In the Field with Ben Harper

Some of the most memorable concerts I've been to have taken place under the stars (and even the rain). Here are my favorite outdoor venues in America.

Sep 2, 2008
Outside Magazine

1. California's Santa Barbara Bowl ( looks over the city, and the shows start at sunset. When you show up, they're cooking out—the soup's on.

2. Go to Red Rocks (, outside Denver, during a full moon and it becomes another world:Planet Red Rocks.

3. The more trees, the better the sound. Stubbs Bar-B-Q (, in Austin, is lined with huge oaks.

4. Central Park's SummerStage ( is an intimate venue in the middle of Manhattan.

5. The Berkeley Greek Theatre ( is set up like an ancient amphi–theater, with marble pillars in the background. (Also, whenever we play there, Carlos Santana sits in.)

6. The last time I played the Les Schwab Amphitheater (, in Bend, Oregon, I hiked in the Deschutes National Forest and my kids rafted the Deschutes River. You go from the woods to the stage.

7. You've got to see the Gorge Amphitheatre (, near Washington's Columbia River gorge, to believe it. When there's a concert, the campground becomes a city.

8. The Hollywood Bowl, because it's the Hollywood Bowl (

9. At the Los Angeles Greek Theatre (, you're surrounded by oaks and redwoods. The Greek sings back at you.

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