Top 10 Places to Enjoy Outdoor Summer Music

Summer is in full swing, which only means one thing: If you haven’t already, you should probably plan on attending some music festivals.

Every year, venues around the world host some of the top acts in the music industry.

But not all venues are created equal.

Listening to some tunes while enjoying the warm weather and some ice-cold beer in a plastic cup alongside thousands of rambunctious strangers may be considered a memorable experience, but a truly priceless encounter involves quality music performed in a dazzling setting. Even if there is no beer, which is highly unlikely, it wouldn’t matter — you wouldn’t need it.

For example, on the other side of the universe in Rättvik, Sweden, well, it’s not exactly the other side of the universe, but for folks here in Orange County, imagining what it would be like to attend a Sigur Rós concert at a limestone quarry in Sweden sounds pretty out-of-this-world to me.

The festival experience is and always will be about something much more than just the music.

These moments are a chance for people to come together, to bond in a collective celebration of high spirits and of adventure and camaraderie. Despite this excitement often being fueled by intoxicating levels of alcohol and various illegal substances, in this digital world, where everything can literally be copied a million times over, the humanity present at outdoor festivals is what makes things interesting and unique.

Live music is becoming more important for artists and audiences, as it’s pretty much the last place where there is a genuine connection between the two.

Ranging from romantic to regal, here are 10 places where the music (and the atmosphere) will take you away this summer.

#1. Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Greece
The Herodeon, as it is often called, was built between 160 and 174 AD. Today, the Roman-style theater hosts the annual Athens Festival, which showcases arts and entertainment, including acts like Diana Krall, Andrea Boccelli, and Elton John. This place is magical.

#2. Red Rocks, Colorado
Summertime in Colorado is all about the outdoors. This 9,450-seat  venue’s natural acoustics, beautiful surrounding landscape and unbelievable sky vistas intermingle to create an astounding atmosphere that’s sure to envelop any concert goer. Headliners this summer (to name a few) include: Ellie Goulding, Brantley Gilbert, One Republic, The Avett Brothers, and Jack Johnson.

#3. The Gorge Amphitheater, Washington
The sweeping vistas of the Columbia River canyon and Cascade Mountains give The Gorge Amphitheater the best lawn seats you’ll ever find. The Gorge has hosted everyone from David Bowie to the Dave Matthews Band and been the site of numerous festivals, including Lollapalooza. In May and July, this outdoor venue will host the Sasquatch! Festival, and throughout the summer, acts such as Arcade Fire, Bruno Mars and Dave Mathews Band will also take the stage.

#4. Théâtre Antique d’Orange, France
Prepare to be captivated by the acoustics and the setting just as the ancients were. Théâtre Antique is a UNESCO World Heritage site that features an international music line-up. Not only is the sound quality amazing, the audience gets the opportunity to revel in architecture that dates back thousands of years.

#5. Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, California
Even sitting on the lawn at the Hollywood Bowl you are able to be immersed in the music. Built underneath the Hollywood hills in the early 20th century, The Hollywood Bowl is one of the premiere entertainment venues in Los Angeles, and the world. 

#6. Slane Castle, Ireland
Thirty minutes north of Dublin lies Slane Castle, a 1,500 acre estate. Ever since Thin Lizzy kicked off the tradition in 1981, this has been the prime location for rock and roll in the summer, where crowds of 100,000 people gather to take part in a one-of-a-kind experience. Everyone from Kings of Leon, U2 and the Rolling Stones have performed here.

#7. Jones Beach Theater, New York
Part of the Jones Beach Park, this theater is a landmark for the greater New York area and Long Island. With picturesque views and seating for 15,000, this summer you can expect Jones Beach to entertain you with the likes of Journey, Goo Goo Dolls, James Taylor, Lady Antebellum, and Linkin Park.

#8. Dalhalla, Rättvik, Sweden
Have you ever watched a concert from inside a limestone quarry? Neither have we, but we definitely want to! This natural stage, created by a meteorite, descends into the great abyss, allowing audiences to experience the ultimate surround sound.

#9. Sarawak Cultural Village, Borneo, Malaysia
In June, you can explore the tribes and cultures of Malaysia, as well as music from all parts of the world, including Korea, Colombia, and Australia, deep in the heart of Borneo’s rainforests, at the annual Rainforest World Music Festival.

#10. Ushuaia Beach Hotel, Ibiza, Spain
Hot Mediterranean sun, endless summer nights, and the best DJs in the world? We’re so there. Ibiza is a renowned party hot spot, where scantily clad tourists and locals mingle in the midst of breathtaking sunsets, luxurious yachts and turquoise blue waters. This is one place where you will want to party until the sun comes up. Then, simply make your way down to the beach to daydream about your unforgettable night.