Derek Vincent Smith of Pretty Lights surprised fans in 2018 when he announced he would play only one venue that year: Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colo. The shows commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Colorado native’s first performance at the 113-year-old venue west of Denver.
A decade ago, Pretty Lights and Paul Oakenfold were the only dance artists playing Red Rocks, both as openers. Now, dance is one of the venue’s biggest genres, with 28 shows in 2018, including double nights by GRiZ, ODESZA, Zeds Dead, Big Gigantic and Alison Wonderland, who sold out her first Red Rocks concert in five minutes.
“In 2007, we did a show with Daft Punk and couldn’t sell out the venue,” says Don Strasburg of AEG Presents Rocky Mountains, one of several promoters who book the city-owned space. The rise of electronic acts there since is, he says, a “cataclysmic shift.”