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It’s showtime: New outdoor amphitheater breaks ground on Colorado Springs’ north side

About a year from now, J.W. Roth, the chairman, founder and CEO of the Colorado Springs-based Notes Live entertainment company, plans to be among several thousand concert-goers to attend the first-ever show held at the outdoor Sunset amphitheater that his group plans to build on the city’s north side.

On Wednesday, Roth took another big step toward realizing his dream.

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The crowd celebrates during a groundbreaking for The Sunset amphitheater.

In front of several hundred friends, civic and business leaders and local government officials, Roth and Notes Live held a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday evening for The Sunset — an 8,000-seat, $55 million venue to be built against a scenic mountain backdrop and that Roth proclaims will be “the most luxurious amphitheater in history.”

To be constructed at the 200-acre Polaris Pointe retail and commercial development, southeast of Interstate 25 and North Gate Boulevard, The Sunset will play host to about 40 shows a year that feature the nation’s top music entertainers. They’re acts that Colorado Springs-area residents might see at the Red Rocks and Fiddler’s Green outdoor venues near Denver, Roth said.

Except, when The Sunset opens, local concert-goers won’t have to drive an hour north to Denver to see those acts, he said. At the same time, Springs-area residents and those from Monument, Pueblo and other southern Colorado communities will pump what Notes Live officials have estimated will be $100 million a year into the Springs-area economy when they eat at restaurants, shop at stores, and stay at hotels.

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Polaris Pointe developer Gary Erickson jumps down from an excavator after J.W. Roth, founder, chairman and CEO of the Colorado Springs-based Notes Live entertainment company, used it for a groundbreaking for The Sunset amphitheater on Wednesday.

“I’m going to break ground on the world’s most luxurious amphitheater tonight, is what I’m going to do,” Roth said several minutes before the groundbreaking ceremony got underway. “It’s been my goal for three years. … I won’t stop until it’s done.”

Roth expects The Sunset to open in June 2024.

AEG Presents, the global entertainment giant that Roth announced as a partner last month and that will book acts for The Sunset and operate the venue on a day-to-day basis, is working now to sign performers, he said.

If he had his choice, Roth would want his “favorite guy in the whole wide world,” Bob Seger, the Detroit singer, songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, to christen The Sunset. Seger, however, has retired from touring.

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“I can’t have Bob,” Roth said. “But we’ve already set some dates aside for some bands, and they’re all A-list artists, and you will be shocked when you find out who wants to play this.”

After one news story ran in a national music industry publication about The Sunset, Roth said, “we weren’t calling artists; artists were calling us. They were having their management teams calling us, saying, ‘I want to play that place in Colorado Springs.'”

When it debuts, The Sunset’s upscale amenities will include VIP stadium seating and 92 fireplace suites, Roth said. Concert-goers will look west toward a stage that will boast Pikes Peak and a scenic mountain vista in the background.

A separate 45,000-square-foot, three-level restaurant and event center building will be constructed at a cost of roughly $35 million on the east edge of The Sunset’s property. It will include a fine-dining seafood/chophouse restaurant and bar; space for weddings, corporate functions, trade shows and other functions; and a rooftop terrace.

The amphitheater project received near unanimous approval in January from the Colorado Springs City Council; that green light came over the objections of some homeowners who fear the venue will produce unwanted noise, traffic and parking in their nearby neighborhoods.

At Wednesday’s groundbreaking, and after a light rain shower that produced a full rainbow, Roth thanked former Mayor John Suthers for his early support for the project, along with several other city officials, community members and business people, including Polaris Pointe developer Gary Erickson.

Suthers, who was term-limited and succeeded in June by new Mayor Yemi Mobolade, told the crowd at the groundbreaking that The Sunset will enhance the cultural and entertainment vibe of Colorado Springs. The venue, Suthers said, will help make Colorado Springs “a cool place to be.”

Suthers said he plans to be at the opening concert next year; when it takes place, Roth said the former mayor will help dedicate what will be known as the “John Suthers Concourse” — a walkway that will ring The Sunset property.

Wednesday’s groundbreaking had some of the usual trappings for such ceremonies, including hard hats and shovels for attendees to playfully toss a spade full of dirt.

As if to symbolize the bigness of the event, however, Roth went one better. He climbed into a John Deere excavator parked on the property and scooped up a giant mound of dirt.

Notes Live Partners with Annual Mayor’s Cup Tournament to Support the Public Safety and Legacy of Colorado Springs

Notes Live, the rapidly growing nationwide hospitality and entertainment
company based in Colorado Springs, is thrilled to announce its partnership as a
platinum sponsor of the 12th annual Mayor’s Cup golf tournament. The event,
which will be held at The Broadmoor Golf Club on Thursday, May 11, 2023, is a
significant initiative that benefits First Tee of Southern Colorado, provides
scholarships for students pursuing public safety at Pikes Peak State College, and
supports the City of Colorado Springs’ Spirit of the Springs initiatives, which aim
to cultivate future city government leadership and encourage resident
The Mayor’s Cup began in 2012 under the leadership of Mayor Steve Bach and
has been continued annually by Mayor John Suthers. Since its inception, the
charity tournament has successfully raised more than $650,000 in net proceeds,
which are dedicated to benefiting the local Colorado Springs community.
“We are grateful for the generous support of Notes Live, the exclusive platinum
sponsor of the 2023 Mayor’s Cup,” said Mayor Suthers. “Part of the proceeds from
this tournament fund scholarships for students who are passionate about public
safety, which is an essential function of municipal government. We thank all our
sponsors for their commitment to this event and the positive and long-lasting
impact their generosity has on our community.”

B Entertainment Expanding into Georgia

B Entertainment working in partnership with City of Gainesville, Georgia & Gainesville Redevelopment Authority to bring world-class music venue and Bourbon Brothers Smokehouse and Tavern to North Georgia

A-List: Springs positioned for top acts

Dave Namesnik just started his seventh week as general manager of the Broadmoor World Arena and the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, but he’s already working hard on his No. 1 goal: to bring more A-list entertainment to Colorado Springs.

Namesnik’s predecessor, Dot Lischick, retired May 20 after serving as general manager since the arena opened in 1998. Lischick, an industry icon, set a very high bar; she brought a variety of world-class acts, trade shows and sports events to the 8,000-seat arena.

Namesnik has the chops to continue that record of success, having logged 14 years as assistant general manager of the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. In fact, he and Lischick have collaborated for the past six years, talking about once a month.

“We kind of just picked each other’s brains to see what’s out there,” Namesnik said, “because it’s all about relationships.” Even though Colorado Springs is a secondary market to Denver, “we can route well with Denver, where artists can play both venues,” Namesnik said. An example is singer-songwriter James Taylor, who played the World Arena on July 18 and appeared at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater in Denver the following night.

Individual artists may have exclusivity agreements with certain venues, but “I can tell you, from my short time here, there’s lots of opportunity for the Springs entertainment market to continue to grow,” Namesnik said.

Along with existing sites like the Broadmoor World Arena, Pikes Peak Center and Ent Center for the Arts, others are helping to put Colorado Springs on the entertainment map — new venues such as Weidner Field and Robson Arena, and projects like the proposed Sunset amphitheater and the renovation of the City Auditorium.

JW Roth, founder and board chair of entertainment company Notes Live, is developing the 8,000-seat outdoor amphitheater in north Colorado Springs.

Roth thinks Colorado Springs’ population growth is at a tipping point that will allow the city to grow in significance as a standalone market.

“I think there’s room now for us to become players,” he said.

Linda Weise, president of Community Cultural Collective, is spearheading the renovation and remodeling of the City Auditorium, which will add several smaller performance and event spaces.

Colorado Springs used to be a place that artists drove through on their way to somewhere else, she said.

“The fact that we now have a portfolio of options makes us a very attractive city for any number of entertainment genres,” Weise said.


Namesnik ran the day-to-day operations and did booking for the 7,200-seat Budweiser Events Center, working with major concert promoters like AEG Presents and Live Nation, as well as smaller, independent promoters.

He’s traveled frequently to Los Angeles, California, and Nashville, Tennessee, and attended numerous industry conventions to meet with agents.

“It’s all about relationships,” he said. “It’s not like the agents or talent are calling us; we’ve got to be proactive.”

Tours often are planned two to three years in advance. “If you’re not on the list that far out, you’re not going to get a date,” he said.

Venues like the World Arena are known as hard tickets — “we have a fixed amount of seats, whereas if you look at, say, Cheyenne Frontier Days, that’s more of a soft-ticket show. Whether there’s 10 people or 30,000 people, they get the same amount of money. We’re constrained on how many seats we can do, so we’re not going to pay as much as one of those big outdoor festivals,” Namesnik said.

Indoor facilities typically do not have as many concerts during the summer, when summer festivals dominate the concert scene, he said.

Tour stops don’t always go to the highest bidder, either. Artist preferences play a big role, Namesnik said.

“They are definitely very picky about the venues they play,” he said. “They may once in a while try something new, and you get that one opportunity to take good care of them and provide a great experience. If you do, they’ll want to come back. If something goes wrong, they might not.”

Namesnik said every staff member at the venues is trained to recognize that living on the road is difficult, to treat artists with respect, and to provide a safe, secure, clean and friendly environment.

“At the end of the day, they want to sell tickets,” he said. “As long as we can move tickets and get butts in the seats, that helps them as well.”

Some artists and promoters already consider Colorado Springs a strong market, he said — “that’s a big reason why I wanted to come here. The Pikes Peak Center is well known to a lot of promoters and agents, and a place where artists love to come.

“Colorado’s a great music state, and I think the sky’s the limit for the market.”


Roth, who also established the 1,000-seat Boot Barn Hall at Bourbon Brothers, aims to make Sunset amphitheater “the gold standard in the amphitheater space.”

“Every venue has two customers,” he said. “The first is the customer buying tickets, and the second customer is the artist. You have to treat both of them equally.”

Roth said he has hired architects and consultants from around the world to design a space that will pamper both ticket buyers and artists.

Located in the Polaris Pointe development, the $40 million amphitheater will boast 60 VIP luxury suites with firepits, four five-star restaurants, a rooftop bar that will serve 150 of the world’s rarest bourbons and sweeping views of Pikes Peak.

Roth’s also building what he calls “one of the most over-the-top artists’ compounds, which will include private dressing rooms, private showers, private meet-and-greet locations, private dining facilities, private kitchen with a private chef and a viewing deck of the entire Front Range. There’s not another like it in America.”

The venue will employ about 300 people, some 175 of them full time, he said.

Original plans called for opening the venue in September 2023, and Roth still hopes for a fall schedule, but the venue’s full operations likely will launch closer to June 2024.

“We’ve completed our financing and we’ve completed our offsite parking arrangements,” Roth said. “But we are still in the Planning Department. I expect to have administrative approval later this month. Within a week or so after administrative approval, we will file our building plans and ask for a permit.”

Roth said there’s no question that Colorado Springs is becoming a more attractive venue for A-list acts.

“I have this conversation a lot with promoters and with big touring acts out of both coasts, as well as Nashville,” he said. “Six or seven years ago, we weren’t considered a market; we were we were considered an offshoot of Denver.

“But today, our population has grown to where the industry looks at us as a market, which now gives Colorado Springs the opportunity to start fishing in a much bigger pond,” he said. “As we grow in significance as a standalone market, there’s room for us to become players.”

Roth said he does not have any bookings yet for the Sunset, but AEG “has been a good partner of ours for the Boot Barn Hall and a good sounding board. We’ve built tremendous relationships with touring acts over the last three years; we’re showcasing a lot of decent size, midlevel 2,000-ticket shows” at the Boot Barn.

Roth will start the booking process for the Sunset in September 2023.

He expects the Sunset to be Notes Live’s crown jewel, but he’s working on half a dozen large and midsized venues across the West and South that will be operating within the next year and a half.

Roth said he thinks the most important thing local venues can do to improve the entertainment scene is to collaborate.

“I want to see our city really flourish in the arts, culture and entertainment space,” he said, “and we want to be a part of that. I want to be a good neighbor and a good friend to the other venues.”

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The Broadmoor World Arena is one of the larger event venues in Colorado Springs.


Large spaces alone do not create a thriving cultural and entertainment community, and Weise’s City Auditorium project is adding smaller venues to the city’s portfolio, along with creative workspaces for artists.

According to architect Chris Wineman, plans call for keeping the 200-seat Lon Chaney theater (though its name might change) but moving it to the opposite side of the building and adding dressing rooms, backstage support and AV capabilities.

The main auditorium would be subdivided into a space that would seat about 650 people but could be reconfigured to accommodate up to 800.

The building also will contain rehearsal spaces, classrooms, meeting rooms, new dining options, a recording studio and technological upgrades throughout the building.

“As far as entertainment goes, when you look at a midsized theater like the one that will be in City Aud, this is perfect for the indie artists that now typically drive through Colorado Springs on their way from Albuquerque to Ogden,” Weise said. “Now they can stop.”

The main theater also has an orchestra pit, “so there’s a lot of opportunity for smaller cultural works like chamber operas. We have a number of organizations that are looking at this space to be incubating new works.”

Weise created the Community Cultural Collective, which submitted a winning proposal to the city of Colorado Springs for significant repairs and renovations to the 1923 building as well as improvements to its functionality.

The original expectation was to complete the $52.9 million project by the end of 2024, she said. But unanticipated construction issues, such as having to bring in steel beams one at a time through the roof, have made a second-quarter 2025 completion date more likely.

Weise said she is excited about the new amphitheater and is “thrilled that the City Aud can be part of the conversation in a meaningful way.

“All of this activity, it’s incredibly inspiring,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to work alongside my colleagues, whether it’s the new amphitheater or my colleagues at the Ent Center. All ships rise at moments like this.”