Warmer weather is making its way across the states in time to bust out the band tees and festival-wear and head to the country’s most legendary summer concerts and festivals. Here are ten of our favorite outdoor amphitheaters across the states that have fans flocking to see the celebrated venues almost as much as the performers, themselves.
10. Starlight Theatre (Missouri)
The Starlight Theatre is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and is one of only two outdoor venues in the country that remains self-producing. It’s 7,958 visitors walk through the iconic arches to watch the biggest national Broadway shows each year.
The Starlight Theatre is almost as historic and revered as the shows and performers that have graced the stage. Since opening its gates in 1950, it has become one of the most visited outdoor venues in the Midwest. Among the many stars, Jerry Lewis has been a long-standing admirer and advocate for the Starlight.Visit The Starlight Theatre Website
9. Central Park (New York)
Central Park in New York City is a worldwide attraction and was the host to some of the biggest moments in music and political history. With free concerts, large and small, throughout the spring and summer, there’s always music to be heard within the city’s most famous park.
Central Park holds a special place in our hearts. In the summer of 1981, in front of more than 500,000 screaming fans in the middle of Central Park, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel reunited to perform a benefit concert that would go down in the history books for the music industry and for Mountain Productions. This concert would be the catalyst set to establish Mountain Productions as an industry giant with a small-town charm.Visit Central Park’s Website
8. The Greek Theatre (California)
Located on the UC Berkeley campus, the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre boasts a spectacular backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco skyline, and the bay area. Built in 1903, it remains one of the premier locations for the best of live music and performance.
It’s no oddity that the Hearst Greek Theatre is listed as a National Historic site. The 8,500 seat amphitheater’s views and prime location have made it a favorite among artists like Bob Dylan, Phish, and countless others. Some famous visitors include Theodore Roosevelt and the Dalai Lama.Visit The Greek Theatre’s Website
7. Randall’s Island (New York)
Randall’s Island is another East Coast favorite in the heart of New York City’s East River and serves as the temporary home to some of the nation’s most notorious music festivals.
Hosting major events on Randall’s Island, like Lollapalooza, Electric Zoo, and Governor’s Ball, means a natural, spacious venue with a great view of the New York City skyline. Mountain Productions has worked on a number of these festivals and is proud to have been able to transform this amazing space into a whole new world in the heart of NYC.Fun Fact: Randall’s Island is also the home to more than 60 athletic fields and has more than half of all the athletic fields in Manhattan. Visit Randall’s Island’s Website
6. Hollywood Bowl (California)
The Hollywood Bowl is an American landmark. This venue is set within the hills of Hollywood, allowing fans to see the famous Hollywood sign just north. Officially opening in 1922, the Bowl has had little trouble filling its 17,500 seats.
You can be sure that the world’s greatest musicians have either been lucky enough to perform here or would have loved the chance. The likes of Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti have performed at the Hollywood Bowl. Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, and Ella Fitzgerald brought jazz. The Beatles, The Doors, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, and The Who made Hollywood Bowl debuts. With its picturesque views, it’s no wonder why the world’s greatest musicians chose the hills of Hollywood and its iconic amphitheater.
Our very own Director of West Coast Operations, Simon Franklyn, was a key member of the team that designed and installed the state-of-the-art 40,000 lb acoustic canopy at the Hollywood Bowl. Franklyn supervised all aspects of the project and invented and designed the primary connections that attach the oval canopy to the Bowl Shell.Fun Fact: The Hollywood Bowl is used for a number of unexpected things in its off-season, including limo parking for the Oscars and as a base for the National Guard during the 1992 LA riots. Visit Hollywood Bowl’s Website
5. Jay Pritzker Pavilion (Illinois)
While most of the outdoor venues that made our list are secluded, the magic of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion comes from its unbeatable view of the Chicago skyline and the unique architecture that brings the venue together.
Constructed within Chicago’s Grant Park in 2004, this stunning bandshell is classified as a work of art and is revered for its exposed beams and unique design. It is host to the nation’s only free outdoor classical music series throughout the summer months and has brought in acts ranging from Tori Amos to Death Cab for Cutie.Fun Fact: Millenium Park, the home of Pritzker Pavilion, is built on top of an underground parking garage. Visit Jay Pritzker Pavilion Website
4. Double JJ Resort (Michigan)
Nestled within the wooded sanctuary of Rothbury, Michigan, Double JJ Resort isn’t exactly known for its number of performances but, as the host of Electric Forest, this venue has impressed thousands with its tall pine trees and energetic music.
Double JJ Resort is a secluded area sanctioned off from the rest of the world and offers one of the most immersive, intimate environments among music festivals. This location is near and dear to the Mountain Productions team who is responsible for bringing in the temporary stages and structures that complement the magic of the surrounding forest.[Click here to read more about the 2016 Electric Forest festival and our involvement] Visit Double JJ Resort’s Website
3. Jones Beach (New York)
The theater at Jones Beach is just as beloved to the rest of the country as it is to the tri-state region. Known most recently as Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, the famous venue will be kicking off this summer under the new name of Northwell Health at Jones Beach. Its unrivaled location boasts a stage within the bay and plenty of seating on the waterfront for music’s biggest acts.
You can’t help but to love life as waves are crashing along the sides of the water-surrounded stage and the sun is setting on your favorite performers. Originally starting out as a premiere waterfront venue for musicals, fans flock to Jones Beach these days for the likes of Jimmy Buffett or Aerosmith.Fun Fact: Until 1991, fans at Jones Beach were separated from the stage by a moat. For some shows, the orchestra floated through this moat throughout the performance. Visit Jones Beach Website
2. The Gorge (Washington)
The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington, brings in some of the largest crowds from across the country and around the globe. With pristine views overlooking the Columbia River and the canyons beyond, the world-famous Gorge seats 27,500 people and was listed as Pollstar’s ‘Best Outdoor Music Venue’ nine times.
If you’re a Dave Matthews or Pearl Jam fan, you’ve either already been to The Gorge or your counting down the days to your trip to Washington. Its iconic status is unmatched by almost any other venue in the world, and we’re extremely proud to have built The Gorge’s permanent stage system that offers some of the most breathtaking sightlines in the country.Fun Fact: The Gorge was originally intended to be used as land to grow wine grapes on and is adjoined by the Champs de Brionne Winery. Visit The Gorge Amphitheatre Website
1. Red Rock Amphitheatre (Colorado)
The atmosphere doesn’t get much better than at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. Nestled in the canyons of Denver, this naturally-formed, open-air amphitheater boasts perfect acoustics and shows from entertainment’s most sought-after artists.
Everyone from The Beatles and The Grateful Dead to U2 and Blues Traveler have performed at and praised the venue for its breathtaking environment and it remains as a necessary stop for touring jam bands and rock stars alike. After receiving Pollstar’s award for best small outdoor venue 11 times, the magazine decided to pull them from the running and rename the honor the “Red Rocks Award” instead.Fun Fact: The Red Rocks Amphitheater banned rock concerts for five years in 1971 after about 1,000 people showed up to a Jethro Tull show without tickets and caused a riot. Visit Red Rocks Amphitheatre Website
While these are ten of the most spectacular venues throughout the United States, Mountain Productions is ready to help you turn any location into an outdoor performance space that is worthy of a spot on this list.