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Made in Colorado: The Gear Your Need for Concert Season

Four products for Red Rocks Amphitheatre's adoring fans


Red Rocks Beetlekill Wall Art

An environmental consultant who once worked in Antarctica, Lee Schafer switched careers when he founded Holden Studios and began making Colorado flags from beetle-kill pine about five years ago. “I’m an artist,” he says. “I don’t feel comfortable calling myself a carpenter. I just like making cool things.”

His scraps led to an idea. “I had all this wood I couldn’t use,” says Schafer, who had something of an epiphany, arranging them to look like Red Rocks. He soon began making wall art bearing the image of the iconic venue.

There’s a reason for that. “If I’m going to a concert, I’m going to Red Rocks,” he says. “I’m not going anywhere else.”

Red Rocks Watches

After making a name restoring vintage pocket watches into wrist-worn timepieces, Vortic Watch Co. began making honorary watches for inductees into the Red Rocks Hall of Fame in 2017. Among the recipients over the years: Steve Miller, Jimmy Buffett, Jackson Browne and Lyle Lovett.

“We laser-engraved the Red Rocks logo onto the watch for these artists,” Vortic co-founder R.T. Custer says. “Our customers said, ‘We want one.’” Vortic started selling a limited edition of the watches to the public in 2018, and the 2019 watches are due out in July.

“We still use the old pocket watch movement,” Custer says. “We find one where the face is too broken or too rusted and make a new face for it. It’s like a beautiful clash of old and new.”

Custer gets tickets to the shows when he dispenses watches to inductees, and says Jimmy Buffett was his favorite. “That’s the one that stands out,” he says.

Red Rocks Wood Stickers

In 2011, Josh Glisan started making laser-etched, adhesive-backed wooden inlays for his woodworking projects, then a friend asked him to put his company’s logo on it. The idea took off, and now he’s making 3,000 designs at his company, Dust City Designs. “We’ve been so busy,” Glisan says. “We’re buying more machines.” Next up is the international market. “We’re going worldwide,” he says.

Sticker designs range from psychedelic patterns to imagery of tourist attractions for gift shops. He pitched Red Rocks concessionnaire Aramark on a line for the Trading Post; Aramark bit, and they’re available for the 2019 concert season.

Glisan’s own personal favorite Morrison moments: “Every year, Widespread Panic at Red Rocks is just awesome. We try to go to that every single year.”

Red Rocks Leggings

Chris Gerardi worked a corporate job as a buyer in the health food industry, but launched a clothing company based on his passion for landscape photography in 2016. “I couldn’t work for anybody anymore,” he says of the move. 

He made a pair of leggings emblazoned with his photo of Red Rocks for co-founder Jen Coffey on a lark, and people started asking where they could buy a pair. Latin for “honey badger,” Mellivora now has a catalog of 14 designs “to inspire people to do something different,” Gerardi says.

Gerardi and Coffey work with a decorating house in Denver to print on the poly-blend fabric and take it from there. “We cut and sew them ourselves,” Gerardi says. He says the plan is to take “a brewery approach” and open a combination storefront/sewing house in Niwot.

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Eric Peterson

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

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