Rock Under The Stars The Ultimate Guide To The Best Outdoor Music Venues

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Welcome music lovers! Do you know what’s better than listening to your favorite band? Experiencing them live, under a starry sky, surrounded by nature. Outdoor music venues are the perfect blend of music and nature, that sets the perfect mood for an unforgettable experience. In this article, we will take you through the reasons why outdoor music venues are gaining popularity over indoor concerts and what makes them unique.

By the time you finish reading this article, you will know what to expect from an outdoor concert experience, and the best practices to make the most of it. We will be discussing everything from the perfect outfit to wear, to the best time to arrive, and even how to stay hydrated during your favorite artist’s performance. Following this guide will ensure that you never miss out on the experience of a lifetime.

At the end of the day, we all love music and being outdoors, so why not combine them? We will guide you through every aspect of the perfect outdoor music experience so that you can leave feeling satisfied and thrilled. Our advice has been collected from music lovers, industry experts, and artists themselves, and we guarantee that you will have all the tips and tricks to make the most of your next outdoor concert. Get ready to be transported into a world of music, nature, and unforgettable experiences.

Top-rated Outdoor Music Venues in the US

Outdoor music venues have the perfect blend of music and surroundings. It’s a perfect escape from the daily humdrum and a great way to connect with nature at the same time. But how do you decide which outdoor music venue you should attend? Here is a list of some of the top-rated outdoor music venues in the US, their unique features, and what sets them apart from the rest.

1. Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, located in Morrison, Colorado, tops most musicians’ lists when it comes to outdoor music venues. And for good reason. The Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a world-famous, naturally formed open-air music venue. The strikingly beautiful, red rock formation provides the perfect backdrop for any music event.

It’s no surprise that the venue has won numerous awards and accolades over the years, including the 2018 Pollstar Red Rocks Award for International Large Venue of the Year. In addition, the AVA Amphitheater ranked Red Rocks as the No.1 outdoor concert venue in the US in both 2016 and 2017.

Here are some features that make Red Rocks Amphitheatre unique –

  • Amphitheater design that allows for a natural acoustics experience
  • Its location in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains adds to the dramatic landscape
  • Seats up to 9,525 people comfortably
  • A smaller venue, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre provides an intimate concert experience
Excellent sound quality due to the natural acoustics Being an outdoor venue, weather can be unpredictable
Stunning views and unique atmosphere Long-distance from some major cities, requiring travel
Wide range of musical genres booked in every season No cover or shelter against rain/snow storms
  1. Location and Access
  2. Accessible by road, the venue is a 15-minute drive from Denver. Direct shuttle buses to the venue are also available from Denver International Airport on concert days. The venue has its own parking facilities, but getting there early is often essential for parking nearby.

  3. History and Design
  4. The location, originally owned by John Brisbane Walker, was purchased by the city of Denver in 1927, with the idea of making it a city park. It features two rocks formations, Ship Rock and Creation Rock, naturally formed after the erosion of red sandstone about 160 million years back. Originally, the location was used as a site for automobile races, but since 1941, it became host to various musical events.

  5. What Makes the Venue Special?
  6. Red Rocks amphitheater is memorable not just for its dramatic landscape but also for its combination of an intimate concert experience, stunning views, and excellent acoustics. The venue features a tiered structure, which makes it easy for all visitors to see whoever is performing. The audio has a unique way of bouncing off the rock formations and echoes through the entire area, creating a natural amphitheater.

  7. Notable Performances
  8. Red Rocks has hosted many notable performances, including but not limited to:

  • The Beatles in August 1964
  • Jimmi Hendrix
  • The Grateful Dead, during which they recorded their album, “Dick’s Picks Volume 13”

Red Rocks Amphitheatre stands the test of time and generally comes in at the top of music venues lists each year. Its unique beauty and acoustic design make it an ideal setting for smaller, intimate shows, and larger national festivals. It’s the kind of venue that has the perfect blend of style, sound quality, and natural beauty that you want in an outdoor concert.

Factors to consider when choosing an outdoor music venue

Outdoor music venues have become increasingly popular in recent years as people prefer to enjoy live music under the stars. The perfect outdoor music venue can make or break any music event, and choosing the right venue is crucial to success. There are several factors to consider when selecting an outdoor music venue, from location to technical requirements.


Location is a crucial factor in choosing an outdoor music venue, and many different aspects need to be considered, such as accessibility, proximity to local amenities, and the surrounding environment.

  • Accessibility: The venue should be easy to get to and have ample parking or public transportation options for attendees. A central location is an ideal choice, as it makes it easier for people to reach the venue without any hassle.
  • Proximity to local amenities: Having local amenities nearby can add value to the venue, such as eateries, accommodation for attendees, and shopping options. It would be an added advantage for an outdoor venue to have nearby bars and nightclubs, allowing attendees to continue their socializing after the show.
  • Surrounding environment: The surrounding environment should add to the experience, rather than detract from it. An outdoor venue that has a beautiful backdrop of mountains, water, or skyline can create the perfect ambiance.
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Size and Capacity

When selecting an outdoor music venue, size and capacity go hand in hand. There are several factors to consider with regards to size and capacity, from audience size to the size of the stage or sound system used in the venue.

  • Capacity: The venue should have enough space to accommodate the expected number of attendees, while at the same time, it should not be too big that the show loses its intimacy. Venues where attendees feel they are part of the show tend to be more popular. The capacity should never exceed local regulations regarding safety and security.
  • Stage Size: The stage is one of the most crucial elements of an outdoor music event, and therefore it needs to be sized accordingly. The stage size should be able to accommodate the number of performers without causing overcrowding, which could lead to accidents or injuries.
  • Sound System: The sound system needs to be large enough to cover the venue without being too overpowering, such that attendees can still have conversations and enjoy the music. Additionally, the venue should be equipped with adequate lighting and visual equipment to enhance the experience for attendees.

Technical Requirements

Outdoor music events are much more complicated than indoor events due to the technical requirements necessary for a successful live music event. These technical requirements can vary depending on the size of the event, genre of music, and the type of performers.

  • Power Requirements: The venue should have sufficient power to cater to the sound system, lighting equipment, and other technical requirements. It is essential to have power backup in case of power outages or other related emergencies.
  • Equipment: The venue should be well-equipped with modern and up-to-date equipment to provide the best possible sound and lighting effects, including high-quality speakers, microphones, mixing boards, and lighting systems.
  • Acoustics: The venue should have proper acoustics that complement the particular genre of music being played, whether it is classical, rock, rap, or country music. The sound should not echo, and it should be balanced across the venue to provide a superior listening experience for attendees.


The cost of outdoor music venues can vary enormously, and it is essential to have a budget in mind when selecting a venue. Other factors to consider in addition to the basic cost are the venue’s seating and parking arrangement.

  • Seating Arrangements: The venue should ideally have comfortable seating arrangements or adequate space to bring in camp chairs or blankets, depending on the genre of music being played.
  • Parking: The venue should have ample parking space for guests or have public transportation options where attendees can park safely within walking distance of the venue.
Factors to consider Pros Cons
Location Accessibility and proximity to local amenities offer convenience to attendees. The surrounding environment could become a distraction if it is not appropriate for the event.
Size and Capacity The size and capacity of the venue can maximize attendance while making attendees feel part of the show. Exceeding capacity limits or poor sound can cause accidents or detract from the event experience.
Technical Requirements Modern and up-to-date equipment can significantly enhance the attendee experience. Inadequate power or acoustics can lead to poor audio quality, echoing or uncomfortable temperatures.
Cost Affordable cost, good seating arrangements and parking options. Low cost may indicate poor-quality sound systems or inadequate facilities that can cause accidents.

In conclusion, when searching for an external music venue, it’s essential to consider location and proximity to local amenities. It’s important to have a proper size and capacity, stage size and sound system included since all contribute to the event’s great quality. Technical requirements such as power supply and acoustics should be adequate, and a cost-effective option should also be considered. A combination of these factors should lead to an informed and successful selection of an outdoor music venue.

Best Outdoor Music Venues for Summer Concerts

When summertime rolls around, music fans are always on the lookout for the best outdoor music venues to experience their favorite artists. Outdoor music venues offer an atmosphere like no other, and the open-air setting provides concertgoers with a unique concert experience. In this article, we will explore some of the best outdoor music venues in the world for summer concerts.

Whether you’re a fan of rock, pop, country or any other genre, we have got you covered. Let’s dive in and explore:

The Gorge Amphitheatre

Located in Washington State, The Gorge Amphitheatre offers one of the most stunning natural settings for a concert venue. The amphitheater is carved into the side of a mountain overlooking the Columbia River, providing an amazing backdrop for the performances. It has a capacity of 27,500 and has hosted some of the biggest names in the music industry such as Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, and Coldplay.

History and Facts

The Gorge Amphitheatre was opened in 1985 and was built by an entrepreneur named Vince Bryan. It has been named as one of the most scenic concert venues by Rolling Stone Magazine. The venue occupies over 300 acres of land and offers a camping site for concert-goers. In 2005, it was acquired by Live Nation, a company that specializes in managing live music events.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
– Stunning natural setting – Extreme temperature during some months
– Large capacity – Distance from major cities
– On-site camping – Limited accommodation nearby

The Hollywood Bowl

Located in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Bowl is one of the most iconic outdoor music venues in the United States. It is situated in the Hollywood Hills and has a seating capacity of over 17,000 people. Since its opening in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has been an essential part of the Southern California music scene.

History and Facts

The Hollywood Bowl is famed for hosting exceptional musicians such as The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra. It has also been used as a filming location for movies and television shows, including the classic musical “An American in Paris”. The acoustics of the venue are so great that it was named one of the best concert venues in the United States by Rolling Stone Magazine.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
– Iconic venue with a rich history – High ticket prices
– Excellent acoustics – Limited parking space
– Stunning natural setting – No on-site camping

The Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado is known for its breathtaking natural beauty. The amphitheater can seat up to 9,525 people and provides a stunning view of the surrounding landscape. It has been listed as one of the world’s most iconic outdoor music venues by several publications.

History and Facts

The Red Rocks Amphitheatre was opened in 1941 and has hosted numerous famous musicians, including The Beatles, U2 and Mumford and Sons. The venue also hosts fitness classes, yoga sessions, and cultural events during the daytime. The state of Colorado named the venue as a historical landmark in 2015.

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Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
– Stunning natural setting – Limited seating capacity
– Rich history and cultural significance – Extreme weather during some months
– Variety of events and activities offered – Limited transportation options

In conclusion, experiencing live music in an outdoor setting is an exceptional experience. From the stunning natural beauty of The Gorge Amphitheatre to the iconic setting of the Hollywood Bowl, and the breathtaking scenery of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, there are many outdoor music venues for music lovers to choose from. Before purchasing concert tickets, ensure that you consider venue capacity, the location, amenities, transportation options, weather, and ticket prices.

How to prepare for an outdoor music venue experience

Attending an outdoor music venue is a fun and exciting way to experience live music. Outdoor music venues provide an opportunity for music lovers to enjoy their favorite music in a unique atmosphere surrounded by nature. However, attending an outdoor music venue requires adequate preparation to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. In this article, we will explore how to prepare for an outdoor music venue experience.

Selecting the right gear

When attending an outdoor music venue, it is essential to bring along the right gear that will help make the experience more enjoyable. Here are some gear suggestions for an outdoor music venue:

  • A folding chair or blanket: Consider carrying a folding chair or a waterproof blanket to make your experience more comfortable. Some outdoor music venues do not provide chairs, so carrying your own can be a good idea.
  • Sunscreen: Outdoor music venues are usually open-air, and you are likely to spend a lot of time in the sun. Consider carrying sunscreen to ensure maximum protection from harmful UV rays.
  • Mosquito repellent: Insect bites are common in outdoor environments. Consider carrying mosquito repellent to avoid mosquito and bug bites.
  • A hat: A wide-brimmed hat is an ideal accessory to protect you from the sun and add a fashion statement to your outfit.
  • A small backpack or sling bag: Consider carrying a small backpack or sling bag to carry your gear and store your personal effects. Avoid carrying a large backpack as it can be cumbersome and make it hard to move around.

What to wear

When attending an outdoor music venue, it is crucial to wear comfortable clothing that is suitable for the weather conditions. The following clothing suggestions can make your experience more enjoyable:

  • Layered clothing: Outdoor music venues have varying weather conditions. Consider wearing layered clothing that is easy to remove or add depending on the weather conditions.
  • Comfortable shoes: You may be required to stand or walk around in the outdoor music venue, so consider wearing comfortable shoes that can provide good support for your feet.
  • A hat or sunglasses: Consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat or sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the sun.
  • Light-colored clothing: Dark-colored clothing tends to absorb heat and can make you feel hot and uncomfortable. Consider wearing light-colored clothing to reflect heat and stay cool.

What to eat and drink

Attending an outdoor music venue can be physically demanding, and you might require sustenance to keep you energized throughout the experience. Consider bringing along food and beverages that will keep you hydrated and energized. Here are some food and drink suggestions:

  • Water: Staying hydrated is key to enjoying an outdoor music venue experience. Consider carrying enough water to keep you hydrated.
  • Fruit and vegetables: Consider carrying fruits and vegetables for snacks, as they are healthy and contain essential nutrients necessary for energy.
  • Protein bars: Protein bars are easy to carry and can provide the energy required for the experience.
  • Cooler and ice packs: If you plan to spend an entire day or evening at the outdoor music venue event, consider carrying a cooler with ice packs to store your food and beverages to prevent spoilage due to heat.

Safety Tips

Attending an outdoor music venue is fun, but safety should be a priority. Here are some safety tips to consider when attending an outdoor music venue:

  • Know your surroundings: Familiarize yourself with the venue before the event begins. Take note of the emergency exits, restrooms, and First Aid stations.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is important, especially during hot weather conditions. Carry enough water to keep you hydrated throughout the event.
  • Take breaks: Standing or dancing for extended periods can be physically demanding. Take breaks, sit down, and rest if necessary to prevent fatigue.
  • Protect your belongings: Consider leaving valuables such as jewelry and watches at home. Carry only essential items and store them in a safe place.
  • Be mindful of extreme weather conditions: In the event of extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain or lightning, seek shelter and follow the venue’s safety protocol.
Outdoor music venues provide a unique atmosphere and experience. Noisy environment and potential exposure to extreme weather conditions Indoor music venues provide a controlled environment that offers protection from the elements.
Opportunity to enjoy live music surrounded by nature No chairs provided at some outdoor music venues, requiring attendees to bring their own chairs Indoor music venues provide seating for attendees at no additional cost.

In conclusion, attending an outdoor music venue can be a fun and memorable experience. Adequate preparation can make the experience enjoyable and comfortable. Make sure to select the right gear, wear comfortable clothing, bring along food and drink, and observe safety measures to ensure a successful outdoor music venue experience.

The Economic Impact of Outdoor Music Venues on Local Communities

Outdoor music venues have become a popular setting to host events such as concerts, festivals, and live performances. These events generate significant economic activity and contribute to the growth and development of local communities. In this article, we will explore the economic impact of outdoor music venues on local communities.

Increased Tourism

One of the most significant economic benefits of outdoor music venues is the increased tourism they generate. Outdoor music events attract large crowds from neighboring cities, states, and even countries. These events provide a significant boost to the local economy as tourists spend money on transportation, accommodations, restaurants, and local activities.

According to a study conducted by the Economic Development Administration, outdoor music events generate approximately $1.3 billion annually in tourism spending in the United States alone. This spending leads to the creation of new jobs and increased revenue for local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, and retail shops.

Job Creation

Outdoor music venues are significant employers in the entertainment industry. They create jobs in various fields such as event management, marketing, hospitality, and security. The venue’s management team, for instance, hires professionals to plan and execute events, while the marketing team is responsible for promoting these events to the public.

Moreover, local businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and retail shops hire more staff to accommodate the increased traffic during events. Adding to that, security personnel and parking attendants are also required to manage and ensure a safe and secure environment for the attendees.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the arts and cultural sector supports 4.9 million jobs and generates $919.7 billion to the US economy. Outdoor music venues account for a significant portion of these jobs and contribute significantly to the industry’s growth.

Increased Revenue for Local Businesses

Outdoor music events bring a significant boost to local businesses in the surrounding areas. Attendees spend money on food, drinks, merchandise, and other local products during these events. Several restaurants and shops open early or extend their hours during these events to cater for the influx of people.

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Moreover, outdoor music venues are ideal for local vendors to provide services and sell products. Vendors such as food trucks, breweries, and merchandise sellers contribute to the event’s vibrancy and provide attendees with a variety of options.

According to a study by the Washington State University, for every $1 spent on admission to a festival or event, an additional $2.60 is spent in the local economy, generating significant revenue for local businesses.

Challenges and Drawbacks

While outdoor music venues generate significant economic activity, they also have their drawbacks and challenges. Some of these include:

  • Noise complaints from neighboring residents
  • Traffic congestion and parking issues
  • Costs associated with event management and security
  • Environmental concerns and the impact on natural resources

Despite these challenges, outdoor music venues remain a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, generating significant economic benefits for local communities.

Comparisons with Indoor Music Venues

While indoor music venues have their advantages, they cannot compare to the significant economic activity generated by outdoor music venues. Here are some key differences:

Outdoor Music Venues Indoor Music Venues
  • Can accommodate a large number of people
  • Open-air setting provides a unique experience
  • Affordable admission fees
  • Provide a more intimate setting
  • Climate-controlled environment
  • Access to food, drinks, and merchandise indoors

In conclusion, outdoor music venues have significant economic impact on local communities. They generate substantial tourism spending, create job opportunities, increase revenue for local businesses, and provide a unique experience for attendees. Despite some challenges and drawbacks, outdoor music venues remain a popular and profitable destination for tourists and locals alike.

FAQs for Outdoor Music Venue

What is an outdoor music venue?

An outdoor music venue is an open-air venue where live music concerts are hosted. It can be a park, a fairground, a stadium, or any other space with an outdoor stage and seating arrangement for the audience.

What are the benefits of attending an outdoor music venue?

Attending an outdoor music venue allows you to enjoy live music in the open air, connecting with a wider community, and experiencing a festival-like atmosphere with food and drinks. Additionally, it provides you a break from the routine and an opportunity to spend time in nature.

What are the key considerations when selecting an outdoor music venue?

The key considerations when selecting an outdoor music venue are- location and accessibility, parking, seating arrangement and comfort, weather, noise level and sound quality, food and drink options, and availability of facilities such as restrooms and emergency medical services.

How do you prepare for an outdoor music venue?

To prepare for an outdoor music venue, make sure to dress comfortably with appropriate footwear, bring a hat, sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, and insect repellent. Also, check the weather forecast in advance and plan your transportation and parking arrangements.

What are the different types of outdoor music venues?

Some common types of outdoor music venues include amphitheaters, stadiums, park stages, festival grounds, and makeshift outdoor stages on parking lots or rooftops.

What is the best time of the year to attend an outdoor music venue?

The best time for an outdoor music venue may vary depending on the location and climate. However, summer and fall are generally popular for outdoor concerts as the weather is warm and pleasant.

How early should you arrive at an outdoor music venue?

It’s recommended to arrive at least an hour before the concert start time to avoid parking and security lines and to grab a good spot for viewing the performance. Some outdoor music venues also have pre-concert entertainment, so arriving early can enhance your overall experience.

Can you bring your own food and drinks to an outdoor music venue?

Most outdoor music venues have their own food and drink vendors, and some also allow you to bring your own food and drinks. However, it’s important to check the venue’s policy beforehand and comply with any restrictions on outside food and drinks.

What are some helpful tips for a first-time visitor to an outdoor music venue?

Some helpful tips for a first-time visitor to an outdoor music venue are- researching the venue’s policy, preparing for the weather, arriving early, packing light, and staying aware of your surroundings. Additionally, bringing cash, ID, and a fully charged phone can come in handy.

How do you find out about outdoor music venues in your area?

You can find out about outdoor music venues in your area by checking local event listings, visiting the venue’s website, following their social media pages, or downloading an event app. Also, word of mouth from friends and family who have attended outdoor music venues can help you discover new concert experiences.

What are the most popular outdoor music venues in the world?

Some of the most popular outdoor music venues in the world are- the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington, Royal Albert Hall in London, Sydney Opera House in Australia, and the Acropolis of Athens in Greece. These venues are known for their iconic settings, acoustics, and legendary performances.


Outdoor music venues provide a unique experience to enjoy live music in natural settings, creating memories that last a lifetime. To make the most of your visit, plan ahead, prepare for the weather, arrive early, and research the venue’s facilities and policies. After attending an outdoor music venue, consider taking a stroll or enjoying a meal at a local hotspot to extend your outdoor experience. Thank you for reading, and we hope you discover your next favorite outdoor music venue!