‘Tis the Season: 9 Red Rocks Do’s and Don’t’s

Photo Courtesy of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre on Facebook

Summer’s just about here, and the longer and (occasionally) warmer days mean that Red Rocks season is too. It’s one of the most revered venues in the world thanks to its natural beauty and amazing history. If you live in Denver (a short 25 minute drive from the amphitheater), then you probably know what we’re talking about. But, whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the Rocks or are just going there for the first time, it can be a tricky place to navigate. That’s why we’ve put together some do’s and don’ts that will make your experience at the legendary venue as beautiful as possible — just how it was meant to be.

DO: Get there early

The upsides to showing up to Red Rocks before doors open are practically limitless. To start, you’ll face much less traffic less and secure a prime parking spot. If you’ve ever walked from the lower south lot, you know how valuable this is. Otherwise, you better pack some walkin’ shoes!

The lot culture is almost second to none. If this is your first time at the venue, you owe it to yourself to walk around and partake in some good-natured people-watching. Talk to your fellow concertgoers and maybe buy some pins if that’s your thing. Pro-tip — the dude with dreads down to his knees isn’t just selling crystals. We’ll let you figure that one out. 

Everyone in the lot is there for the same reason — to experience the natural beauty and see some great music. Spirits are always high before the doors open — so take the chance to make new friends. You might even see them at the next show. Or the next. Maybe you’ll even run into the “weed cookie” lady if you’re lucky. Word on the street is those things are STRONG.

Showing up before doors also allows you to grab whatever merch you want before it sells out. Sometimes the lines from the merch booths (located by the lower south and upper north entrances) wrap all the way up or down the stairs, which might mean missing almost an entire set. You didn’t come to Red Rocks to stand in line for an hour, did you?

Photo courtesy of Kyle Cooper.

DON’T: Be afraid to tree dwell

No matter where you are, shoving your way into a crowd without regard for those around you is never cool. If you do happen to get there a little later than you’d hoped and the place is packed to the brim, you’re probably not going to find that perfect spot. But, we have good news — there’s another option.

Lining the stairs on both sides are tree wells that offer ample room to those that got shut out of a spot or would rather not be stuffed into a tight crowd. The sound there is just as good, the views are great — the whole stage in sight for the most part — and there’s usually a bit more room to move around if you’re the type to jump and spin around — however you like to get down. It’s a nice option to have in the back pocket. 

Read: Review — Goose Etched History into Sandstone at Red Rocks 

DO: Respect the employees

In theory, a job at the greatest venue in the world could sound like a dream. But the reality is that working at Red Rocks is no easy task. Those working the crowd are hiking up and down those stairs to ensure that you — yes, you — are safe and having a good time. So, if they tell you you can’t stand on the stairs, move over.

The vendors want to ensure you stay full, hydrated and maybe even a little drunk, if that’s your thing. Last year, the card readers would go down occasionally and take a while to get back up and running. I saw quite a lot of people being rude to helpless vendors who just wanted to help people have a good time. Technical difficulties aren’t usually their fault. Be patient and remember: you’re at Red Rocks — there’s no reason to rush. 

The AXS ticket resolution employees are arguably the unsung heroes of the whole venue. They help the people having issues with tickets figure out the problem and how to fix it. Naturally, the majority of patrons that these employees deal with aren’t very happy. They’re two steps away from being in the show and they are being told they can’t get in. Often times, the patron brings the problem on themselves by buying tickets from sketchy vendors. That’s another DON’T to write down. Remember, it’s not their fault your ticket isn’t working. Treat them with respect and the whole situation will go much smoother.

Basically, if you pass by or interact with anyone working on the Rocks, be kind and offer a smile or a word of appreciation. It goes a long way. 

Photo Courtesy of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

DON’T: Wear flip flops

Take it from me — it’s a bad idea. I had to learn this lesson the hard way many times before it finally set in. I get it: the shining sun means that it’s time to bust out the sandals and enjoy the easy summer breeze on your bare skin. But what many forget is that Red Rocks is a hike. Walking long ways up steep inclines is part of the experience.

Furthermore, you will be climbing and descending a shit ton of concrete stairs that are pretty easy to trip on if you’re trying to move quickly. Believe me, it’s not a great feeling to have your flip-flop catch the lip of one of the stairs, sending you down to the concrete while people around you ask if you’re okay and assume you’re fucked up off this or that. If you want to drastically reduce the chance of hurting and/or embarrassing yourself, leave the flops at home. 

READ: Skrillex Announces Return to Red Rocks on April 29th, Which Will Feature a Five-Hour Set

DO: Check Out the Food Up Top 

Look, I’m not one to knock a corndog. But say you’re attending a three-night run of your favorite artist. The corndogs are going to get old. I promise. There’s some great BBQ, Biker Jim’s Hot Dogs, Smashburger and more up top if the regular concert food fare isn’t doing it for you. 

DON’T: Bring a backpack with more than one pocket

This is a new policy as of this year. Red Rocks announced that they will no longer allow bags with more than one pocket. Camelbacks and other similar bags are still permitted, but remember to leave the heavy-duty bags behind. 

DO: Get water before getting a spot

As mentioned, Red Rocks can be a workout and sometimes it’s going to get hot there. Whether you’re going sober, just having a few drinks or are really trying to get after it, water is key to concert survival anywhere you go. Red Rocks makes it doubly important.

It’s not a place you want to get dehydrated or have heat stroke. There are water stations all over and water bottles for sale, and camelbacks and reusable water bottles are permitted so long as they’re empty when they’re brought in. Take advantage of this at all costs.

SoDown at Red Rocks

DON’T: Forget to hit the box office if you need to

The box office at Red Rocks is about a mile away from the venue. It can be accessed easiest by taking the second entrance in, and you’ll pass it on the way to the lots.

A key thing to note about the box office is that if you have been guest listed or have VIP tickets, you must go to the box office to get your credentials. They cannot help you get them at the main gates. So, if you do not want to walk a mile there and a mile back, make sure to swing by. You can also get fee-free tickets to future shows and physical copies of your tickets if you’re a collector.

DO: Make note of your row number 

Finally, Red Rocks is a massive place that can seem a little daunting at first. The best way to make navigating it easier is to memorize your row number. These are found on the sides of the entrance to each row. You’re still going to get lost at times, but it’ll help. 

Red Rocks 2023 Concert Calendar


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