What to Wear to A Show at Red Rocks

Attention all out of state people visiting Red Rocks for the first or second times: you need to be prepared for the elements. The venue is open air seating, and if you’re not prepared, could ruin your experience. Red Rocks is so magical, but you’ll have to plan ahead and pay close attention to the weather. This is not your average Coachella or music festival where you wear the cutest shit and feel good in it the whole time.

  1. Very first of all, LOOK ME IN MY EYEBALLS: you need comfortable shoes for Red Rocks. Not your Docs that are slightly uncomfortable at the toes; not your cute ass sandals to show off your pedicure; not your butchy boots that lost traction long ago. Y’all this is not Coachella. Getting to the venue is a damn hike. I live here and have to take breaks getting up to the top. It’s a steep incline from most of the lots, so please please wear something you’re comfortable hiking in. Not “hiking” like walking around your nearest lake that has some elevation changes. We’re talking completely uphill. I went there a couple weeks ago, and I saw so many people absolutely miserable in their stylish 90s sandals. That was me the first three times I went — it was not fun. Keep in mind also, the venue sits on a high elevation, so be aware you might feel light headed at first. You’re getting oxygen, you’ll be okay, it just might not feel like that.

    Furthermore, once you enter the park, you have to climb the stairs to your seats. If you need restrooms, food, merch, you have to trek down the steps and back up to your seat. I don’t see many people with disabilities there. There’s a section that’s wheelchair accessible, but it doesn’t feel very accommodating in that way.

  2. Y’all, Colorado is cold, especially at night, even in the summer. Every time my friends from back home visit, they get a rude awakening because they’ll wear shorts to an outdoor venue at night. Even if you don’t think you’ll be cold, bring a jacket/coat. Do layers. For this last show, in May mind you, I wore three layers, a white fitted shirt, my trusty plaid shacket, and a winter coat with a beanie. My outermost layer was also water resistant. Rain was in the forecast, and it rained for half of the show. The patrons and I retreated into our coat hoods for a reprieve from the weather. If I was really smart, I would have brought a plastic poncho. May guests wore those or garbage bags with holes ripped out for their head and limbs. NOTE: Umbrellas are not allowed in the park. Your best bet is a plastic poncho if there’s any rain in the forecast whatsoever. If you watch the weather very closely and bring the appropriate accoutrements, Red Rocks shows in the rain are magical. Transcendent, even.

  3. I am writing this in the midst of the fanny pack comeback (who would have seen that coming, huh, millennials?), so I highly recommend one. Most people at the last show had them, including me, though I wore it around my waist which I observed is not the current style — hah! It’s worn around your chest, but mine is a child’s size, so I had no confidence I could pull it off. Elder millennial in the house. Another reason the fanny pack is a great option here: Red Rocks won’t allow in bags with more than two compartments so they don’t have to screen so many of them. Mine has two zippers, and I was fine. Also, if you wanted to hide paraphernalia, a fanny pack is key. Or if you have breasts, you can hide your stuff under there — it works every time! Said a friend who told me. I adhere to the law 🙂 Malcolm and I once went to a 420 show at Red Rocks and a plume of haze drifted over us the entire time. They’re not very strict if you aren’t an asshole about it.

  4. If you have fairer skin, consider sunscreen as well. The sun sets right behind the stage, which is gorgeous, but can get intense, especially if you’re used to the sun at a lower elevation.

  5. For this reason, I also recommend sunnies. They time it just right for the sun to set behind the headlining act.

  6. I need some sort of chapstick also. My lips always dry out, especially when I get a beer there.

  7. You may bring a water bottle but with some restrictions: you must bring non-alcoholic beverages in factory sealed plastic containers weighing 32 ounces or less; some shows may require you to remove your lids.

  8. I also bring a makeup setting spray so I can spritz and refresh. With all the climbing, dancing, etc, I get pretty sweaty. In the past, I’ve come home with my makeup melting off my face. I do not enjoy that look, so I bring this. Not necessary, but something to consider if you like wearing make up to shows.

I know I make it sound intense, but the intensity of the venue takes me by surprise every now and then. If you prepare thoughtfully, you’ll have a marvelous time. And I recommend a show at Red Rocks to every human being — it’s like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

What other tips/questions do y’all have?


P.S. Someone told me I look like the protagonist in a PG-13 movie with this outfit. Eat your heart out, Kelly Kapowski.


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