What’s the Deal With Red Rocks?

A look at Colorado’s iconic venue: its history, features, and appeal to bands.

Approved media photo from redrocksonline.com

Approved media photo from redrocksonline.com

Becca Schwisow, Herald Copy Editor

Red Rocks is a world-renowned venue located in Morrison, Colorado. Since opening in 1941, Red Rocks has hosted numerous iconic musical artists, including U2 and The Beatles.


For artists of all genres, this is the Colorado equivalent to Madison Square Garden in New York. From the naturally-occurring rock formations to the “perfect acoustics,” artists dream of the day they get to play at Red Rocks.


At the Twenty One Pilots show at Red Rocks last September, lead singer Tyler Joseph mentioned how big of a dream this had been for them, and what an honor it was to play there. In the following summer, Twenty One Pilots headlined two back to back sold-out shows as a part of their Emotional Roadshow Tour.


Another band that dreams of playing at Red Rocks is called Young Rising Sons, an up and coming band from New Jersey. Young Rising Sons posted a three-part promotion on their Instagram (@youngrisingsons) for their new single “Undefeatable.” The promotion features a series of comics relating to the song. One section of the comics revolved around the dream to play at Red Rocks.


Playing at this venue has become a goal for many bands and artists from all over the country, validating the belief that it truly is the best place to see or perform a show.


The love of Red Rocks has a lot to do with its history, the natural features, as well as the enthusiasm to “preserve the magic.”

Approved media photo from redrocksonline.com
Approved media photo from redrocksonline.com

The Beginning of the Park:

Red Rocks originally got its start by John Brisbane Walker, who produced many small concerts in the rock formations between 1906 and 1910. The land was then purchased by the City of Denver, and then workers from the CCC and WPA, two work programs from the New Deal in the 1930s, were enlisted to help build the amphitheater.


What else does Red Rocks have to offer?

For many, Red Rocks is just a cool venue to go to; the thrill of going to a concert “under the stars.” However, there is much more to the entire Red Rocks park that is often overlooked.

Besides the main amphitheater, there are 868 acres that offer outdoor recreation and tourist attractions. The outdoor activities include hiking and bike trails, additional attractions consist the Music Hall of Fame, located near the lower south lot, and the Ship Rock Grille found at the back of the amphitheater by the Visitor Center.


Approved media photo from redrocksonline.com

Preserving the Beauty:

People inspired by the beauty of the park created a group in 1999 called Friends of Red Rocks. The group meets frequently to clean the park and spread awareness about the importance of preservation.

Because of the pristine condition of the surrounding nature at Red Rocks, the park has received National Landmark status, the award was given on behalf of the Secretary of Interior from the National Parks Service.