Lighting the Rocks in Rock-and-Roll

A concert venue just outside Denver now has a lighting system worthy of the acts that have graced its stage. Red Rocks Amphitheatre has hosted everyone from The Beatles and the Rolling Stones to U2 and James Taylor. Nestled in the tiny town of Morrison, where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, two giant rocks jut out from the earth creating an open-air performance venue. These monoliths not only create the sound stage, but also provide the background for the lighting effects.

In 2019, Barbizon Light of the Rockies installed nearly 80 LED luminaires from ETC that replaced the large 400-W mercury-vapor lights that lit the historic rocks and eight outdoor PAR 64s that lit the audience. Key to the selection was the smaller size of the fixtures that offer better control and coverage of the rocks without visually interrupting the view. ETC’s Mosaic control system allows visiting artists to control the lights on the rocks, while only Red Rocks staff and stage hands can control the house lights.