Featured Speaker: Chris Zacher

Featured Speaker

Chris Zacher

Director of Partnerships – Music & Comedy, Goldstar Events

Chris Zacher is a social entrepreneur and champion for live music that is accessible for all. He is the Founder and former CEO & Executive Director of Levitt Pavilion Denver, the Chair for National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) in Colorado, Co-Chair for NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund, a founding board member of Colorado Independent Venue Association (CIVA), a lecturer at the University of Colorado Denver, and a member of the ACC Music Audio & Technology Committee. Additionally, Chris is credited with the sustainability and overwhelming popularity of Denver’s beloved City Park Jazz, serving as Vice President and President from 2006 – 2014.

Chris has a wealth of experience in the music industry, including non-profit operations, budgeting, community outreach, crisis management, fundraising, festival production, and venue management.

In Spring of 2020 when COVID hit and all live music venues were shuttered, Chris volunteered to organize independent venues into the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA). Over the course of nine months, he worked with other NIVA members to lobby congress for financial relief for the music industry devastated by the shut-down. Chris emphasized the importance of live music, not just as a cultural asset but as a significant economic driver (in 2019, arts and culture contributed $2.3 billion to Colorado’s economy alone).

After Chris’ and other NIVA members’ tireless efforts to appeal to our congressional leaders, on December 27, 2020, the Save Our Stages Act was signed into law, and $16.25 billion was granted to 12,798 independent music venues across the country last Spring. Colorado received $178,136,100 in relief for 278 venues. 

“Without Chris’ contributions and leadership during COVID, the music industry would have suffered even more significant losses,” says Andy Bercaw, Owner of the Oriental Theater. “Chris truly saved our stages.”

Additionally, Chris Co-chaired the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund that distributed over $3 million to struggling venues across the country in November 2020. He is currently the Vice President for NIVA’s Rocky Mountain region, continuing to work to support vulnerable independent venues and ensuring the prosperity and long-term success of our music community.

In 2021, Chris was appointed by Mayor Hancock to the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, an advisory board to Denver Arts & Venues’ cultural affairs department. Comprised of “dynamic and accomplished Denver leaders in the areas of the arts, business and education,” the board oversees the 1% for public art program, serves as trustees of Denver’s cultural plan, IMAGINE 2020, advises on arts and cultural issues, and acts as ambassadors to the community.

Chris is also a lecturer at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) College of Arts and Media (C.A.M.) in the Music and Entertainment Industry Studies program. As an educator, he is leading the next generation of music professionals and instilling in them his love for our vibrant music community.

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