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When the weather heats up, so do the opportunities to take in a show at an amphitheater, an open-air concert venue with a view of the stage, seats on the lawn and a prime picnic opportunity where you can listen to your favorite band. Sure, you could simply show up to concerts near you, but when it comes to making the most of your pavilion experience, it’s always best to come prepared.

What to Bring

Before you hit the road for any live events in an outdoor amphitheater—that means music festivals, plays, comedy acts or otherwise—bring supplies. Here’s where you’ll want to pay close attention to the ticketing and venue sites: What time does your show start, how long will you be there, and what will the weather be like that day? If the set begins in the daytime and runs into the evening, bring an extra jacket, sweater or blanket for warmth; once the sun dips, so does the temperature and you don’t want to sit through your live performance shivering. Many modern amphitheatres offer seating with overhangs and shaded areas, but if you’re out in the open and it’s daytime, a hat, some sunscreen and a water bottle could be in your best interest. And finally, all of that scenic beauty you’ll find at open air amphitheatres lends itself perfectly to a picnic. At some of the most famous pavilions in the country, like during Hollywood Bowl shows or Red Rocks Amphitheatre events, you can bring outside food and even alcoholic beverages. Be sure to check each venue’s rules regarding glass bottles, cooler sizes and other specifications before you head out.

Where to Sit

Amphitheater seating ranges from general lawn admission to tiered, specific-chair tickets, and each open-air theatre is different. Most ticket sites will offer seating maps for particular venues and outdoor events, so before you click “purchase,” take a look and figure out where you’d like to spend your time outdoors, and whether you’ll need to bring a chair or blanket. If you’d like to get as close to the stage as possible, orchestra or pit seating—often covered by an overhang like those at BB&T Pavilion and St. Augustine Pavilion—provide shade and proximity to the stage. But part of the fun of amphitheatre concerts is taking in the scenery, especially during the warmer months, and lawn seats will do just that. Plus, most outdoor venues offer large screens of the performance, so you won’t miss any of the action.

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