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Fiddler’s Green going greener with living wall of 25,000 plants

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Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre in Greenwood Village will add an enormous living wall as part of $5 million in upgrades to the entertainment venue owned by the Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA) and newly leased by AEG Live.

“With the consciousness of the country focused on sustainability, Fiddler’s Green will become truly ‘green,’” said Cynthia Madden Leitner, president and CEO of MOA. Improvements to the amphitheatre are detailed in my article in The Denver Post today.
The new vertical garden will cover the expanse of the amphitheatre’s main eastern wall. About 750 vertical feet will be planted with approximately 25,000 varying botanicals--mostly succulents that flourish in the Colorado's semi-arid climate.

Recycled water will irrigate living wall

“The wall will be maintained through the use of recycled water from the area detention ponds,” Madden Leitner said.
MOA contracted with Paul Kephart of Rana Creek Design in California to create the vertical garden.
MHe said, “We want an iconic and compelling floral piece that envelopes the green with lush, soft, colorful patterns and textures.”
Madden Leitner intends the wall as an artful installation. "The living wall has been envisioned as a mosaic piece that creates a pattern across the grand expanse of the eastern wall. The wall will make the ‘green’ in Fiddler’s Green a monumental living visual that will distinguish the facility, similar to, say, the rocks of Red Rocks Amphitheatre.”

Fiddler's Green includes neighboring sculpture park

Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre also is distinguished by MOA's adjacent sculpture park. Concertgoers can enter the amphitheater through Samson Park. The park's eclectic collection includes an enormous living sculpture made of willow. Known as Weidenblume, German for “willow flower,” the sculpture invites concertgoers to step into the living sculpture. More about Weidenblume at this link.
Samson Park also includes a series of bronze works inspired by the characters from Alice in Wonderland. This article has more details on the enchanting works by Harry Marinsky.
“When Chuck Morris from AEG first walked through Samson Park, he was taken aback by what an asset the art in the park was as a stand-alone sculpture park and thrilled that it also served as an entry to the amphitheater,” Madden Leitner said.
“The art makes Fiddler’s Green unique. The patron takes in the art in the park, the music, the beautiful Colorado mountain-scape that serves as a backdrop and the first-rate architecture of the business park surrounding the facility.”

Amphitheater conceived as earth sculpture
As a branch of the Museum of Outdoor Arts, Fiddler’s Green is the largest art work in the collection. Madden Leitner said the amphitheatre originally was conceived as an organic work of architecture echoing the surrounding mesa landscape. The amphitheatre creates an enormous bowl open to the sky and conducive to acoustic excellence.
“Fiddler’s Green was initially designed as an earth sculpture to function practically as a performing arts venue. The intent was to bring an entire range of entertainment to the community,” Madden Leitner said.

They succeeded. Fiddler's Green hosted a wide range of acts last summer, including Maroon 5 and Bob Dylan. My piece for The Denver Post music blog includes a Fiddler's Green slide show.

MOA emphasizes site-specific art installations, and the location of Fiddler’s Green was carefully considered. The amphitheatre commands spectacular views of the Rocky Mountain Front Range and offers splendid seats for ogling Colorado sunsets.

Fiddler's Green offers spectacular Front Range views

“From Red Rocks, you view the lights of the city,” Madden Leitner said. “From Fiddler’s, you see the sunset and the Rocky Mountains. The best seats for a view are on the grass, which is part of the original earth sculpture.”

Madden Leitner and her father, the developer John Madden, founded Fiddler's Green, built in 1985. Madden Leitner's son, Sky Madden, will serve as MOA's project manager for the amphitheater's upgrade.
Corporate sponsorship has dictated name changes for the venue, but most concertgoers still know the amphitheater as Fiddler’s Green.

Fiddler's Green named for a mythical place
“When my father named the facility in 1985, it was a romantic play on the imaginary Celtic place where sailors envisioned going in the afterlife,” Madden Leitner said.

“There are songs and poems written about Fiddler’s Green — kind of like talking about going over the rainbow or to the land of OZ,” she said. “The amphitheater's name will be — as it has always been called in the community despite other corporate banners attached -- Fiddler’s Green.”
The environmentally aware greening of Fiddler’s Green’s also includes the installation of solar panels. Demolition of parts of the facility began on December 24. Plans call for Fiddler’s Green to reopen again, as usual, in May. MOA begins a new 15-year lease with AEG Live - Rocky Mountains booking the season's concerts.

••• "Cultivate your corner of the world.

You grow your garden; your garden grows you." •••

Colleen Smith writes from and gardens in Denver, Colorado. She's been a longtime regular contributor to The Denver Post, Colorado Expression, Sunset Magazine, and other publications.

• Colleen Smith's gift book "Laid-Back Skier" makes a charming gift! This whimsical, inspirational book features original illustrations of ski bunnies and encouragement for life's ups and downs.

Watch "Laid-Back Skier's" brief YouTube video here.

• Colleen Smith’s first novel, “Glass Halo”—a finalist for the 2010 Santa Fe Literary Prize — is available in hardcover or e—book.

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