January in Colorado, to anyone who doesn’t live on the front range of the Rocky Mountains, seems like the coldest and stupidest time to be outside listening to music. But if you spend some time in or around Denver, you’ll know that’s not true. It might snow a foot on Monday, and hover between eight and ten degrees on Tuesday, but Wednesday, Thursday and Friday still have a chance of hitting 60. In fact, the entire winter is like one long game of frostbite roulette. On January 27, the first ever winter concert at the open air, naturally formed Red Rocks Amphitheater will take place, inviting 9,000 people to play this only-sane-if-you’re-in-Colorado game with some of hip hop’s finest – Atmosphere, Common, and Rocky Mountain State native Grieves.
It’s the brainchild of Ben Anderson, founder of Icelantic Skis, who couldn’t wait to pair his love of winter with his love of summer. While Red Rocks is flocked to by thousands of concertgoers every summer, it is practically uninhabited during the colder months – except by the most extreme athletes found running the stairs in the thin air every morning. It’s a little crazy to think that the amphitheater will be full of people in snow gear rocking their arms back and forth as Atmosphere rhymes about Lucy Ford, or as Common waxes and wanes over water and chocolate, but it’s also completely believable. To everyone there, it’ll just be a matter of chance if they go home with blue fingers or if they have to shed a couple of layers. As always in Colorado, it’s a time for the risk takers, and there’s no telling what can happen.