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Riot acts and classical cannabis 

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This year's much-anticipated Riot Fest lineup was unveiled online last week, prompting its first "tier" of tickets to sell out in a matter of hours.

It's easy to see why. The festival, which takes place Sept. 19 to 21, boasts a genre-spanning assortment of marquee names, including The Flaming Lips, Wu-Tang Clan, The National, Bob Mould, Die Antwoord, The Cure, Weezer, Slayer, Rise Against and Social Distortion.

Riot Fest will also play host to unexpected reunions by the Violent Femmes and the should-have-been-huge Failure, who were more interesting than the '90s grunge peers to whom they were often compared.

And then there are more recent critics' darlings like Dum Dum Girls and TV on the Radio, as well as post-punk acts, including the Buzzcocks and Stiff Little Fingers, who've virtually never toured the States.

Now in its second year, Riot Fest will once again be held on multiple outdoor stages in Byers, an unincorporated town 45 miles east of Denver with a population of 1160. At the time of this writing, $99.98 and $129.98 tickets are already gone, as prices incrementally climb their way up to $189. There's no difference among any of those tickets; it all comes down to a question of how long you choose to wait.

The more extravagantly inclined can pay an extra $100 for VIP tickets, which will buy you some shade, air-conditioned restrooms, complimentary bottled water and free phone charging. More info at riotfest.org.

And now, a progress report on the still-hazy boundaries of music and marijuana in our post-legalization landscape — this time from one of the most bizarre sources possible.

Indy readers may recall how the strapped-for-cash Colorado Symphony, our state's lone full-time orchestra, has already fumbled its way through a couple of public relations disasters: First, it enacted a half million dollars in salary cuts for musicians who were already underpaid by national standards. Shortly thereafter came the mass resignation of 20 trustees, which prompted the PR department to insist that "an overall sentiment of appreciation and love for the orchestra was shared by all of those who issued resignation."

The symphony's newest spin cycle finds it feverishly tap-dancing around a series of pot-fueled fundraisers.

It all began with the organization's announcement of Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series, which it described as a "BYOC-friendly experience for music lovers." The series would consist of several sweetly scented gallery events culminating in a September Red Rocks concert, with details to be announced.

Hours later, the Denver-based organization sent out a hastily amended press release under the subject line, "Clarification: Colorado Symphony Classically Cannabis Series, No BYOC at Red Rocks." In bold type, the revised statement cautioned that "the consumption of cannabis at Red Rocks is prohibited by law."

Last week, the further-chastened symphony sent out a much more sober statement. After consultation with the city of Denver and legal advisers, Classically Cannabis — the "High Note" part has been conspicuously dropped — will take "a modified approach to be in compliance with the City's interpretation of the laws."

"Classically Cannabis will now be available by invitation only," the orchestra proclaimed. "Events will be limited to a closed list of VIP guests managed by Edible Events Co. No reservations or requests for invitations to the events will be accepted from the general public."

Despite all this, Classically Cannabis will still include a Red Rocks concert, with the symphony expecting to generate nearly $200,000 from the series. Should be no problem to fill a nearly 10,000-capacity venue with invitation-only VIP guests.

In the meantime, this summer's Red Rocks headliners include jam bands Widespread Panic and Big Head Todd, as well as electronic dance performers Pretty Lights, Flying Lotus, Flux Pavilion and Skrillex. Needless to say, all of these concerts will be 100 percent cannabis-free.

Send news, photos and music to reverb@csindy.com; follow our updates at tinyurl.com/indyreverb.

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