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Best outdoor concert venue

Earth, Wind and Fire entertain the crowd at Chastain Park Amphitheater, your pick and our pick for best outdoor venue. Despite a few reservations about crowd noise and other issues, when conditions are right, it's still our favorite. Photo: Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

Earth, Wind and Fire entertain the crowd at Chastain Park Amphitheater, your pick and our pick for best outdoor venue. Despite a few reservations about crowd noise and other issues, when conditions are right, it's still our favorite. Photo: Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

YOUR PICKS

1. Chastain Park Amphitheater
You say, “Chastain is Atlanta’s sentimental and legacy favorite. Over the years I’ve enjoyed many great moments there, including meeting my first wife. But its mostly a social gathering place and only the headliners get the attention of the audience” and “the setting is actually the nicest we have in Atlanta.”

2. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park
3. Atlanta Botanical Garden
4. Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre
5. Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood

OUR PICKS

1. Chastain Park Amphitheater

Keeper of the Best of the Big A and Live Music Picks writer Shane Harrison says, “Sure, it has issues, but most of them have to do with chatty audiences and parking hassles, not the venue. When the conditions are right – minimal chatter, fine weather, on-time performances, the parking fates on your side – there’s no better place to see a show under the stars.”

2. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park
3. Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre
4. Atlanta Botanical Garden
5. Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater

79 comments Add your comment

JEC

March 14th, 2011
12:09 pm

Chastain Park

NLK

March 14th, 2011
12:18 pm

Chastain Park

JoeMac

March 14th, 2011
12:35 pm

Chastain, as long as LiveNation has nothing to do with the show.

Typical Redneck

March 14th, 2011
1:08 pm

Anywhere but Lakewood.

katie

March 14th, 2011
1:43 pm

Atlanta Botanical Gardens!

Sylvia

March 14th, 2011
1:43 pm

Chastain each and every time.

david c

March 14th, 2011
1:44 pm

Outdoor shows in Atlanta suck. Especially Chastain. I like Frederick J Brown Amphitheatre in Peachtree City, but it’s too far and not enough good shows.

William

March 14th, 2011
1:47 pm

The Woodstock Summer Concert Series in the downtown park in Woodstock is great and it’s FREE! The City is also adding a new amphitheatre adjacent to the park for a bigger venue.

Jimbo 24

March 14th, 2011
1:55 pm

Verizon Wireless in Alpharetta

William

March 14th, 2011
2:00 pm

Chastain, Chastain, and Chastain

Honest Dave

March 14th, 2011
2:00 pm

Chastain is a great place to listen to terrible music, and a terrible place to listen to great music.

tom d

March 14th, 2011
2:09 pm

it may seem small, but that Woodstock City Park is a cool community place to catch a concert on a Saturday in the summer

paige

March 14th, 2011
2:14 pm

Uhoh

March 14th, 2011
2:20 pm

Tried to listen to Van Morrison at Chastain, all I could hear was some Dunwoody housewife talking about her kids braces her daughters dorm room at UGA. Same story at Verizon, walking through the crowd the crowd din sounded like a Braves game.

Please, don’t spend the $$$ on the tickets if you only go to “be seen.”

up north

March 14th, 2011
2:21 pm

Verizon. I do not like most outdoor venues, particularly Chastain.

David

March 14th, 2011
2:33 pm

They don’t have concerts very often, but Peidmont Park

Mary B

March 14th, 2011
2:45 pm

Peidmont Park

Ga Peach

March 14th, 2011
2:55 pm

Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre in Cobb County
it offers free parking and every seat in the venue is an excellent seat

Dunwoody Dude

March 14th, 2011
2:58 pm

Chastain is great if you are in the box seats. Excellent sightlines and close enough that you don’t hear the crowd noise. Built by the CCC in the 1930’s.

JoeMac

March 14th, 2011
3:00 pm

The Fred is a good venue, but the seating is very tight and cramped, and because of that I would not recomend them. Verizon is wonderful IF you live on the north side of Atlanta. For us southsiders it is an overnight hike to get there. Lakewood is run by LiveNation and needs some serious renovation, but it is obvious they could care less. 20 years ago it was an awesome venue, but today it is merely awesomely shabby.
The LiveNation Chastain concerts are barely worth attending. They shamelessly pander to season ticket holders, give them all the parking, and make the average fan’s concert experience a terrible one. ASO shows at Chastain are first rate. They do not kiss up to anyone. They do things the right way. All in all, Chastain is the best venue. I just wish LN cared about the average fan and would stop kissing up to people who could care less who is performing.

JustMe

March 14th, 2011
3:09 pm

Definitely Verizon!!! Any place else (Lakewood, Chastain, etc …) is just substandard.

Dave

March 14th, 2011
3:11 pm

Atlanta does not have a good outdoor venue. Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg FL. is awesome. The Ribfest in Nov. always ROCKS

Honky Talkin'

March 14th, 2011
3:14 pm

Woodstock doesn’t count because it sucks.

jay

March 14th, 2011
3:26 pm

I would say Piedmont Park but I wont be going back there after that Screen on the Green fiasco with those wild ass highschool kids last year.

Michelle Hull

March 14th, 2011
3:30 pm

Verizon Wireless with out a doubt!!!!!!!

JoeV

March 14th, 2011
3:37 pm

Verizon Wireless is by far the best. Its in a clean, safe area and the traffic is a breeze when leaving an event. First class venue.

JesusFreak

March 14th, 2011
3:45 pm

Verizon gets our vote, we’ve been there a couple of times.

OCDawg

March 14th, 2011
3:51 pm

Ashford Manor B&B in Watkinsville. But don’t tell everyone.

PJ

March 14th, 2011
3:54 pm

Verizon is awesome. Great location, easy access with many roads going in & out, FREE parking, good food options – have been everywhere from the pit to the lawn & there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

al

March 14th, 2011
4:01 pm

Verizon Wireless Amphitheater @ Encore Park (Alpharetta)
Masquerade Music Park (inside is awful, outside is awesome).

Lakewood is terrible.
Not a fan of Chastain either

FoodFan

March 14th, 2011
4:03 pm

Chastain BY FAR.

Breesus

March 14th, 2011
4:07 pm

Verizon is awesome. It’s what Lakewood should aim to be. Sorry al but I disagree about the Masquerade, the inside is about as awesome as it gets for a metal show, because of the surrounding neighborhoods and what I assume is a noise ordiance their outdoor shows aren’t that great. I find that the music isn’t loud enough

west side wizard...

March 14th, 2011
4:08 pm

kiki

March 14th, 2011
4:15 pm

Mablehouse Mabelton Ga~

Music for the masses

March 14th, 2011
4:19 pm

My backyard is a pretty cool place to hear some great music coming from my acoustic or electric guitar. But every time I play the “Cops” get called on me while the neighbors blast their country crap out of their pick-up trucks…

Concertgoer

March 14th, 2011
4:24 pm

Mable House Amphiteatre – it’s more intimate than Verizon and Chastain and Lakewood.

They need to improve their concert schedule, though.

AlphaDog

March 14th, 2011
5:21 pm

Chastain is Atlanta’s sentimental and legacy favorite. Over the years I’ve enjoyed many great moments there, including meeting my first wife. But its mostly a social gathering place and only the headliners get the attention of the audience

AlphaDog

March 14th, 2011
5:25 pm

BTW, people should realize they don’t have to bring the whole kitchen to Chastain. A simple picnic basket and a bottle or two will suffice. Its hilarious watching women in heels hauling ice coolers, KFC buckets and Publix shopping bags into the venue,

marymac

March 14th, 2011
5:54 pm

villa christinia got great outdoor music, and it’s free and you can dance if you like……….it’s on peachtree dunwoody in dekalb coundy………..I love it……………….

bird dawg

March 14th, 2011
6:36 pm

aside from the ghetto that surrounds it, i enjoy lakewood. the sound is good, the tailigaiting is great, and tons of really good, current headliners have been through and continue to.

my favorite part of chastain is the coolers….non cooler shows (better bands usually) are a nightmare to buy a drink at.

verizon is gaining a lot of steam, especially as the better bands continue to book there

musicman

March 14th, 2011
6:56 pm

Yah, Chastain is great if you want to sit down, be quiet, and not move while watching a show. (Never been told to sit down by people sitting behind me so many times at a CONCERT!)
Heres a news flash, if you end up at a concert and I am standing/dancing in front of you, and you cant see then either 1)stand up and join the party or 2)next time buy better seats then me……

Anyway, Lakewood is the best place to see a show b/c it has the best tailgating and you can really cut loose. Verizon is a very nice venue as well just a bit older crowd, and a little too far from the city…

Concert Fanatic

March 14th, 2011
7:01 pm

If you’ve been to any other ’sheds’ in the country, (Garden State/PNC Bank Arts, Mann Center, Great Woods, even Pine Knob,) you’d realize how horrible both Lakewood and Verizon are. Lakewood’s location, traffic and sightlines are the worst I ‘ve ever been too. Verizon is nice if you’re in the VIP seats, but there was NO consideration given for sightlines at all in any of the other seats. You’re looking right into the heads of those in front of you….really a missed opportunity for something nice.
Chastain pulls the plug promptly at 11:00PM….and sometimes earlier! If you’re able to catch the rare show there when people aren’t talking(a BIG if), and forget about concessions and the bathrooms, the setting is actually the nicest we have in Atlanta.
Frederick Brown, Villages, and Mable House, are OK neighborhood venues, nothing special. We can talk about Woodstock only after they tear down the gazebo and actually erect a stage! Botanical Gardens is another missed opportunity. I believe they’ll pave over or move every bit of vegetation there if given the chance! The sound is awful, and it has a hideous moat out in front of the stage.
My vote is to take a trip to a great theatre in another city, but if you’re stuck in Atlanta, a reluctant 2nd choice goes to Chastain.

Kalooki

March 14th, 2011
7:05 pm

Villa Christina …. second to no other in Atl. One of Atl best kept secrets. Great music, FANTASTIC atmosphere.

Ryan

March 14th, 2011
7:17 pm

Matilda’s Cottage in Roswell. Bring your own beer and food. Kid and Dog Friendly. $10 cover and great artists!

BlahBlahBlah

March 14th, 2011
7:48 pm

Masquerade Music Park. No contest.

jambandfan

March 14th, 2011
8:07 pm

Live Oak Florida,

Wanee Music Fesival

Jam On!

chuck e

March 14th, 2011
9:57 pm

smaller venue – without a doubt – Chastain Park
larger venue – Verizon Wireless in Alpharetta

mikee

March 14th, 2011
10:06 pm

I like the new Riverdale outdoor amphitheatre. The venue is small (1200 capacity) and the sound is great. “Cool” new city hall and conference center.

wilson

March 14th, 2011
10:25 pm

Chastain by a mile. Lakewood is a dump, and Verizon is just another cookie cutter amphitheater, plus it’s in the sticks.

Brueckelen

March 14th, 2011
10:35 pm

Chastain hands down.