Classical Grass: Colorado Symphony Orchestra Teams With Weed Industry

"Classically Cannabis: The High Notes Series" and "Beethoven and Brews" programs planned for current season

Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Andy Cross/The Denver Post
The Colorado Symphony Orchestra
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The Colorado Symphony Orchestra has devised a plan to raise interest in classical music by holding a number of upcoming weed-friendly events. It may be the state's only full-time professional orchestra, but it faces the same budget concerns and diminishing audiences plaguing other ensembles. So why not exploit the state's budding marijuana business? "The cannabis industry obviously opens the door even further to a younger, more diverse audience," the Symphony's CEO Jerome Kern told The Associated Press. For the marijuana producers, Kern said, the symphony offers its legitimacy.

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The concert series, "Classically Cannabis: The High Notes Series," will feature small ensembles of musicians playing in a downtown Denver gallery. It will culminate with a concert at the Mile High City's vaunted Red Rocks venue. "This is a cannabis-friendly event," the Symphony's website said of the latter event. "But cannabis will NOT be sold at this event; it's strictly B.Y.O.C. (bring your own cannabis)." (Smoking pot is officially illegal at Red Rocks, though music fans have been scoffing at that law for years.)

A business called Edible Events Co. has organized the events, encouraging concertgoers to bring joints, baked goods or tinctures of marijuana. "We try to create upscale events where people can come and enjoy some cannabis just like they would a glass of wine," Edible Events' Jane West said. Attendees must be 21 and over and have $75 for a ticket.

The symphony has also scheduled a series called "Beethoven and Brews," putting classical music in hotel bars and local breweries. Tickets for those events are slightly cheaper, ranging from $40 to $65.

One member of the symphony's volunteer guild, Judith Inman, has expressed her reservations about the organization's new fundraising practices. "I know that the symphony needs new sponsors, and they are trying to go after a younger group," she said. "I just don't think this is the way to go about it."

Marijuana sales have been legal in Colorado since January. AP reports that 52 percent of state residents feel that marijuana legalization has been beneficial and 67 percent disagree with the statement that legalization has "eroded the moral fiber" of Coloradans.

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