LIVING A DREAM: JW Roth at his Bourbon Brothers restaurant in Colorado Springs. (Mike Searle photo)

Notes Live is a new, independent player

From meat packing to meet and greet, JW Roth is following his passion for live music and hospitality by expanding his Colorado Springs Boot Barn Hall to other U.S. markets and breaking ground on an 8,000-capacity amphitheater at home.

“I’ve been in the food business my whole life, but I’ve always been a huge live music guy,” said Roth, founder of Roth Industries and now founder and chairman of Notes Live, a new, independent player in live venues. “It got to the point where I could retire and now I’m out spending my kids’ inheritance and having fun.”

Roth is having a very good time.

Notes Live just unveiled plans for an open-air amphitheater in the Polaris Pointe development in Colorado Springs called The Sunset. Backed with $40 million in financing and due to open in late summer of 2023, The Sunset will host touring acts on the same campus as the company’s current music venue Boot Barn Hall. The mid-sized venue (1,400 capacity) opened in February 2019 on the same campus as Roth’s restaurants Bourbon Brothers and Buttermilk, a Breakfast Eatery.

Within the next 18 months, Notes Live will operate a half dozen large and mid-sized venues across the country, with the next Boot Barn Hall/Bourbon Brothers imprint to open this fall in the Atlanta commuter city of Gainesville, GA. Discussions are ongoing for a possible venue in middle Tennessee near Nashville and Notes Live is investigating options in Florida and Texas.

Roth said the company identifies markets that are “entertainment deserts” – areas that have growing populations but lack high-quality music and entertainment venues that offer top-line production and elevated food and beverage.

“These are some of the fastest-growing cities in America, but the live entertainment options haven’t caught up to the population,” Roth explained. “Notes Live venues will cater to these upscale demographics looking for a place where the overall experience is as good as the music itself.”

Roth said Boot Barn will retain naming rights for the Georgia imprint and talent booking will remain in-house with a mix of country and classic rock acts. Roth is investigating a booking partnership for The Sunset.

The Sunset is where music and atmosphere converge. The stage is situated with Pikes Peak in the background, on the left is the United States Air Force Academy stadium, and on the right is the iconic Air Force chapel. Amenities include 60 VIP fire pit suites with seating for eight, 4/5 star restaurants, including a signature seafood and chophouse with a rooftop bar carrying more than 150 rare bourbons.

“This is something I’ve dreamed of building,” Roth said. “A big outdoor coliseum with the sun setting over center stage and America’s mountain, Pikes Peak.”

Notes Live is working with CD+M Lighting Design Group, Dimensional Innovations, Diversified, Duray J.F. Duncan Industries, ME Engineers, and Theatre Projects, companies that have helped create iconic entertainment venues including the Beacon Theatre in New York, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Roundhouse in London, and Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, as well as sports arenas and stadiums for NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS teams across the country.

According to Roth, Notes Live currently has the backing of more than 60 institutional and individual investors, but the company also relies on the support of local government in markets where they are expanding. The company is keen on identifying potential Boot Barn Hall markets where local municipalities have economic development dollars to subsidize development costs directly or through tax incentives.

“It’s a business, but I’m able to follow my passion,” Roth said. “I’ve spent my life cooking and selling chicken and now these last several years, I’ve been turned loose to enjoy my passion for live music and great brisket.”