In an innovative approach to reaching a broader audience, the Colorado Symphony is inviting listeners to experience its performances “in a brand new way” — stoned.
The symphony plans a series of concerts this summer that are BYOC — “bring your own cannabis” — in order to capitalize on the state’s newly legal marijuana industry, not to mention marijuana’s well known ability to enhance the experience of listening to music.
Three of the concerts will feature ensembles performing at a private art gallery and the fourth will be at Red Rocks with the entire orchestra.
“This is a cannabis-friendly event being held on private property,” the symphony wrote in its announcement of “Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series,” on its website. “But cannabis will NOT be sold at this event; it’s strictly BYOC (bring your own cannabis).”
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Attendees at the performances in the art gallery can smoke pot on an outdoor patio surrounded by 8-foot high privacy fences, according to Denver’s 7News.
“This is a logical next step since the voters of Colorado have chosen to regulate marijuana like alcohol,” event planner Jane West told the station.
Indeed, the symphony has paired classical music with Colorado’s other favored intoxicant in the past, craft beer, in its popular “Beethoven and Brews” series. The Denver Beer Company and Lone Tree Brewing sponsor those performances.
“Classically Cannabis” is sponsored by local dispensaries, which began selling marijuana to adults on Jan. 1.
“This partnership is part of an overall effort to reach out to every segment of our community,” symphony CEO Jerome Kern said in a statement to 7News. “These businesses have expressed a willingness to support the Colorado Symphony’s mission. Our doors are open to any legal, legitimate business that wants to help.”
There’s already been one legal hiccup, however. Red Rocks doesn’t allow smoking of any kind, prompting the director of the Denver Arts and Venues to call promotion of the event “inappropriate” for Red Rocks. The symphony later clarified that cannabis wouldn’t be allowed there during the September concert.
While many of those who commented on the original announcement on the symphony’s Facebook page are supportive, the events have their detractors.
“I could not be more ashamed,” wrote Dan Hoeye. “Music is an art that reaches deep in our souls and pulls out the very best in us. By submitting to this industry, you’ve dirtied and soiled the very fabric of our humanity. The gold you hope to find there will line a path from which there is no return as an organization. I will find another organization to support.”
Others, however were quick to praise the decision, or see it as no big deal.
“Marijuana at a concert — brilliant,” wrote Josh Jones. “If only people had thought of this before.”
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