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Red Rocks
For most concertgoers, heading to a local venue is a chore accomplished for one reason: to see a band or artist. The venue itself almost never plays a role in one’s decision to purchase a ticket, but as travelers, we know that the occasional venue speaks just as loudly as the act that’s filling it. For music lovers, there are a handful of venues that are routinely placed on a higher pedestal, and for good reason, whether for their acoustics, scenery, or sheer ability to attract concert-goers to such remote locations as: 

Morrison, Colorado: Located 10 miles west of Denver, Red Rocks Amphitheater is an open-air venue within a state park. Chew on that for a minute, why don’t you? The amphitheater is situated in the midst of gorgeous rock formations, which serve dual purposes. First, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more stunning outdoor setting to hear live music in. Second, the acoustics are legendary, and many acts (U2 and Dave Matthews Band included) have chosen to record live albums here because of precisely that. The venue holds under 10,000 people, making it one of the smallest big-act venues on the planet. If you’re looking for that level of intimacy, you’ll need to wait until some of the snow clears. Jurassic 5 will be visiting early next year, and the concert season will really heat up in the spring. Tickets generally range from $30 to $200.

Quincy, Washington: Located roughly halfway between Spokane and Seattle, Gorge Amphitheatre has hosted the likes of Pearl Jam and Brooks & Dunn, while also playing host to countless music festivals. Pollstar Magazine has named this place ‘Best Outdoor Music Venue’ nine times, and it’s widely regarded as one of the most scenic music venues in the known universe. The reason? It offers unending views of the Columbia River and the mountains that surround it, and it’s located in such a remote pocket of the state that there’s essentially nothing but nature for as far as the eye can see. Similar to Red Rocks, Gorge all but shuts down in the winter, but come spring and summer, you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $500 for a seat. It’s worth planning in advance, too, since proactive visitors can secure an overnight camping permit.


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Slane, Ireland: There’s hardly anything more bedazzling than viewing a huge act performing at a castle that was erected in 1701. To be fair, Slane Castle wasn’t used to host rock concerts until 1981, but it has served quite a number of acts in the decades since.  Queen, David Bowie, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Oasis have all performed here, with a number of those recording live DVDs of their show. As many as 80,000 concertgoers can crowd the surrounding amphitheater, and while you’ve unfortunately missed the Bon Jovi and Eminem shows that occurred a few months ago, the 2014 concert schedule is being assembled as we speak. Aside from airfare to Ireland, you’ll need to budget between $50 and $300 for a ticket, with some of the best seats costing many times that.


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Have you been to an otherworldly concert venue that was worth visiting regardless of who was playing? Let us know in the comments section!

[Photo: Red Rocks Amphitheater/Facebook]

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