Red Rocks Teams With Social Impact Platform Propeller In First-Of-Its-Kind Partnership

Courtesy Red Rocks
– Forum For Change
Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colo., announced a partnership Thursday with social change platform Propeller.

This year, some 1.5 million fans will walk through the gates at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo., for shows ranging from Billy Strings to John Mulaney to Halsey – and each of them represents a citizen who can be engaged on a range of social issues.

To harness that potential, the revered Denver-area venue announced a two-year partnership Thursday with Propeller, the digital marketing platform that collaborates with performers and promoters that incentivizes social engagement by offering live music fans prizes like meet-and-greets and all-expenses-paid vacations.

“This is the first partnership of its kind for us with a venue,” says Propeller CEO Brandon Deroche, who founded the company in 2015 after several years working at the intersection of music and social impact.

The partnership is twofold. At Red Rocks itself, Propeller will have an established presence, including a concourse booth and signage, and artists will be able to work with the company and the venue to devise unique activations around the causes that are important to them.

Red Rocks and Propeller will also work with talent to offer all-inclusive travel packages centered around given shows at Red Rocks; the first such package, also announced Thursday, is in conjunction with Icelandic blues-rockers KALEO, who will play the venue on May 16, and includes premium tickets, a signed Gibson guitar, an autographed Red Rocks show poster, roundtrip travel and high-end accommodations.

“Over the years, Red Rocks is kind of a perfect venue for artists who want to talk about their specific programs,” says Brian Kitts, Red Rocks’ director of marketing and communications. “Red Rocks provides the platform, Propeller provides the activation and then the artist supplies the emotion.”

Propeller gives artists the freedom to choose which cause they want to promote, and Deroche emphasizes that the scale of activations at Red Rocks will be up to the performers as well.

“We always like to have the artists choose what causes they want to support, and they also have a choice of what prizes they want to offer,” he says. “Sometimes the artists want to do the easiest thing they could possibly do and other times they want to work with us to get creative on how they can do something more fun that really can move the needle for the cause that they want to support. Our program will be there at all the shows, regardless of how involved or not involved the artist is, but we’re gonna be looking to work with every artist coming through there.”

For proof of concept, artists could look to artists like St. Vincent and Haim, who recently offered signed guitars through Propeller, or festivals like Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Okeechobee, Welcome To Rockville and BUKU, which have all partnered with the company to provide passes to their events. And Propeller has previously worked with Red Rocks, too: In August 2021, when indie-rockers Lord Huron put their June 2, 2022, concert at the venue onsale, it offered a package through Propeller.

Deroche and Kitts are also enthusiastic about the local ramifications of the partnership between Red Rocks and Propeller. Travel packages will help support local businesses, and Propeller has already made clear its intent to activate with nonprofits in the area.

“They’re certainly looking to scale this in a way that hasn’t been done in Denver before,” Kitts says. “It’s one thing to say, ‘This is what I believe in and this is my platform’ on a national basis or just as an artist brand. But I think that building that brand at a local level takes a lot of work – and so the ability for the Propeller program to do that at a local level is something that we’re grateful to have here in Denver.”

While Deroche recognizes the challenges of the Red Rocks partnership – “We are certainly taking on a lot with Red Rocks, and we’re excited to learn a lot this year,” he says – other venues and markets might soon receive a similar boost from Propeller.

“We’re certainly looking at this on the venue level of partnerships for us as how we can do this in other places in the country,” he says, adding that Propeller has its eyes on “other marquee venues.”