Red Rocks Park & Ampitheatre rocks on
Magical. Inspiring. Amazing. Try to describe the concert experience at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and you can end up running the gamut of superlatives. The Beatles, U2 and the Grateful Dead are just a few of the music icons who have played “on the Rocks” since its official opening in 1947. Talk with industry performers both past and present, and they are positively reverent about a 9,000-seat venue literally carved into natural rock formations just 15 miles west of Denver.
With 70 rows of stadium seating between massive Creation Rock and Ship Rock, there really are no "bad" spots in the surprisingly intimate Red Rocks Park & Ampitheatre. Serious about seeing the band? Sit up front. If you're in it for the outdoor experience, back rows still get good audio and have an unobstructed view of the Denver skyline—at night, downtown lights compete with stars overhead as well as on the stage. Acoustics here have always received kudos, and there’s a positive synergy between performers and the entire crowd.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is not only the site of a stellar outdoor concert season, but also a summertime "Film on the Rocks" series with movie favorites and an opening live band. The venue hosts a number of other events, from high school graduations to a Run the Rocks 5K with (no surprise) live music. With seats facing east, the annual Easter sunrise service is a longtime local tradition. Every weekend and even on most non-concert days, you’ll find athletic types running the stairs of the amphitheatre. Occasionally you can catch a local musician or two trying out the stage.
The park grounds cover 868 acres, filled with biking and hiking trails that wind around the prehistoric red-rock formations (climbing is prohibited), and there's abundant wildlife. A visitor’s center contains a gift shop, coffee bar, info about Colorado and great views of the entire area. Music fanatics flock to the on-site Hall of Fame that documents every single performance with photos and memorabilia. The Ship Rock Grille serves up a crowd-pleasing menu, as well as Sunday brunch. Sit on the patio on a warm, sunny day and you’ll know why people live in Colorado.
A slew of rules, regulations, schedule adjustments and general information can be found here. The Film on the Rocks schedule is there as well. For concert info, including ticket purchases, click here. Prepare for a hike from the parking lot to your concert seat with stairs galore at 6,400 feet. Pace yourself if you’re visiting and haven’t adjusted to the altitude. If you're a seat-cushion type, throw one into your concert bag. A poncho is another good idea—summertime and early fall are prime times for quick-moving rain showers, no matter what the weather looks like when you arrive. Check out the FAQ section of the website for more tidbits here.
HelloDenver tip: If you're planning which concerts to attend, subscribe to the Red Rocks e-newsletter (go to the bottom of the Red Rocks Online concert page to sign up). The concert season is always fluid and the newsletter advises you about additional bands as they are booked.
Posted on April 28, 2010 by Lisa Perry