Red Rocks Amphitheater celebrates its 75th anniversary

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MORRISON, Colo. -- Red Rocks Amphitheater celebrated two major milestones Wednesday. It officially opened as an entertainment venue on this day 75 years ago and it is earning a designation as a national historic landmark.

“Seventy-five years is a long time for any venue. And there are venues that have beauty. There are venues that have history. But I don’t think that any venue on the planet has the type of history and beauty that Red Rocks has,” Red Rocks spokesman Brian Kitts said.

The amphitheater was originally dedicated on June 15, 1941. Since then, it has seen more than 2,500 performances by all kinds of musical acts, including the Beatles, John Denver, U2, The Grateful Dead and many more.

Red Rocks celebrated Wednesday with an open house for visitors, including backstage access of the dressing rooms and a tour of a hallway filled with autographs from each performer over the years.

“This is kind of one of those famous areas that people don’t get to see a lot and this is for all intents and purposes a living autograph book,” Kitts said.

The night kicked off with a rededication ceremony in which Native Americans blessed the amphitheater like they did 75 years ago.

The Colorado Symphony Orchestra performed and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced the park’s official landmark designation. The evening finished with a Film On the Rocks viewing of “Citizen Kane.”