If you have ever been to a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the past nineteen years, you’ve probably seen Scramble Campbell– covered in paint, dancing to the rhythm of the music, and painting a wild, psychedelic scene at his easel. If you sit near him, you’ll end up watching him more than the concert, as his hypnotizing, flowing bob-and-weave dance moves sync up with the paint coming off his brush. Capturing the sound with color and light, Scramble has painted a who’s who of musicians over his decades-long career, and carefully chosen selections of his work are now on display at the new Scramble Campbell 15th Annual Red Rocks Art Experience currently up in the Red Rocks museum at the visitor center.
The newest addition is a John Fogerty piece that was literally painted the night before at the concert, and a few Fogerty fans who had been there stood around the piece, gushing over the fun night they had and Scramble’s capture of it. Campbell’s colorful, whimsical style appeals to both young and old, and it’s fun to watch the various generations excitedly ask him to sign pieces and pose for a picture.
Gracious and personable, Keith “Scramble” Campbell has time for everyone, and gives each one his complete attention. It totally makes sense that he has so many fans- he has painted almost 500 concerts at Red Rocks! The art exhibit is filled with couches that visitors can lounge on to really get a chance to absorb his work. In the center of the exhibit, the 2013 Eric Abramson documentary Scramblevision that features the painter is played on a giant screen.
Besides the live music-inspired work, there are beautiful paintings of the famous rock formations; blended in you will find benevolent spirits, doves, and the vibe of pure love and respect for this national historical landmark. Rock and roll and geology just go so well together!
Scramble: “I first started coming here the summer of 2000 with Widespread Panic, and I just fell in love with the place immediately. I was a 30-year resident of Florida, but I figured this was the place I wanted to be. I’ve been to amphitheatres all over the country, doing H.O.R.D.E. Festival and others throughout the 90s, and this is the premier venue. When I got here, I learned the history of the place, and I’m one of the tour guides here. I was fascinated by it all, and figured this was the place that I wanted to spend my summers, so I got in with the city. When this show started off 15 years ago, it was one week, and now it’s up to a month! This is my 19th season here, and this year I will breach 500 live paintings here at Red Rocks. It’s a great home, and now they sell my work, posters and magnets year-round at the Trading Post and here at the Visitor Center. It’s a wonderful thing. I’m never looking for a new gig!”
I became a major Leftover Salmon fan after seeing them at H.O.R.D.E. Fest as a teenager, and over the years have been delighted by the band, the painter, and of course, their sometimes special guest Mayor McCheese. Color me surprised when I found out that when I saw the band play at Red Rocks in 2010, the painter WAS Mayor McCheese! Scramble Campbell- Renaissance Man.
Before you leave the exhibit, make sure to check out the gift shop area on the left. T-shirts, magnets, posters, postcards and more are on sale at the exhibit. Find Scramble and he’ll sign it for you!
The Scramble Campbell 15th Annual Red Rocks Art Experience runs until July 22, and is open to the public and free from 10am – 2pm in the Red Rocks Amphitheatre Visitor Center. The exhibit is also open during concerts, but you’ll need a ticket then. Visit his website at scramblecampbell.com.