By Jeffrey V. Smith
One of Colorado’s most distinctive indoor music venues opened last year in a former casino in Central City. The Scarlet, a multi-purpose events center, has been hosting concerts featuring holistic healers in the former Scarlet’s Casino at the southern end of Main Street since last September with considerable success and acclaim. Almost everything about the new room and its management team, sets it apart from other offerings across the Front Range.
The room has mainly been used for music events and concerts since it opened, but the vision for the space is much more inclusive and also involves movie screenings, themed celebrations, corporate events, holistic healing classes, seminars and weddings. It is one of several buildings operated by Jomar Suarez’s 7 Healing Stars Oneness Center and just part of his effort to create more activities for the region. Future plans include reviving the former Doc Holiday Casino and Sauer McShane buildings.
The venue maintains much of its glory as a former casino and features wrought iron railings, a crystal chandelier and three levels reached via a spiral staircase or glass elevator. There is ample room for enjoying the music, socializing or finding a quieter space.
Concert promotion and event production at The Scarlet includes a partnership with Colorado Concerts and Tyler Fey of Feyline, the legendary Colorado concert promotion company started by his late father Barry Fey.
“Following the unexpected death of Barry, his youngest son and personal friend of the 7 Healing Stars project, Tyler, inherited the Feyline brand,” Suarez explained. “Through Feyline, we now have access to world-class music and live entertainment talent that will help make Central City an international destination.” Fey now handles a majority of the booking for live events.
Colorado Concerts is a marketing company for local artists, shows, promoters and venues. Its founder, Nick Brooks, has also been named the venue’s manager.
“There are a lot of amazing individuals that are involved with our ongoing efforts, but it all began with our good friend Jomar. His vision and passion has been the backbone of our organization since the beginning, and we would not be here without him,” Brooks said.
The Scarlet truly sets itself apart as a music venue with the integration of a wide range of holistic healers on event nights, and a one-of-a-kind lighting installation in its basement. The “Lumonics Mind Spa” by Dorothy Tanner includes a pyramid installation equipped with goggles to allow participants to see colors and shapes created by their mind. Most music events include artists live painting as well as healthy snacks, cold-pressed juices and kombucha in addition to beer and wine.
“Our goal is to create a new hub for Gilpin County and Colorado as a whole through music, arts, healing, nutrition, sustainability, and community integration.” Brooks said. “We have been slowly revving up the quantity and variety of our events in an effort to build a brand new market in such a historical city. The past shows have been amazing. We’ve brought anywhere between 400-850 people to each event, and all have been well received. Many are calling us their favorite new indoor venue.”
So far, audiences have varied greatly depending on the event. “As we evolve and expand you’ll be seeing extremely diverse crowd coming to the town. The locals that come to the shows have had extremely positive things to say and are persistent to not miss an event as long as their schedule allows them,” Brooks said.
Many shows have included electronic dance music producers including Random Rab and Templo who performed at the grand opening. Govinda, Kaminanda, Run DMT, PPLPRSN and many more names popular in the genre have all played the room. On Feb. 4, Space Jesus and Shlump will perform in collaboration with the lasers and projection visuals of Mindbeam Productions’ Ivan Wolfgar and Patrick Beery. Bass Physics, Blunt Force, The Orcastrator and others play the room, April 15.
Programming has also included the Kolorado’s Freaker’s Ball on Halloween, which featured a screening of the “Going Furthur” documentary, painting, costumes, liquid light shows and live music from John Welton & The Awakening, Flash Mountain Flood, Ekat Family Band and Goatchz. A benefit for the Standing Rock Reservation and Dakota Access Pipeline fight took place in December.
Upcoming events include more jam band-oriented concerts including Grateful Tuesdays which features a different Grateful Dead tribute band weekly from 9 p.m.-midnight. It kicks off, Feb. 14, with a Valentine’s Day edition featuring JUBA JUBA and continues with Built to Last, Feb. 21; A Bears Choice, Feb. 28; and Might as Well, March 7. All of these shows are free.
The Kyle Hollingsworth Band [tickets], featuring the String Cheese Incident’s keyboardist, performs, Feb. 16, with Evanoff. The show is part of the act’s annual BrewSki Tour and includes an exclusive collaboration beer on tap, brewed by Hollingsworth and an area brewery.
Central City has been welcoming and “supportive beyond any of our expectations,” Brooks said. “Every day we’re reminded about how fortunate we are to be here. The city council, community development, city management departments, local businesses, and residents have made this feel like home.” As for locals, “we want them to know we’re here to work with the community and are always available if they need us. We’re creating a unique atmosphere for their enjoyment, and want to make sure we can cater to the variety of individuals residing here.”
130 Main St., Central City
Originally published in the February 2017 issue of the MMAC Monthly