Fillmore Auditorium (Denver, Colorado)

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Coordinates: 39°44′26″N 104°58′37.76″W / 39.74056°N 104.9771556°W / 39.74056; -104.9771556

The Fillmore Auditorium
FillmoreAuditorium.jpg
Entrance of The Fillmore seen from Colfax Avenue
Former names Mammoth Roller Skating Rink
(1907-11)
Mammoth Garden Roller Club
(1935-62)
Mammoth Gardens
(1969-70; 1981-82)
The Market
(1976)
Mammoth Events Center
(1986-98)
Address 1510 Clarkson Street
Denver, CO 80218
Owner Live Nation Entertainment
Type Auditorium
Seating type Standing room only
Capacity 4,500 (Mammoth Gardens)
5,100 (Mammoth Events Center)
3,700 (Fillmore Auditorium)
Construction
Opened 1907
Renovated 1968, 1986, 1999
Closed 1917-35; 1970-1976
1976-81; 1982-86
Tenants
Rocky Mountain Rollergirls (WFTDA) (2009-Present)
Website
Venue Info

The Fillmore Auditorium (often known as The Fillmore Denver) is a concert venue located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Denver, Colorado. Since opening in 1907, the venue has hosted numerous functions both private and public. It holds the title of the largest indoor venue for general admission seating in Colorado. In 2006, local newspaper Westword awarded the venue the "Best Place to Run into a Hippie turned Yuppie".[1] The venue also houses an office for the Bill Graham Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides music grants.

History[edit]

In the 1907, the venue opened as the Mammoth Roller Skating Rink becoming a prominent after-school hangout for the nearby East High School. After the roller rinkclosed in the Spring of 1910, the building was occupied by the Fritchle Automobile & Battery Company. During its tenure as a manufacturing plant, the venue produced nearly 500 vehicles, the first being purchased by Titanic survivor, Molly Brown. The plant closed in October 1917.[2]

The building remained unoccupied for several years until it was purchased by Irving Jacob and became the city's first recreational center. Known as Mammoth Garden Roller Club, the center offered ice skating, hockey, basketball, ice polo, boxing and wrestling. During this time, it also became the home venue for the Mammoth Garden Dodgers (which was a part of the Colorado Roller Hockey League) and a professional basketball team before the construction of the Denver Coliseum.[3]

The venue also served as a temporary wedding hall before and during the World War II. It also housed the famed "Skating Vanities" during its 1945–46 season.[4] The venue also hosted the first hockey event broadcast on Armed Forces Radio Services. Every Thursday, games from the venue were broadcast by KLM at Lowry Field.[5] It also hosted the US National Indoor Figure and Speed Championships in 1950, 1952 and 1954.[6] In 1960, the venue hosted its first concert by soul singer James Brown.

As business began moving to the Denver Coliseum, the venue closed and became a warehouse for the Colorado Mercantile Company for five years, closing in 1967. The building was purchased in 1968 by concert promoter Stuart Green and shortened the name to Mammoth Gardens. The venue was converted from an ice rink to a nightclub. His hopes were to compete with Bill Graham and his Fillmore franchise. The venue worked closely with Barry Fey to bring national touring acts to the Denver scene. Although only in business for eight months, the club hosted concerts by the decade's leading artists including Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Who, The Grateful Dead and Joe Cocker. The most remembered show was performed in April 1970 by Jethro Tull. During the show, a patient escape from nearby hospital, St. Luke Medical Center, entered the kitchen area and began stabbing himself in the chest. Tainted as "bad juju", the club closed in October 1970 as a push by city officials to have the venue closed to improve the surrounding neighborhood. The building reopened briefly in 1976 as a farmers' market, known simply as The Market however, this only lasted four months.

In 1981, the venue was reopened under the "Mammoth Gardens" moniker to host sporting and music events while also service as a private meeting room and banquet hall. After 14 months, the doors closed once again due to dispute amongst its partners.[7] Four years later, the venue was purchased by Manuel and Magaly Fernandez. After a few renovations, the club became the Mammoth Events Center. During this reinvention, the venue became the main site for Denver's Latin music scene, hosting very few popular acts. During its 12 year run, the venue hosted concerts by Rick James, Cypress Hill, Fugazi, Sublime, Dream Theater, Blink 182, and Green Day. It also hosted sporting events from the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Pro Wrestling America and World Championship Wrestling.

Ironically, the venue was purchased in February 1999 by Chuck Morris of Bill Graham Presents and to be opened as the Fillmore Auditorium. This was met with quite a controversy amongst the Colorado audience. Many felt Denver had an ample amount of music venues. The Magness Arena, Ogden Theater, Paramount Theatre, the Music Hall at LoDo and the Gothic Theatre were already claiming fame to Denver's mid-size concert scene. With its many changes, many promoters saw the venue as a failure and were not easily persuaded to host a concert at the venue. Barry Fey eventually grew to hate the venue, as he noted the venue was like attending a concert in Hitler's bunker. He stated the acoustics were spotty and horrible at times, naming it the worst auditorium in America acoustic wise. He also stated the venue had a poor layout with its stage in an awkward location.[8]

The building was heavily renovated in 1999 to fix the staging and acoustics. The inaugural concert was performed by the Trey Anastasio Band on May 19, 1999. Despite its criticism, the Fillmore has grown to become a prominent force in Denver's music scene. Since its 1999 opening, the auditorium has hosted concerts by Widespread Panic, NOFX, Bad Religion, Umphrey's McGee, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Marilyn Manson, Joss Stone, Nelly Furtado, James Blunt, Owl City, Armin van Buuren, Erykah Badu as well as Five Iron Frenzy's final performance.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Best Of Award". Westword. Village Voice Media. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  2. ^ Walker, Craig F. (2006-05-21). "The Colfax Story". Denver Post. MediaNews Group. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  3. ^ "Denver hockey attracts 1,800". Billboard Magazine (The Billboard Publishing Company) 59 (39): 66. 1947-10-04. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  4. ^ "Pros Take Marriage Vows at i. Jacobs' Denver Garden Rink". Billboard (The Billboard Publishing Company) 58 (35): 84. 1946-08-31. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  5. ^ "Denver Garden Spotlighted Via Roller Hockey B'Casts". Billboard Magazine (The Billboard Publishing Company) 59 (45): 71. 1947-11-15. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  6. ^ "Previous Sites for US National Figure Championships". USA Roller Sports. United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  7. ^ "History of the Fillmore". The Fillmore Auditorium Official Website. huck Morris Presents / Bill Graham Presents. Archived from the original on 2002-08-01. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  8. ^ Roberts, Michael (1999-05-20). "Peace and Love, Nineties Style". Westword. MediaNews Group. Retrieved 2010-10-02.