Arrow Left
Arrow Right

Thunderstorm Safety and Preparedness

What To Know About Weather At Outdoor Concert Venues Like Red Rocks

By Jan Wesner Childs

June 23, 2023


Sign up for the Morning Brief email newsletter to get weekday updates from The Weather Channel and our meteorologists.

S​ummer is the season for outdoor concerts and other open-air events, but it's also prime time for severe weather in many areas. Here's what to know to stay safe.

Recent events highlight the danger:

-​A June 21 storm at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre near Denver dropped hail the size of ping pong balls, injuring up to an estimated 90 people. Seven were transported from the scene by ambulance.

-​A severe thunderstorm warning was issued 22 minutes before the storm hit, which was a sign concertgoers should have taken shelter immediately. The National Weather Service warned of hail seen on radar.

-​Lightning was also in the area. "Between 7:16 and 11pm, there wasn’t a single period longer than 5 minutes that didn’t have lightning within 15 km (9.3 miles) of the amphitheater," meteorologist and lightning expert Chris Vagasky tweeted the day after.

-​Per NOAA data analyzed by senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman, the Red Rocks incident appears to be the most hail injuries in a single U.S. thunderstorm since the Mayfest hailstorm on May 5, 1995, when more than 100 people were injured at an outdoor festival in Tarrant County, Texas.

Erdman adds:

-"While it’s probably the last thing you want to think about before a long-awaited concert or game, you need to be aware of the weather when attending any outdoor event."

-​"If you see lightning, hear thunder or receive a warning, you’re in danger. Move to a substantial shelter. Don’t wait for officials to postpone the event."

-​"When you arrive at your event, know how to quickly get to any building, closed concourse, etc., in case storms approach. If there isn’t such shelter nearby, keep that in mind when planning to attend, or deciding not to, particularly if thunderstorms are in the forecast."


M​ore safety tips:

-​Have an app on your phone with radar, lightning alerts and severe/tornado/flash flood warnings. Make sure all those alerts are turned on to at least vibrate your phone when issued. Also enable wireless emergency alerts.

-​Know the difference between watches and warnings and know what to do when each are issued.

-While severe storms are most common in spring and summer, always be aware of weather when attending an outdoor event. Heat, cold or high winds, for example, can also be dangerous and storms can happen any time of year.


-​Red Rocks Hail 'Felt Like Bullets'

-Here Are The Ingredients That Trigger A Severe Weather Outbreak

-Supercells: What To Know About These Dangerous Thunderstorms

-​Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Severe T-Storm Warnings

W​ reporter Jan Childs covers breaking news and features related to weather, climate change, the environment and everything in between.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Hidden Weather Icon Masks
Hidden Weather Icon Symbols