Description and review of the Ironstone Amphitheatre, an outdoor summer concert venue located in Murphys, California.
Snapshot (as of 8/8/18)
- 1894 6 Mile Road, Murphys, CA 95247
- (209) 728-1251
A friend and I recently visited mutual friends who have a cabin in Arnold, a small mountain community located on State Route 4 in Calaveras County. Arnold is at the western end of the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway.
In addition to enjoying a few days of good company and food/wine, several of us planned to attend the Foreigner concert at the Ironstone Amphitheatre in nearby Murphys before returning to Sacramento the following day.
During our visit fires were raging throughout Northern California. Depending on the wind, one could at times see and/or smell smoke – and the sky was often hazy. We were lucky, however, as we were still able to enjoy sitting outside on the deck of the cabin taking in the smell of the pine trees.
On the day of the concert a haze of smoke settled low in Arnold for a time, but then it cleared up and that evening there were not issues with smoke at the venue – thank goodness as that would have been most unpleasant.
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Ironstone Amphitheatre is located in Murphys, a small historic gold-rush town. The venue opened in 1998, and a summer concert series has been held each summer since. Note: To get to the performance venue follow the directions given on the Ironstone Amphitheatre website if you want to travel the most efficient route.
The Ironstone Amphitheatre is between two to three hours from Sacramento. State Route 4 becomes steep, narrow and very curvy in the mountains. The drive is, however, very scenic.
The venue opens its doors approximately one hour prior to the performance. We had purchased reserved seating, but we arrived early in order to secure a good parking spot.
It was a very hot day so we sat in the car with the A/C on while we waited. Attendees who had purchased General Admission tickets had already started lining up waiting to enter. The area where the line formed had an overhead canvas covering – so at least they were not standing directly in the sun.
Ironstone Amphitheatre Parking
Parking at Ironstone Amphitheatre is free. The parking area is dirt – and we knew that the car would be covered with a layer of dust at the end of the evening.
Parking lot attendants were on duty to help guide us into a parking spot and to direct traffic afterwards.
Getting out of the parking lot after a concert can be a challenge. How long it will take to exit the parking lot will depend on where in the lot you park, and when you leave the concert. It is definitely a good idea to make your way to your car before the last note is played – and that is what we did.
Ironstone Amphitheatre Seating
If you are going to go the General Admission (lawn seating) route, it pays to read and follow the do’s and don’ts of the venue (low beach chairs and blankets are ok) so you don’t have to return the non-conforming item(s) back to your car.
The lawn seating area is multi-terraced on a gradual slope. The configuration allows walkways so it is not difficult to move around.
The reserved seats are in front of the General Admission seating, the closest to the stage. The ground in this area is flat, and the plastic folding chairs are zip-tied together. As a result, one is in very close proximity to the people in the adjacent seats.
Luckily, at the recent Foreigner concert the assigned seating area was not sold out, and once it became clear there were empty seats my friends and I were able to spread out.
Ironstone Amphitheatre Stage
The stage is large, and features a big screen on either side. The screen picture quality is excellent, and you can see details you may well not be able to see if you are not right in front of the stage. The screens really come in handy if attendees in front of you decide to stand up and dance, etc.
The stage lighting (after the sun sets) and the sound system are both top notch.
Ironstone Amphitheatre Facilities
Food and beverage booths serve a variety of items. Some vendors only accept cash. While there are ATM’s scattered about they can malfunction, so it is wise to arrive with cash in hand.
On this most recent visit to Ironstone Amphitheatre I did not check out the price of the food and drink offerings, but I imagine they are more or less what you would expect. As it was so hot I purchased a soft-serve ice cream (in a cup) for $6 – so that gives you something of an idea.
The restroom facilities are porta-potties with hand-washing stations nearby. While I as a rule avoid porta-potties, these were manned with attendants whose job it was to keep them sanitary – so it was really not that bad.
See upcoming blog post: Foreigner Concert at Ironstone Amphitheatre
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