To refer to Red Rocks Amphitheatre as a legendary concert venue is hardly hyperbolic. This majestic venue has been hosting concerts for over a hundred years and has seen The Beatles, U2 , Steve Martin, and roughly one billion combined performances by The Grateful Dead and Phish.
It’s not hard to see why so many artists keep coming back: the surroundings are beautiful, the acoustics are fantastic, and the backdrop is the Denver skyline.
There are some drawbacks, of course. Traffic on the winding mountain road that takes visitors up to the amphitheatre can be hectic at times, although nothing worse than your average well-attended sporting event. Also, the uniqueness of the venue tends to both to cause shows to sell out well in advance and drive up ticket prices — where else in the world can an ABBA tribute band charge $30 and up?
For those who didn’t manage to time their trip to Denver in time to see their favorite act or lacked the foresight to buy tickets sufficiently far in advance but still want an excuse to visit, there are several alternatives.
The first is Film on the Rocks, a weekly summer film series put on by the Denver Film Society that pairs up movies conducive to watching outdoors with a large crowd (Red Rocks seats over 9,000). Cult classics like The Big Lebowski and Edward Scissorhands are showing this summer, not to mention Twilight. (Note: this is the last time NileGuide will mention the Twilight series.)
Showings are preceded by a concert starting around 6:30 and the movie takes over after the sun goes down. Standard tickets are $12 and the Denver Film Society also sells additional tickets to a pre-party and a party bus to and from the show (for those who are afraid The Goonies won’t live up to their fond adolescent memories if they’re sober).
Non-cinephiles looking to make the fifteen-mile drive out to the amphitheatre will be happy to discover that admission is free whenever there’s no concert going on. There are a few miles of trails running around the park for those looking for more than just the amphitheatre that are well worth checking out.
Finally, any visitor to Red Rocks should remember that it’s more than a thousand feet higher up than Denver. That means those coming during the day are advised to bring sunscreen and lots of water, and those who arrive for nighttime festivities should remember how much more of an impact a few drinks can have at this altitude. That said, Red Rocks is another great excuse to get out of the city and spend some time in the mountains, which is what Colorado is all about.
[Photo courtesy of Wikimedia]