[List’n Up] The Best Stage Designs of 2017

by Alan Hirtzel

We all go to shows for the artists, but what about the incredible and massive production involved in some of these events? Now that 2017 is coming to a close, its time to look back over this incredible year of music and appreciate how creative and awesome some of the stages were. Many of these are from Red Rocks, but artists usually go all out when they’re headlining, so don’t hate the 303. Obviously this is not all inclusive, I’ve left off some of the usual winners of past years like Ultra and EDC because they are pretty much guaranteed to have massive out-of-this-world production. Did you see a show and think the production is worthy of recognition? Comment below and we’ll add it!


1. GRiZ – Red Rocks Amphitheater 2017 Night 2

Photo: Ryan Rietman © Electronic Colorado

Its no secret that Colorado loves Griz, and he loves Colorado. I mean, he does live in Denver after all. But he really went above and beyond for 2 nights at Red Rocks this year. Night 1 was the debut of the full live band, and night 2 was a DJ set but hardly felt like it. Two hanging screens with lasers were moved around in a crazy light show along with a ton of other production like LED cubes which GRiZ and Muzzy Bear moved around periodically, and one of the biggest LED walls I’ve ever seen. His visuals team was also on point the whole night.

2. Bassnectar – Freestyle Sessions – 1st Bank Center

Image may contain: night
Photo: aLive Coverage

Now I know what you’re probably thinking, what about Bass Center 2017 at the Hampton Coliseum?! While that show was an absolute beast in every way, it was just another massive spaceship stage. Freestyle Sessions at 1stBank Center was smaller and more intimate, but it was also much different in concept and execution. Bassnectar was on the ground level and was hardly even visible, hiding behind the veil of shadows in order to decentralize himself as the focus.


3. Big Gigantic- Rowdytown VI – Red Rocks

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Photo: Collin Taylor

Big G has showed their love for Colorado yet again with their annual Rowdytown show at Red Rocks. This year was absolutely no exception. The multi leveled pyramid was huge and took their show to the next level.

4. Excision – Lost Lands Festival 2017

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Photo: Oh Dag Yo Photography

Excision created literal waves in the EDM community with the launch of his very own 3 day prehistoric themed festival this year. Attendees took a step back in time to Prehistoric lands and we greeted by massive dinosaurs and VOLCANOES that spewed fire (and caught fire). The stage itself was a larger version of his Paradox, but that didn’t stop it from destroying. And come on, volcanoes!


5. Gramatik – Re:coil Red Rocks 2017

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, concert and crowd
Photo: Gramatik

Gramatik is no stranger to cool innovative stages; the first iteration of the “coil” was pretty insane when first debuted years ago. That had nothing on the latest version dubbed Re:coil which made its grand debut at Red Rocks this year. Resembling a giant Tesla coil, it was massive, and had some pretty awesome graphics to go along with the amazing music Gramatik threw down. Check out the ELCO review here.

6. Infected Mushroom Return to the Sauce Tour 2017

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Photo: Infected Mushroom

While not widely publicized, Infected Mushroom quietly introduced an awesome new verision of their signature mushroom stage, and I was lucky enough to witness it this year on their live tour. Featuring 4 massive projection mapped mushrooms, it was a psychedellic experience just watching! And of course their music just adds another dimension to it.

7. Middle Lands Festival – 2017

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Photo: SJLighting

Oh Middle Lands… One of my favorite themed festivals of all time! Too bad the dear residents of Todd Mission, TX and the owner of the Texas Renaissance Festival grounds decided that it wasn’t worth bringing back for future years, but we won’t go there in this post. Those lucky enough to go  know how awesome the event was, but in particular the Middle Lands Arena. One of my personal favorites of the year, the arena was basically a castle with a stage built in to it. Set in the jousting arena, it was the perfect area for the stage. Castle Northwoods was pretty cool too, a mix of a knight’s armor and megatron, but many a set twas watched at thy arena!

8. Datsik – The Shogun

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Photo: Datsik Facebook

There is no doubt that Datsik went all out on a new stage for his Ninja Nation Tour. The Shogun was basically a massive temple that could be expanded to fit any size venue, and at his 1stBank show here in Colorado it was HUGE. Not to mention his nifty new LED ninja helmet and garb. This guy sure knows how to bring the heat, the sound rig provided by the infamous PK Sound was enough to practically break the venue.

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About Alan Hirtzel 20 Articles
Hey there, I'm Alan. I grew up in Cincinnati, then following high school I joined the United States Marine Corps. While I was stationed in Hawaii I went to my first electronic show. Since then it's been a long and wild ride. As a metal-head in high school, I naturally gravitated to the heavier side of EDM like dubstep and hardstyle. However, tastes are changing and I also enjoy the mellower side of life. I moved to Denver upon leaving the USMC, and I'm currently attending Metropolitan State University studying Environmental Science, where I also discovered a calling for writing.