For music fans and musicians alike, Red Rocks Amphitheatre is something of a Mecca. The astounding venue has hosted countless concerts over its lengthy history in Morrison, CO, starting with its official declaration on this day in 1941.
Red Rocks’ history goes back to the early 1900s, when concert producer John Brisben Walker had a vision of placing a stage in the middle of the perfect rock formation. The first shows there date back to this time, when Walker put on concerts from a makeshift platform as early as 1906. However, the venue as we know it would not be born for 35 more years.
In 1927, George Cranmer (Manager of Denver Parks) convinced Denver to purchase the land from Walker and build up his dream venue. It was architect Burnham Hoyt who designed the venue with natural beauty in mind. The plans were completed in 1936, and the Amphitheatre was officially dedicated on June 15th, 1941—exactly 79 years ago today.
The two main rock formations, “Ship Rock” and “Creation Rock,” are each taller than Niagara Falls—the venue itself was once listed in the Seven Wonders of the World, and was declared as a national landmark a few years back. There have even been fossils found within the Red Rocks park confines!
While it would be a full six more years before the venue hosted its first performance, an Easter Sunrise Service, Red Rocks Amphitheatre has loomed large in the hearts of music fans everywhere. The list of artists that have performed at Red Rocks is unfathomable, with shows from Grateful Dead, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Phish, Widespread Panic, Pearl Jam The String Cheese Incident, U2, Stevie Nicks, Dave Matthews Band, Lettuce, and so, so, so many more.
Thank you, Red Rocks, for doing what you do best!
Check out a gallery of classic images of the iconic venue in the post below:
[Originally published 7/15/16]