In December 2015, Keegan Casey and Todd Altschuler were walking down Frisco’s Main Street when they saw a sign advertising a build-to-suit lot next to Abbey’s Coffee. The sign had been there for a while, but as operators of Barkley Ballroom, Frisco’s longtime concert venue next door, suddenly they wondered about the potential to supersize their dream.
Altschuler called the architect and pitched their idea, which got them a meeting with the landowner. She had turned down offers for years, many of which involved building a restaurant, but she loved the thought of a music and special-events hub. And so was born 10 Mile Music Hall, a state-of-the-art, 6,000-square-foot performance palace built by Pinnacle Mountain Homes that is set to open and begin hosting shows this fall. Altschuler and Casey envision it as the most dynamic music venue in the Colorado Rockies—“a destination, the same way Summit County is a destination,” Altschuler says.
“A lot of bands that have seen the space during construction have said we’re bringing the Denver music scene—one of the best in the country—to the mountains,” Casey said during a tour of the venue in April. “This is going to be a mini Ogden Theatre, which is known for having this crazy amount of energy. Dave Watts from the Motet walked through here and was like, ‘Mark my words: in two years, this is going to be considered legendary.’”
It’s a high bar for a startup music hall, but it’s one that Casey, 36, and Altschuler, 42, embrace. They met in 2012 shortly after Altschuler, the former marketing director for the Telluride Jazz Festival, started booking bands for Barkley. Casey was the GM of La Quinta Inn in Silverthorne and wanted in. So they struck up a partnership to run the Ballroom and quickly became players in the mountain music scene. They learned what worked, what didn’t, and what they might want to see in their own place.
At 10 Mile Music Hall, which the duo hopes will open in October, they plan to host about 15 events per month, plus weddings. The docket will include a range of music genres—jazz, bluegrass, funk, blues, cover bands, and rock and roll, amounting to 10 concerts per month—as well as weekly comedy shows and children’s entertainers, like magicians. Altschuler also plans to host a “Slopes and Sound” series this winter that will include lodging and three days of skiing at Copper Mountain.
The 2018 concert lineup hadn’t been finalized at press time, but Casey and Altschuler hinted at a substantial upgrade in talent based on who they were negotiating with. “The biggest bands that played at the Barkley Ballroom will be among the smallest bands that play at 10 Mile Music Hall,” Altschuler says. They designed the venue to please their guests, incorporating compression sheetrock for better acoustics and a cutting-edge sound system. They also built a green room for bands adjacent to the stage, and a 30-foot bar to accommodate five bartenders, so you won’t wait as long for a drink. There’s another bar upstairs, and Moe’s Original Bar B Que will serve lunch and dinner during the summer. Casey expects their south-facing rooftop deck—accessed through a pair of garage doors—to be a hit during happy hour, cornering the market not just on acoustics, but sunsets.
Red Rocks by the Lake
It took nearly a decade, but the long-anticipated enhancement of Summit County’s largest outdoor performance venue finally will come to fruition this summer, when the Dillon Amphitheater reopens after an $8.4 million upgrade. The transformation includes a new stage, more restrooms for the 3,500-capacity venue, better access for disabled patrons, and a revamped, more contemporary pavilion situated closer to the lake. The Amphitheater’s trademark lawn seating now offers a more comfortable slope, as well—which will come in extra handy this summer. String Cheese Incident debuts the revamped venue with a pair of midweek shows July 17 and 18 (both sold out almost immediately), followed by a one-two punch of DeVotchKa and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic on July 27 and 28. Both of those are free. townofdillon.com