Each year, first-timers descend on Red Rocks Amphitheatre, unleashing chaos and humiliating themselves. Never fear, newbies. We’re here for you. To help you avoid an uncomfortable encounter with a seasoned show-goer, here’s a list of basic Red Rocks rules. Help us help you, people. Help us help you.
Chickity-Check Your Consumption Game
It’s completely acceptable to start pre-gaming before your favorite musician takes the stage, but it is not okay to pre-game so dumb hard that when you finally get your drunk ass to your seats, you immediately fall into the people standing in front of you. And if you consume too much booze or weed (or, worse yet, mix the two), trust us…you will collapse.
And the slow-stumble vertigo-fall has happened to all of us, so we understand. But please refrain from consuming too many substances too quickly. You will hurt yourself or others, and because of those treacherous stairs and our insane altitude, Red Rocks can make the soberest among us feel a bit wonky. So drink some damn water. Here’s an easy equation: 1+1. One beer? One water. One shot? One water. 1+1. Easy. Write it down.
Your Blanket Doesn’t Mean You Own the Row
Recently, at a Widespread Panic show, we witnessed a verbal scuffle. Nothing that your typical honky-tonk Georgia show doesn’t see, but Widespread is a feel-good jam band, so the tussle was striking. And it was over a blanket.
That’s right. A blanket.
Some dude had been there since 10 a.m. and refused to let fellow concert-goers stand on or even near his dirty college-dorm blanket. So let’s clear up the blanket rules: The blanket saves your seat — the weathered, wooden, bench seat, not the entire space in front of your seat, and definitely not twenty feet on either side. You get one seat per person. It doesn’t matter how early your out-of-work ass gets there. It's one seat per person.
We Are Gonna Spill Your Beer
If you set your beer down on the seats, people are going to kick it when they walk by. It’s inevitable. So if you care about your booze intake (and we do), hold on to your drink. Because if you don’t? When innocent people roll by and kick your overpriced margarita to its death, it will make you sad, and make all of your things smell like tequila. And nobody wants that. Especially on a Monday morning.
This Is Not a Buffet
There is a difference between Film on the Rocks and an actual concert. We appreciate the need to not spend $18 on a quesadilla (they’re good, though, right?!?), but there’s a time and place for eating, and it’s before the show in the parking lot or before the sweet, sweet jams start. Please don’t bring a cheese plate and expect us not to step in it or steal the cheese. Because we have a thing for stolen cheese.
All of us have that one friend who rocks out hard, arms flailing, jumping up and down and shaking that booty. No judgment here, but it’s crucial to give your neighbors a heads-up. And because we care about your concert-going experience, we have the perfect warning statement: “Hey, my homeboy flails around like a ’90s boy band, sooooo…just be warned.” Easy. Nobody cares if you’re rocking out unless you smack him or her in the head.
Read on for more tips for Red Rocks virgins.
Make a Note of Your Row
We know this one is hard to remember, so stick on some glow-in-the-dark headbands and text yourself the row number. This simple task seems needless when you’re completely sober and still know where your wallet is, but trust us, when you’re wandering around a random row, you’ll thank us. Nobody is going to help your doe-eyed self find your posse.
It never fails: Some Red Rocks virgin starts yelling at the aisle beer vendor to take his credit card. And the worst part? He's already popped open the beer and has become the horrible human who can’t pay. We’re waiting behind him. PAY! Aisle vendors don’t take cards; they take cash. And more often than not, the systems go down, so if you don’t have cash, no hooch for you. Luckily, there are ATMs everywhere, so please, please, be cash-ready.
Come Prepared for Weather
Some of us don't care if our hair gets wet or you can see through our white dresses during the torrential (and common) Red Rocks downpour, but it gets cold. Sometimes really cold – especially after the sun goes down. So pack an extra layer. Better yet, here’s a pro tip: Bring a couple of trash bags. Tear some holes and voilà: a ready-made poncho. We prefer the scented kind so we’re Febreeze-fresh after the rain.
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Be Ready for Altitude Nonsense
Even if you’re not boogying down with substances, the altitude will affect you. It can cause nausea, vertigo, headaches, dehydration, vomiting and even delusions, which might sound fun, but really, they aren’t. So be aware of how you’re feeling, and don’t let the heights get you down.
Don’t Wear Heels…Ever
Even if an Uber drops you off, you’re going to have to walk. A lot. So for the love of your feet, wear flats. If you don’t? You will fall. And we’re all gonna laugh at you, because newbies are funny.