Nothing overshadows the thrill of a good concert performance like finding someone else's gum on your seat.
Colorado’s iconic and eternally Instagrammable Red Rocks Amphitheater has a packed concert calendar between late March and early November. But whether you’ll be there to hear Ice Cube’s early-90s classic “It Was a Good Day” or you’re going for the psychedelic fuzz of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, a group of local volunteers would really appreciate it if you left your chewing gum back at your Airbnb.
The Friends of Red Rocks is an all-volunteer organization that spends one weekend a month cleaning up the trails that surround the venue, and they also make sure the venue itself is in the best possible shape. Apparently one of their ongoing challenges has been scraping the wads of dried chewing gum out from under the benches where some audience members tend to stick it.
In a Facebook post, the group shouted out the efforts of its “Gum Scraping Crew,” who have worked to clean strangers’ gum off the benches for the past three years. “[They] have removed more than 50 pounds of gum during 2023 alone,” the post reads. “The benches look so amazing and clean!!! Friendly reminder that gum is not allowed at Red Rocks!”
That’s right: chewing gum is on the list of things that are prohibited at the venue, along with almost two dozen other No Gos, including glass bottles or aluminum cans, remote control drones, “confetti, glitter and other items that can be thrown,” and hula hoops.
Friends of Red Rocks volunteer Pia Valeriana told local news outlet KDVR that she hopes anyone who ignores the rules will “chew responsibly” and dispose of their gum in a way that doesn’t involve sticking it underneath one of the seats.
“Gum is not even permitted inside the amphitheater, but how do you prevent that,” she said. “People have it in their purses, in their pockets.” (Also, let’s just take a second to imagine the amount of chewed-up gum wads that make up a 50-pound pile of gum. On second thought, let’s pretend we never wrote that sentence because, wow, that is disgusting.)
Due to its jaw-dropping location and its always-stacked concert calendar, Red Rocks remains a must-visit destination for music lovers. According to the Denver Post, 1.4 million audience members visited the Amphitheatre last year, and the venue hosted a record-setting 195 concerts, along with “14 fitness events, nine high school graduations, six ‘Film on the Rocks’ movie nights, and a handful of other bookings.”
If you’re planning on a visit to Red Rocks this year, then please think about Pia Valeriana and the rest of the Friends of Red Rocks volunteers before you put a piece of gum in your mouth – and think about them twice before you stick it underneath your seat.
“It’s disrespectful of this natural wonder we want to preserve in its most pristine way,” Valeriana said. “We just want people to be aware, and don’t take this place for granted.”
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