The how tos and how nots of the greatest music venue on the planet …
Red Rocks is arguably (or rather, inarguably?) the greatest music venue in the world. Every summer, thousands of eager concert-goers descend on this hallowed ground, and every summer it seems like more and more newbies have discovered this place too. In an effort to welcome the many transplants to our fine state, we put together this handy guide to help get the most out of a Red Rocks experience.
Eat a big, energizing meal beforehand (that means good proteins and carbs, not McDonald's). If you’re hanging out in the lots before, be sure to save room for beer. Bring a snack to have before your go inside the amphitheater (food can get pretty expensive in there). Stretch your limbs; and most importantly, hydrate like crazy.
If you don’t get caught up in Denver traffic (which you certainly will), you’ll probably get pulled over for exceeding the 25 MPH speed limit on the main streets of Morrison. The city's PD patrols a very small area without fail, and is exceptional at giving speeding tickets and DUIs.
Know which lot you want to be in and how to get there before you go. The Upper North and Upper South lots are easy to get to and provide easy access to the amphitheater, but they are usually not party lots. Conversely, the Lower South lots are always bumping, but can be a damn nightmare in terms of access and walking to the amphitheater.
Don’t be that person holding up the security line: empty your CamelBak, have your pockets free of illegal shit and be polite to the security guards (they're just doing their jobs). Pro tip: observe staff while you’re in line to get a feel for who is doing the quickest pat-downs — jump in that line.
There’s really no awesome option for using the john at Red Rocks; some are just less shitty than others. Use the bathrooms in the Visitor Center at the top for most private stalls and quickest lines. Use the bathrooms at the bottom of either side if you’re too drunk to make it to the top and want piss all over your shoes.
No matter how much you want to see an artist and no matter how much fun you think it would be, DO NOT climb on the fucking rocks! If you don’t fall and die, you might kick a boulder loose and kill someone else. If you don't die, you're probably going to jail.
Just because you’re outside in a giant amphitheater, it doesn’t mean that no one is going to see you light a joint or dip your finger into a baggy. Don’t be a doofus — be discreet and courteous with whatever you’re doing.
The Plaza at the top has the best food and usually the quickest lines. The concession stand in the Visitor Center is by far the quickest and easiest to get your refreshments (and takes cards). The water fountains in the Visitor Center are usually quick and somewhat cold too. Basically, visit the visitors center.
Contrary to popular belief, closer does not equal better. The upper rows offer not only great sound and ample elbow room, but also easier access to the stairs and breathtaking views of the crowd, the stars and the state's skyline. The rows are also meant to be one person deep, not four.
Red Rocks is huge and easy to get lost in. Make sure you communicate with your homies if you split up from them because cell phone service is pretty shitty no matter where you're at. Also make sure to get water or go to the bathroom in shifts, so someone can stay behind and hold down the spot. Unless it’s assigned seating, you’re spot will get taken, and no one gives a shit if you were there before.
Make sure you have a sober driver. Like, for real. Getting out of Red Rocks in the dark is even more challenging than in the daylight. Plus the road that you are diverted to is dark as shit and a little intimidating with so many people using it at the same time.