Inspire

5 Strange Places To See A Gig In Your Life

Floating stages, underground caves and abandoned quarries.

What makes a good gig? Is it a good band? Cheap drinks? A pumping atmosphere? A compliant sound system? Sure, they all count. But there’s one thing that’s bound to turn your next musical experience up to 11 – and that’s the location.

We’ve seen gigs in laneways and on top of buildings, but what about the spaces that go far beyond the ordinary? Here are five music venues you’ll definitely want to check out on your next overseas jaunt.

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Dalhalla, Sweden

Located in a former limestone quarry, Dalhalla is one of Sweden’s best summer music venues. The quarry, which was previously known as Draggängarna, is about 60 metres deep and 175 metres wide, creating a phenomenal acoustic setting for some of the world’s biggest musicians. The venue holds 20 to 30 events each summer, kicking things off in June and running through ’til September. While ‘Dalhalla’ sounds like it should be home to heaps of heavy metal gigs, the space is primarily used for opera, jazz and choral concerts – clearly a missed opportunity seeing how Sweden is literally overrun by death metal bands.

Photo: Into The Valley

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Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado

It’s going to be pretty hard to focus on the performers with a backdrop like that. The Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado is prime real estate for music and theatre performances, and it’s been around for over 100 years. The stage is flanked by huge rocks on either side, with a seating area in front of the stage for around 9500 people. When the sun sets, punters can get in some primo stargazing as well. Upcoming and previous homegrown acts to grace the stage include Tame Impala, Flume and RÜFÜS.

Photo: Corey Thompson/Flickr

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Kawaguchiko Stellar Theater, Tokyo

What’s cooler than seeing a performance in the middle of a red desert? How about having the inimitable Mt Fuji in the background? At the Kawaguchiko Stellar Theatre in Tokyo, Fuji is the centrepiece of countless musical performances, with the iconic volcano framed dead centre behind the stage. Best seen at dusk, concerts here always have an air of spectacle to them – and obviously Fuji itself pulls off a killer show every night.

Photo: World Projects Japan

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Cumberland Caverns, Tennessee

This place is so underground. Like, literally. In the Cumberland Caverns, performances are held 100 metres underground in a cave. A cave! This natural amphitheatre claims to be one of the most acoustically pure natural spaces on earth. The Cumberland Caverns holds a monthly radio program called the Bluegrass Underground – and as you can expect from the name, it specialises in showcasing some of the greatest bluegrass musicians alive today. Rad.

Photo: Cumberland Caverns

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The Floating Stage, Lake Constance, Austria

The Bregenz Festival, held in July and August in Bregenz, Austria, is where you’ll see this formidable stage in action. Technically the world’s largest floating stage, every year organisers of the festival create intricate designs for this buoyant platform, each as thrilling and elaborate as the last. It’s not just about the music here – the floating stage presents both a visual and audio feast for your senses, with 7000 lucky spectators observing from the adjoining auditorium.

Photo: Bregenz Festival

It’s totally OK to book a holiday around a music venue – start planning yours with Qantas.