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Ultimate survival guide to Furthur at Red Rocks

Bob Weir of Furthur, seen here during the band's Red Rocks run last September.
Bob Weir of Furthur, seen here during the band's Red Rocks run last September.
Eric Gruneisen

Tonight at Red Rocks, Furthur kicks off its highly anticipated four-night run. The band just announced a touring hiatus after its Mexico run in January, so you definitely won't want to miss these shows. Like the Dead, Furthur attracts followers that are unfailingly devout, all of whom you can meet and greet on Shakedown Street. If you fall into that category, no primer is needed, obviously. If not, here's everything you need to know to make the most of your experience.

Ultimate survival guide to Furthur at Red Rocks

Parking, Shakedown Street and transportation:

Parking is free at Red Rocks, and people usually begin congregating in the lots around 3 p.m. If you're looking for tickets, the earlier the better. We've always had more success just walking around the lot with a finger in the air than standing at the bottom of the main stairs like many do.

South lot is where you'll find Shakedown, the wild hippie bazaar of food, glass, clothing and you name it. Since this is Colorado, there will be people walking around with buds in their palm for sale, as well as lots of handmade jewelry, felafel and tiny hats. Parking is best in the upper North Lot. You can get down to south lot pretty easily, and while it's a steep downhill walk, it's far less congested to get out after the show.

The best way to travel is a party bus or limo, and there are a ton of them in business now. Uber app is also a great option -- although they could use some more drivers here in comparison to how they are in other cities. If you drive and find yourself not a sober as you expected after the show, there's also a line of taxi cabs waiting by the Trading Post, but you better jet out of there the second encore is over.

Continue for map, a list of permitted and prohibited items and more

Ultimate survival guide to Furthur at Red Rocks
redrocksonline.com

Permitted Items (via redrocksonline.com):

• Non-alcoholic beverages in factory sealed and labeled plastic containers

• Coolers 12" x 17" and smaller (must fit under designated seat)

• Cloth bags, soft packs, pillows, back rests, rain coats or ponchos

• Food (fruit or vegetables must be sliced)

• Binoculars

• Seat cushions or soft-sided stadium seats

• Umbrellas (as small as possible and without points) -- ponchos are much preferred!

• Strollers (folding umbrella style ONLY)

Note: All items you bring must be able to fit underneath your seat!

Prohibited Items:

• Unsealed plastic containers (i.e., water bottles), Thermoses, bota bags or wine skins

• Alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs

• Glass bottles or aluminum cans

• Laser pointers (will be confiscated & patron is subject to ejection)

• Coolers larger than 12" x 17" x 12"

• Bags or soft packs larger than 12" x 16" x 12"

• Recording devices (audio, video or pro cameras with removable lens)

• Weapons or items construed as weapons (e.g., guns, knives, sticks, fireworks)

• Bullhorns or noise makers

• Framed backpacks

• Confetti

• Tarps*

• Animals (except guide dogs)

• Skateboards or inline skates

• Personal property that is a potential hazard to others (e.g., chains, wallet chains or jewelry with spiked edges)

* Interesting side note: In the past, tarps were an issue in general admission. Red Rocks allows you to bring a blanket or something to sit on, as those seats are hard rock, but some people took advantage of this and started bringing tarps. The tarps got bigger and bigger, not only going lengthwise down the rows, but widthwise, as well, taking up several levels of stairs, culminating into the Running of the Tarps at Widespread Panic, 2011. The YouTube clip above must be seen; it speaks for itself as to why Red Rocks now bans tarps. This year at Panic, it was a sea of blankets, and there were no fights or issues. Truly a ridiculous but hilarious moment in jam band lore.

Continue on for more miscellaneous helpful hints

Ultimate survival guide to Furthur at Red Rocks
Eric Gruneisen

OTHER THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Refuel during set break so you can dance, dance, dance:

Set break is usually a pretty good length, sometimes close to 45 minutes, as the venue is huge, and it takes people forever to get up and down the stairs, especially if you aren't used to the altitude. I keep an inhaler in my bag, and drink a lot of water. Red Rocks also allows you to bring in food and sealed drinks, so if you are really living it up, pack a cooler of snacks and have a set break feast. Grapes and cheese cubes always go big, as do Skittles. The fruit and vegetables have to be sliced, and the cooler no larger than 12"x17". Furthur play two sets, so taking a snack break here is a good idea because you've got a long night still ahead of you.

Other miscellaneous helpful hints:

Doors are at 6, and the band goes on at 7:30 p.m. There is no opener, so you'll want to get in there as close to show time as possible. Also, important to note: Red Rocks is not as free for all in terms of seating. So before you head in, you'll want to make sure you know what type of tickets you have, general admission or reserved.

The last thing you'll want is to be asked to move when the ticket holders come, especially if the show has already started. At a sold out show, there is often nowhere to go but the stairs. The very top always has room if you get left stranded, but it's better to stake out a good spot in the right section right when you get there.

While weed is legal here; smoking it in public is not. Even so, you can expect pot smoking to be prevalent, particularly at a Furthur show. If the smoke bothers you, stick to the upper rows of stairs; the breeze is great up there and blows all the smoke away (and sometimes some of the sound, too, but that view!)

Crowded shows tend to make people go two deep in the rows, if it starts to get crowded in your space, just dance with the shorter people in the front. It always goes back to normal after a few minutes once people realize that, no, they can't fit there.