Red Rocks' Summer Lineup is Finally Worth Seeing

June 19 2012, 12:32 PM

Red Rocks is back—finally

After primarily populating its lineup for the past few summers with creaky classic rock acts and jam bands, Colorado’s finest outdoor music venue has a truly eclectic mix of shows this year.

Yes, there still are plenty of classic rock and jam bands on the slate—Red Rocks wouldn’t be Red Rocks without acts like Chicago and the Doobie Brothers (Tuesday, 7/17), the Beach Boys (Monday, 7/9), String Cheese Incident (three shows starting on Thursday, 7/5) and Grateful Dead castoffs Furthur (three shows starting on Friday, 9/21).

But to these old standbys, Red Rocks has added timely and diverse acts such as Wilco (this Friday and Saturday), Foster the People (Tuesday, 7/3), O.A.R. (Sunday, 7/15), Florence & the Machine (Wednesday, 7/25), My Morning Jacket with Band of Horses and Trombone Shorty (Friday and Saturday, 8/3-4), Passion Pit (Tuesday 8/7), Jack White (Wednesday, 8/8), 311 and Slightly Stoopid (Sunday, 8/19), GOTYE (Wednesday, 8/22), Wiz Khalifa (Saturday, 9/1), and Train (Wednesday, 9/19).

What’s more, over the past few seasons the one area where the venue has really gotten younger is with its lineup of dance music, an ideal way to take advantage of Red Rocks’ naturally trance-inducing scenery. (Although Red Rocks concertgoers have proven to be quite adept at inducing their own personal trances no matter who’s playing.) Among the DJ/techno/electronica artists appearing this summer are Avicii (Tuesday, 6/26), Kaskade (Wednesday, 8/1), Skrillex (Thursday, 8/9), Pretty Lights (Friday-Saturday, 8/17-18), and Lotus and EOTO (Saturday, 9/8). And don’t forget the Global Dance Festival (three shows starting on Friday, 7/20).

The truth is, no matter who you’re seeing, Red Rocks’ forces of nature make it a must-do for anyone at least once per summer. There’s no such thing as a bad show there, because the place is just so inspiring that the acts can’t help but enjoy themselves. So pick your poison—sorry, no Poison this year—and head on out.

BONUS: To whet your appetite for eclectic music in festival settings, our friends at Westword are putting on their annual Westword Music Showcase, a one-day event this Saturday at venues throughout the Golden Triangle. It’s cheap ($25 for the whole shebang) and diverse.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.