Travel Picks: Top 10 places to enjoy outdoor summer music

Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:53am EDT

LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) - Now that summer is in full swing
in the Northern Hemisphere, the lingering daylight and sultry
evenings are prime-time for outdoor concerts. In an effort to
get you swaying in the breeze, online travel advisers
Cheapflights.com (www.cheapflights.com) has put together this
list of the Top 10 places to enjoy outdoor summer music. Reuters
has not endorsed this list:
1.  Red Rocks, Morrison, Colorado, United States
    More than a mile high and forged by over 160 million years
of shifting sands and sandstone, Red Rocks is an amphitheater
like no other. The natural acoustics, surrounding landscape and
big sky vistas combine to make an amazing concert setting. And,
if the star power coming from the sky isn't enough of a draw,
the glittering stage line-up will lure you. Imagine shows from
Sting, Darius Rucker, Big Head Todd, Widespread Panic, Robert
Plant, the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, BB King and Peter
Frampton and George Thorogood in an intimate setting (fewer than
10,000 people and seats as close as 10 feet from the stage).
That's just a sampling of what's on tap at Red Rocks in 2013.
2.  Slane Castle, County Meath, Ireland
    Along the shores of the River Boyne, 30 minutes north of
Dublin, lies Slane Castle, the ancestral home of the Conyngham
family. For over 300 years, that family has called the castle
home, but for the last 30 plus years, so has rock and roll.
Starting with Thin Lizzy in 1981, concerts in a natural
amphitheater in the shadow of the castle have been a summer
tradition at Slane. Now crowds of 80,000 people flock to the
1,500 acre estate for majestic shows from classic bands like the
Rolling Stones (2007) to more modern favorites like Oasis (2009)
and Kings of Leon (2011). This summer Bon Jovi will grace the
grounds, giving audiences a mix of classic rock and regal
living. U2 is best able to attest to life at the castle, having
performed there three times and even lived and recorded there.
3.  Théâtre Antique d'Orange, Orange, France
    This classic Roman amphitheater showcases the setting and
acoustics of the ancients. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Théâtre
Antique features an incredibly preserved stage wall that bore
witness to the shows of Roman times. Now the 100 meter (328
foot) long, 37 meter (120 foot) high wall serves as the backdrop
to an annual opera festival, the Chorégies d'Orange, and a
diverse and international music line-up ranging from The Cure in
1986 to DJ Laurent Wolf's 2009 "Wash My World Festival" to
upcoming shows by Chinese pianist Lang Lang and Italian opera
duo Patrizia Ciofi and Leo Nucci. Audiences enjoy the excellent
sound quality projected from the wall and marvel over the statue
of Apollo at center stage and the columns and complex array of
theater entrances and structures that date back thousands of
years.
4.  The Gorge Amphitheater, George, Washington, United States
    The Columbia River canyon, the Cascade Mountains and The
Who. That's what you get as a show sitting on the lawn at The
Gorge Amphitheater. The simple stage and hillside seating make
it clear the scenery, a sweeping vista down the Columbia River
with a backdrop of the Cascade Mountains, and the music are the
draws. The Who is just one of many big names to perform backed
up by the gorgeous view. The Gorge has hosted everyone from
David Bowie to the Dave Matthews Band and been the site of
numerous festivals, including Lilith Fair and Lollapalooza. Look
for John Mayer, Phish and Black Sabbath, among others, this
summer.
5.  Dalhalla, Rättvik, Sweden
    It seems fitting that Earth, Wind and Fire is one of the
acts coming to Dalhalla this summer. This limestone quarry
turned music venue is another great example of the elements
delivering a natural stage. Thanks to a meteorite strike that
left the region rich in limestone and 50 years of excavation, a
perfectly shaped acoustic bowl emerged. Now crowds descend into
the 55 meter (180 foot) deep, 400 meter (,1300 foot) long hole
for the ultimate in surround sound experiences. The dramatic
layers of rock that rise above just add to the visual effect.
Look for Toto, Sting and Patti Smith to add their music to the
mix this summer as well.
6.  Kootenay Lake, Kaslo, British Columbia, Canada
    Here's a venue you won't find every day. In fact, it only
exists for a three-day music festival held each August. The
stage for the Kaslo Jazz Festival floats just off the beach on a
serene lakefront, with deep blue water, bobbing boats and even
some distant hilltops as a backdrop. With attendees lounging in
beach chairs or swimming around the stage, the whole event has a
casual summertime feel. However, when the musicians take to the
floating stage, the energy spikes and the crowd dives into the
music as well. With performances from the likes of Tiempo Libre,
Dave Brubeck and a host of other jazz, funk and blues
performers, the festival (now in its 22nd year) offers a great
combination of setting and sound.
7.  Sarawak Cultural Village, Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia
    This outdoor museum is a living exhibit of the many tribes
and cultures of Malaysia. Visitors can explore the homes and
lifestyles of various native populations in this ethnically
diverse region and are treated to daily dance and music
performances. However, the biggest show is the annual Rainforest
World Music Festival. For three days, the chance to see and
explore cultures at the Sarawak Cultural Village goes global as
music groups from Ireland, Korea, South Africa, Australia,
Colombia and elsewhere take to the stage. Festival goers feast
on the native rhythms from every corner of the world. And they
do so deep in the rainforest of Borneo.
8.  Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens, Greece
    Built initially between 160 and 174 AD by Herodes Atticus in
memory of his wife, this amphitheater on the southern slope of
the Acropolis is a storied as well as scenic venue. For more
than 1,500 years, the Roman-style marble theater was little more
than a ruin, damaged by fire and buried under farmland. However,
as modern Greece emerged, so too did the Herodeon, as it is
often called. Extensively restored in the middle of the 20th
century, the Herodeon is a center piece of the annual Athens
Festival, a summer long program of arts and entertainment dating
back to 1955. In addition to hosting a summer of classical, jazz
and folk performers for the Athens Festival including, this
year, the Greek National Opera as well as Diana Krall and Haris
Alexiou, the reborn ruin has been center stage for a number of
historic music moments. Elton John, Sting, Yanni and Andrea
Boccelli have all performed major events here.
9.  Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY, United States
    A landmark for Long Island and the greater New York area,
this waterfront amphitheater once had a true standout stage. It
was on an island all its own with a moat separating the audience
from the performers. A boat had to deliver the stars of the show
to perform. The moat has since been filled in, but the feeling
of seeing a show with the waves lapping at your feet remains.
The Jones Beach Theater is part of the Jones Beach Park, a
stretch of protected beaches just 33 miles (or a subway ride)
from Manhattan. It features expansive views of picturesque Long
Island Sound and the Atlantic as well as good acoustics for all
15,000 seats. And, in true New York style, even after taking a
severe blow from Hurricane Sandy last fall, the show will go on
at Jones Beach. The restoration efforts wrapped up just in time
for the opening of the 2013 season. Expect to take in Fleetwood
Mac, One Direction, Lil' Wayne and Train along with the view
this summer.
10. Ushuaïa Beach Hotel, Ibiza, Spain
    There is a lot of scenery on this Spanish island, where the
hot Mediterranean sun blazes. A renowned party spot, Ibiza is a
mix of blue waters, stunning sunsets, big rock faces, large
yachts and scantily clad tourists. In the midst of this scene
lies Ushuaïa Beach Hotel. Steps from the beach, the hotel
features a courtyard with a giant asymmetrical pool and a stage
that, from early afternoon, pulses with electronic music. A mix
of local artists and DJs keeps the party going all summer with a
dancing crowd surging in every corner of the pool deck and the
balconies of the overlooking hotel rooms. The high tech light
show often keeps going until the rising sun takes over.

 (Editing by Paul Casciato)
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