By Dylan Owens
Concert promoter Tyler Fey stepped out of his car into a crisp Monday morning at Red Rocks’ upper parking lot.
As the son of famed concert promoter Barry Fey, the venue is practically etched into the 26-year-old’s DNA.
He saw his first concert (Sting) here when he was three days old; on his fourth birthday, Steve Miller brought him on stage during a show that Barry’s company, Feyline, promoted to let him strum his guitar.
In four weeks, Tyler, the current owner of Feyline, hopes to write a new Fey name in the annals of Red Rocks concert history. On Dec. 31, he’s hosting the venue’s first-ever New Year’s Eve concert, an 11-group hip-hop concert set to bring Migos, Post Malone, Lil Pump and others to Red Rocks for a six-plus hour show.
That is, if the weather holds.
“Hopefully, it’s like this the day of,” Fey said of the bluebird morning.
Though he’s not yet a weathered promoter, Fey has quickly become keen to the havoc that mother nature can wreak on an event. In fact, next week Tyler is presenting a talk at live-event conference XLive called “Planning for the Unpredictable: What To Do When Mother Nature is Uncooperative.”
This comes after Feyline announced the debut of Island of Light, a three-day electronic music festival in Puerto Rico this past April. The announcement came one week prior to Fyre Festival, another island music festival whose painfully public flame-out became the music industry’s latest cautionary tale. Then, in September, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. Shortly after, Feyline canceled the festival altogether. (They plan to bring it back next year.)
That expertise could come in handy at the end of the month. Because of Red Rocks’ unpredictable weather — the venue’s 6,435-foot elevation makes it more susceptible to extreme weather than Denver — an outdoor concert in Morrison at the end of December is akin to throwing an expensive tea party in the Marianas Trench. It will be memorable if it goes as planned, but that’s a big if. Cancellation insurance for the event cost three times what it would for a normal event, Tyler said.
That, combined with a splashy bill for artists and increased union dues for Red Rocks’ staff working on a holiday, has resulted in $175 general admission tickets. VIP tickets, which offer premium seating, champagne deals and commemorative merchandise, cost $350.
Granted, the show is scheduled to last more than six hours, Tyler estimates it’s “one of the higher” priced non-tiered general admission tickets in Red Rocks’ history. Tyler said Feyline did everything it could to keep costs low, even forgoing its promoter fee. Under Barry, Feyline strove to keep fans first — Tyler referenced the time he pulled a gun on Axl Rose after attempting to end a show early, telling him the only way he was leaving was through the crowd — an ethos his son is serious about preserving.