STEAL YOUR BREATH: A drone show by Nova Sky Stories wows Dead & Company fans in Boulder, Colorado. (Alive Coverage/Andrew Rios)

Nova Sky Stories takes drone displays to new Rocky Mountain heights

One drone show led to another in Colorado this month and fans at two concerts were the beneficiaries.

A drone display by Kimbal Musk’s company Nova Sky Stories first wowed fans at the June 17 show by EDM outfit Illenium at Empower Field at Mile High, which led to a reprise at the July 3 finale of Dead & Company’s three-night run at Folsom Field at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

At CU, the display was greenlighted on short notice.

“The drone show was put together in the last week going in,” said Ryan Gottlieb, Associate Athletic Director in charge of revenue generation. “I got a call from Don (Strasburg, vice president and senior talent buyer for AEG Live Rocky Mountains) who said we just did this with Illenium and I would love to do this as a send-off to the band as a thank you for their time performing in our stadium. We quickly got all the campus approvals to fly 650 drones.”

Bernie Cahill, co-founder of Activist Artists Management, which co-manages Dead & Company with Irving Azoff, said he’s been friends with Musk, who made the dazzling display happen.

“It was a struggle to figure out and it can be expensive, but Kimbal wanted to be a part of, I think history, really,” Cahill said of Elon Musk’s younger brother. “He really pushed to make that happen and I think it was (effing) epic.”

The drones formed a giant red, white and blue lighting-bolted “Stealer” head above the stage at one point, drawing oohs and ahs from an energetic crowd of nearly 45,000, who had already been through a lightning delay and a surprise cameo by Dave Matthews.

“What they do is so next-level,” Cahill said of Nova Sky. “There are drone shows, and there’s what you saw in Boulder.”

It’s unclear what the Denver and Boulder displays cost, but drone shows can run anywhere from the hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Gottlieb said the response was overwhelming.

“The feedback I’ve gotten on that was unreal,” he said. “People are like, ‘That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen at a concert.’”

Nova Sky Stories bills itself as “the world’s most advanced light drone provider with the mission to empower producers and artists to bring art to the skies of every city and town in the world.”

The company’s light drone artists and engineers have been in operation for a decade.