LED products for the space for about three years,” says Pete Maurelli of Barbizon. “While we looked at a variety of fixtures from small to large, we recommended the ETC Desire D60X fixtures for two main reasons – the five-year warranty and ETC’s history of customer service.”
Maurelli also notes that the smaller size of the ETC fixtures offers better control and coverage of the rocks without visually interrupting the view. This is incredibly important for a venue that has such a monumental focus on naturally created elements. If one ETC Desire fixture were to fail, it’s a minor issue because of the impressive wash coverage the D60s provide.
The main control of the system at Red Rocks includes a full ETC Mosaic system with astronomical time clock features and local control. “We partitioned the controls so that visiting artists can control the lights on the rocks, while only Red Rocks staff and stagehands can control the house lights,” says Maurelli.
A full back up generator system and life safety system are included in the upgrades as well. The houselights are now part of the backup generator system and the ETC system provides a means for them to switch automatically in the case of power loss.
The completed system developed and implemented by Barbizon Light of the Rockies includes ETC fixtures designed to withstand the weather of an outdoor concert facility. The equipment includes 49 Selador Desire D60X Lustr+ luminaires, 24 Selador Desire D60XT tungsten luminaires, one Mosaic Show Controller 2, various button stations, touchscreens, gateways, and an emergency bypass system.