Red Rocks ramps up for busy summer

Our Colorado: Iconic venue balances crowds, quiet

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MORRISON, Colo. — You could call this week the unofficial kick off to summer at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in Morrison. 

Film on the Rocks begins Tuesday night.

Starting Wednesday, graduations begin for thousands of area high school students. And there will be a concert almost every night between now and the end of summer. But plenty of people still come out to Red Rocks to enjoy the quiet peacefulness.

"When you come out here, and nobody is here, you get to have your own spot in Colorado. These days I think that’s pretty rare," said Emily Stucky, a regular visitor to the park.

Stucky and her friends like to run the stairs at Red Rocks on weekday mornings. They share the amphitheater with just a couple dozen people, instead of the 9,500 that fill the seats during a concert. 

Venue officials say part of the reason behind the packed schedule is the evolution of the music industry.

"Five years ago we were doing 78 shows a year," said Brian Kitts, a spokesperson for Red Rocks. "But the touring industry has changed now. So, musicians don’t make money from record sales or downloads; they only make money when they hit the road."

This year, there will be around 150 concerts for 1.5 million fans at Red Rocks.

"We plan on serving about 50,000 pizzas this year, and we’re going to probably make enough smoked pork green chile to fill a couple of hot tubs," said Craig Luckmann, general manager for food and beverage at the venue.

Planning for the summer season began in November when vendors and sponsors were contracted.

Red Rocks hires over 100 additional workers for the summer season. And every night, a crew of about 25 people picks up trash to be sorted and recycled.

"You wouldn’t know it from day to day that there were 9,000 people here for a concert last night," said Luckmann.

Those who visit Red Rocks early in the morning appreciate the effort.

"I think we’re pretty lucky to be able to do this," said Stucky. "It's super beautiful, and you get to wake up in the morning and get your day started right."

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