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Red Rocks Rolls Out New Roof

Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver, Colorado has installed a new roof that can handle five times the production element load of the previous roof.

Red Rocks' New Roof
Red Rocks’ new roof can handle up to 150,000 pounds of production elements.

Morrison, CO (July 27, 2021)—The iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre has a new roof this year, able to support nearly four times as much weight as the previous roof, first built on the site in 1988. Tours and productions coming through the venue will now be able to hang up to 150,000 pounds of evenly distributed loads, versus the previous roof’s comparatively paltry 36,000 lbs.

Inside Red Rocks' Roof
Inside Red Rocks Amphitheatre’s new roof.

Installed by GH Phipps, the new roof includes IA Stage’s SkyDeck tension wire grid, and is expected to provide more protection from the weather and provide a safer structure for riggers, in addition to holding more weight for audio and lighting.

Red Rocks has hosted concerts since 1906
Red Rocks Amphitheatre has hosted concerts and events since 1906.

In order to fit in with the amphitheater’s atmosphere as a whole, the new roof was designed to have an organic shape in an unobtrusive size, and use more “natural” materials, including wood, concrete and weathered copper. A set of gas piston-assisted hinged panels, located upstage right, open like double doors, allowing stagehands to bring equipment up with a chain motor through the roughly 5’ x 8’ opening in the grid.

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While roofs on indoor venues only have to deal with downward forces—for instance, the weight of snow accumulation—the Red Rocks roof’s decking also has to deal with upward forces in the form of wind. Kyle Casinelli, project manager for the roof installation on behalf of GH Phipps, explained, “The new roof will provide a much more safe platform for stagehands and riggers while providing greater access and more space for more lights, camera and sound via a cable-mesh system. It’s almost as if the stagehands will be able to walk on air, while the new roof greatly enhances an already incredible entertainment experience.”

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, circa 1941
A vintage postcard of Red Rocks Amphitheatre, before further staging was added.

Located inside a naturally formed amphitheater, the site began hosting concerts in 1906 on a temporary stage. When the City of Denver purchased the land in 1927, it began planning a more permanent venue, which was built over the course of five years, eventually opening to the public in 1941.