The Amazing Rock the Earth Race focuses on Colorado music - Reverb

The Amazing Rock the Earth Race: It’s like the “Amazing Race,” but focused on Colorado music

Denver-based non-profit Rock the Earth has a plethora of passions, but two stick out: Music and the Earth.

So it makes sense they’re planning a big Earth Day party on April 21, one that incorporates Denver and Boulder’s local music venues and the history that comes along with those scenes. They’re calling it the Amazing Rock the Earth Race, and it’s a team race that will involve a series of challenges (mental and physical) leading to a finish line that will reward $2,500 in cash prizes.

We chatted with Rock the Earth honcho Marc Ross about the big race, the specifics of the competition and the question of Slayer T-shirts getting more points than Journey T-shirts:

Q: You all are throwing the Amazing Rock the Earth Race on Earth Day weekend, and it’s like a localized Amazing Race — but focused on music, right?

A: Exactly. This one-day race charity event is inspired by the popular television show. The big difference is that since our organization exists at the intersection of music and the environment, the race will highlight some of the region’s most noted music venues along the way. Over the course of the day race participants will be given a series of cryptic clues that will lead to either a music venue or a natural place on the Front Range at which they will then need to undertake a challenge (which could be mental or physical) before they get the next clue. At the end of the day, we’ll have 5 winning teams who will win up to $2,500 in prize money (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, a wildcard team that successfully finishes the race, and the best dressed team).

Q: And it all works because music and Earth-centered activism is at the core of the Denver-rooted non-profit Rock the Earth?

A: Right. Rock the Earth is a national environmental organization that works to protect some of the country’s most threatened places through partnerships with the music community. Based in Denver, our team of volunteer environmental professionals is working on issues like trying to protect Colorado’s Roan Plateau from natural gas drilling, establishing a new Browns Canyon National Monument, fighting a proposed power line superstructure through one of the most popular National Parks in the U.S. and educating folks about the horrendous impacts that cruise ships have on the environment. Meanwhile, we conduct all of our public education and citizen engagement at concerts and festivals throughout the U.S. Over the past nine years, Rock the Earth has worked with over 500 bands at over 1,000 concerts, including working with some of the biggest names in music.

Q: What are the basics of the race — ie, how long will it take, what should competitors wear, and do T-shirts of better bands get points over T-shirts of lesser bands?

A: We’re anticipating that the race will take approximately seven hours to complete. While I’m sure some competitors will wear traditional racing attire, we’re hoping that by adding the Wild Card and Best Dressed prizes that some teams get in the spirit and have fun with the idea of wearing some sort of themed costume. Obviously, it should be comfortable for a full day of various activities. Regardless, all should probably wear comfortable shoes as it’s going to be a long day and there may be some outdoor activities like hiking involved (hint hint). As for band T-shirts, Rock the Earth works with a wide variety of bands (from Journey to Ozzy to Dave Matthews), so we’re not going to play favorites in that regard. Though, the judges might give extra points for dressing up like members of a band.

Q: What tips would you offer to competitors hoping to capture that big prize money?

A: Be well-rested — you’re going to need your mental as well as your physical capabilities to succeed, and it’s going to be a long day. Bring a water bottle or Camelback, and stay hydrated. Wear comfortable shoes. Be prepared for all kinds of weather. Be clever in your costume if you want to be considered for Best Dressed. Don’t give up half-way through if you’re behind because all finishers get considered for the Wild Card money. And most of all, have fun!

Q: What other events/concerts will Rock the Earth be working with this summer?

A: Rock the Earth is still putting together both our national and regional education and outreach calendars. Locally, we’re certain to be at many shows at Red Rocks again. Nationally, some of our old friends are out on tour this summer like the Dave Matthews Band, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Barenaked Ladies (with Guster and Ben Folds as the Last Summer on Earth tour) and the Allman Brothers Band. You can expect to see us at some of each of those bands’ shows and many more. Rock the Earth works about 150 concert dates during the summer alone, so you can expect to find us everywhere educating folks and inspiring them to “Defend the Planet One Beat at a Time.”

Registration for the race, $175-$250 per team, is at rocktheearth.org/amazingrace.

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Ricardo Baca is the founder and executive editor of Reverb, the co-founder of The UMS and an award-winning critic and editor at The Denver Post.

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