Best in Show: Anchorages Outdoor Concert Series

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Its official, summer is here!! So for us here in Alaska it means… we are on the clock.


“As quick as it comes, it goes…”

Ask anyone who has lived or visited Alaska in the summer, its ridiculous. Cliche conversations will praise the states fishing and camping, hiking and the city’s coastal trails, but just being outside in general is pretty awesome. The sun in Alaska during the summer is above the horizon anywhere from 18 to 21 hours depending on where you are in the state. So its not uncommon for us city folks to, I dunno… fire up the grill at 8pm? Get a line in the water around 10? Maybe get in a light hike at midnight? Its literally what we do.

Spencer Ludwig of Capital Cities. Humpys Big Spawn Series.

So in recent years a new activity has started to become mentioned among the traditional 907 summer pastimes. Outdoor concerts. Besides the fact that Alaska has very unpredictable weather, we actually have perfect conditions for outdoor music events. Our extended daytime hours, and as the Dixie Chicks would say, “wide open spaces…” these shows have become very lucrative and more venues are getting in on its popularity. But short summers means limited time. Venues and promoters are all vying for our attention and dollars while at the same time competing with the fact that the great outdoors is literally, right outdoors. So this leads to booking bigger acts, erecting larger stages and catering to huge crowds, which ultimately leads to more expensive ticket prices. So lets take a look at what our options are. In our opinion 3 venues have become standouts in this genre.

The Mooses Tooth

Mooses Tooth Show featuring Slightly Stoopid

The obvious front runner in this group is the Mooses Tooth. As long as we can remember “the Tooth” and its shows really kicked things off. The Mooses Tooth transforms their entire parking lot into a fenced in festival ground which seemingly has become the standard for competitive venues looking to host an outdoor concert in Anchorage. The genius of this setup is that everything is then produced in house. On show days, the restaurant remains fully operational while outside in the lot, its plays host to upwards of 2,000+ people. Once inside the fenced grounds, patrons have access to a variety of Mooses Tooth pizza prepared fresh and sold by the slice, as well as a slew of Mooses Tooth choice IPAs and ales. Quick and basic math tells us, on average a person pays about $45 for a ticket and lets say a beer ($6) and a slice ($5). So on the low end spends about $55. Then times that by 2,000 (hold on, using my fingers to count) you got yourself a $110,000 day. Now the reason that number is important explains the quality of artist potential Mooses Tooth processes. Some negatives are (for inexperienced concert goers) ticket prices are on the higher end, and if you aren’t a big pizza fan, food choices lack. The Mooses tooth boast an amazing stage and sound with excellent lighting effects but space is limited for the amount of people present and lines are long for both beverages and potties. But these shows always guarantees diverse and quality acts and seemingly sell out routinely.

Previous acts: MGMTCitizen Cope, Atmosphere, Primus, Slightly Stoopid, 311, Matisyahu

Chilkoot Charlies

Papa Roach performing outside Chilkoots 2011.

Runner up and not far behind is the infamous Chilkoot Charlies, who as far as history tells are notorious for booking bigger than life acts. Oh, in the 80’s… in more recent times and as far as outdoor concerts go, Grandpa Koots has got some catching up to do when it comes to diversity and relative names, but spares no expense when it comes to booking big time rockers that are popular and puts on amazing shows. But that being said, the transformation that Chilkoots pulls off is second to none. The parking lot turns into quite the grounds, erecting a huge covered beer garden, skate park and merchandise isle. Unlike the Mooses Tooth, Chilkoots doesn’t have the problem of space and their experienced staff makes obtaining a beverage quick and easy. Maybe the biggest set back is Koots staging and sound, or rather lack of it. Many of the complaints we’ve heard is that, while the space is big the sound and staging lacks in comparison. Also Chilkoots lacks the variance of artist as say, a Mooses tooth show. If you’re not a big rock fan, these shows may have you wanting to save your bucks.

Previous acts: Papa Roach, Sublime with Rome, Buckcherry, Dropkick Murphys


Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse

Capital Cities performing Humpy's Big Spawn Show.

As the saying goes, last but definitely not least… enter Humpys. New kids on the block as far as outdoor concerts in Anchorage go, Humpys made light work of stepping into the new arena and making some noise. Humpys has done small parking lot shows in the past, but none anything worth writing home to mom about. 2014 kicked off a new wave of energy for the downtown establishment known, primarily for their tourist pleasing menu and local quiz and live music nights.

Rave reviews poured in after a highly anticipated kick off show. The weather showed up as Humpys hosted Capital Cities and its crowd to arguably the best of Alaskan enthusiasm. The newly conceptualized use of the 2 corners of their property introduced patrons to a new and improved venue. The grounds offered multiple places to get a variety of  beverages, which made long lines seem short. Plenty of potty places, as well as a variety of food choices. Also all 3 of their establishments (Humpys, Flattop, Subzero) continued regular business. Humpys offered the best of both Mooses Tooth and Koots.

With their up and coming acts and plenty of space, Humpys undeniably made their mark as the new outdoor concert contenders. We will say the only negative would be, the list of artist Humpys chose to lead with. Although most are nationally popular or up and coming, many of them fair as relatively unknown to the casual concert goer. But if Humpys continues to put on great shows, many will learn to appreciate a well thrown party despite lacking knowledge of the featured artists.

Previous acts: Capital Cities, Youngblood Hawke, The White Buffalo, Rags & Ribbons

All in all, be excited Anchorage!! We are stepping into a new era of entertainment. Each one of these venues have stepped up and announced great shows this upcoming summer. How do we suggest you spend your hard earned dollars? Pick one, pick all 3!! Just prepare yourself for Amaze balls amounts of summer epicness. Theres something for everyone, get online, then head outdoors and rawk out!!

Chilkoot Charlies: Papa Roach Sat.  July 12, 2014
Humpys: Grouplove Sat. July 19th, 2014
Mooses Tooth: Foster the People Thu. August 28, 2014

Phillip Crawford

Content creator and video/photographer for You can follow Phillip on Twitter and Instagram - @phillip907

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