A year ago, the venue formerly known as Broomfield Event Center was a topic of much kvetching. But there has been a transformation: aesthetically and spiritually. Today, the venue—recently renamed 1stBANK Center—is finally ready for its close up.
That’s thanks in part to the doings of Chuck Morris, president of AEG Live Rocky Mountains and longtime Colorado music promoter. During the last 40 years, Morris has worked with everyone from The Eagles to Bonnie Raitt. He gave proverbial birth to The Fillmore and breathed musical life into Red Rocks. Morris is an if-he-can’t-do-it-no-one-can kind of guy, which is exactly what the BEC-turned-Odeum-turned-1stBANK Center has needed.
“We knew what we had to do to fix it up and make it right,” Morris said.
Last year, AEG and Kroenke Sports teamed up to create Peak Entertainment, which won the bid to manage the beleaguered BEC. During the last six months, Peak leadership, including Morris, have revamped the mid-sized Broomfield venue, renamed it twice, scheduled already sold-out shows and scored the hottest ladies on wheels: the Denver Roller Dolls. Arguably the most important improvement, Morris has focused on bringing “soul” to the venue—adding art and a coat of paint and giving it a more rock-and-roll venue vibe.
“It had great bones, great ambiance and no soul,” Morris said. “It’s a great building. We felt it was exactly the type of building we wanted—either to build or buy.”
Morris said the 1stBANK Center is the perfect size—6,500 seats—to attract a range of stellar acts, so residents should be prepared.
“It’s intimate yet big enough to bring in big productions and big names,” he said.
Colorado matters: The 1stBANK Center will soon house the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, a nonprofit that celebrates the state’s musical legacy and highlights musicians who have roots here: from Judy Collins and the Nitty Gritty Dirt band to 3OH!3, the Fray and the Flobots. It will raise money for the CU music program. “I’m just hell bent on educating the kids on the great tradition of Colorado music,” Morris said.
What makes a great venue? “The venue takes care of the bands and it takes care of the customers,” Morris said. “That comes down to having great sound, treating the bands well, having convenient parking, making it a great experience for the fans.”
His history: Morris moved to Colorado decades ago when he was given an academic scholarship to CU for political science. “I was on my way to getting my doctorate but I loved music more than political science,” he said. He eventually dropped out to manage and book bands for the Sink on the Hill. Since then he’s reopened Tulagi’s and revamped Mammoth Gardens to become the Fillmore, led Live Nation and was appointed as the head of AEG’s Rocky Mountain offices. “I’ve been very blessed. I thought I would just be in the music business for a year,” he laughed. “Though, up until her last year, my mother still wanted me to go back to grad school.”
On music: “I do have an understanding of music,” Morris said. “I know what is good and bad. After all these years, I still can tell you what a good song is. I don’t consider myself to be as on the ball as I used to be, but I surround self with the right people.”
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