Founders of the Fox Theatre refer to their 625-cap venue as “the little club that could.” Hopping onto the Boulder, Colo. scene in 1992, it seemed like a far stretch of the imagination that the small theater could make a name for itself. Now, 25 years later, the Fox is celebrating the anniversary of a music venue that not only lasted, but defined the standards for live music in Colorado.
One of the founders and Chairman of the Board of Z2 Entertainment, Don Strasburg told Amplify the success of the theater was the result of “a group of young people” and “elder statesman,” Dicke Sidman, who opened the club “without any chance of succeeding” but somehow “managed to flourish. We are having a celebration to bring in some very special family who have been part of our community in a very deep way.”
Beginning on March 2, the Fox Theatre will celebrate its quarter of a century with unique performances throughout the month.
“We’ve got a great lineup that’s going to be going throughout the month,” Director of Concerts/Programming at Z2 Entertainment that manages the club David Weingarden told Amplify. “It’s going to a be a lot of bands who have been through the theater before, the DNA of the Fox.”
Since the Fox’s first performance on March 6, 1992 the little club that could has hosted huge acts Radiohead, The Flaming Lips, and Coldplay as well as legacy artists like Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, and John Mellencamp. In 1994, The Dave Matthews Band recorded the “What Would You Say” video at the Fox, the band’s first ever music video.
The 25th anniversary celebration will include Colorado band 3OH!3, a Rose Hill Drive reunion and album release, two nights of The String Cheese Incident, and the opening anniversary date (March 6) will be played by Boulder natives Leftover Salmon. Other shows include G. Love & Special Sauce, North Mississippi All-Star, Big Gigantic and the Greyboy Allstars.
The Fox will also pay tribute to its successful history with retrospectives in its lobby, partnerships with the local radio station, and a string of concerts that honor and reflect the community experience of the theater. The list of shows was announced today with a mix of big names and/or local bands that have been part of the Fox family over the course of their 25 years. The growing calendar of shows can be found on the theater’s Facebook page.
As an additional thank you to patrons of the theater, several of the anniversary shows will be streamed on Nugs.tv and special pre-sales will be available for those who are signed up for their newsletter.
The Fox Theatre opened in March of 1992 near the University of Colorado by four twenty-somethings Don Strasburg, James Hambleton, Dave MacKenzie, and Jon O’Leary along with Dicke Sidman who wanted to create the kind of music venue they would love to attend.
“The thing about the Fox was we built a room that we felt was the archetype for the best club experience we could possibly imagine,” said Strasburg. “It wasn’t about the prettiest venue. It was about the best place to see and hear music. We were one of the first venues to use spray on acoustical insulation. We created multiple levels of dance floor tiering, so that everybody could see and dance. The goal was to create the most immersive experience to have the most fun to see live music.”
In 2013, Rolling Stone Magazine even named the Fox Theatre the 4th best club in the nation.
“It’s the little club that could and the focus was really around patron experience and the most incredible sound system that you could put in a club,” CEO of Z2 Entertainment Cheryl Liguori told Amplify. “The tagline for the Fox has always been ‘The sound is the difference.’ It really upped the bar in this entire region for what a club should sound like.”
Their philosophy as a venue according to Strasburg is that they provide the best stage and environment for their artists to put on the best possible show. The audience will respond to the quality of the performance and feed that energy right back to the artist. “The result is you have the best show, the best responses, and then the business works,” said Strasburg.
Due to the success of the Fox, the Colorado music scene expanded with several new venues opening up and others making renovations to keep up with the quality in Boulder.
“One of the reasons why Colorado has such an amazing live music community stems back to 1992 when the Fox Theatre opened,” Starsburg added. “We set the bar that’s still the bar.”
The 25th anniversary shows begin on March 2 and run throughout the month, concluding with a show on March 31 by G. Love and Special Sauce. Tickets for the performances can be found on their website.