In the world of music, concert venues have evolved beyond the traditional halls, arenas, and stadiums. Artists have taken their performances to unconventional locations, making it an adventure for the audience. From abandoned factories to historic monuments, these unique concert locations offer a distinctive experience for the music enthusiasts.
1. Rock & Roll Pizza in Moorpark (California, USA)
Foo Fighters, 2013
A surprise gig, just like Foo Fighters like it, this was a huge success, with 23 songs being played so this was no 15 minute gig, it was a full-blown Foo Fighters experience. Just imagine downing a cheesy pizza and almost choking when you hear “Learn to Fly” being played and these legends being in the same room as you.
2. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Los Angeles, USA)
Bon Iver, 2009
This indie folk band played a hauntingly beautiful 70 minutes long concert in a cemetery, surrounded by the gravestones of Hollywood legends, all in front of a crowd of more than 2,500 people.
3. Chelmsford Prison (UK)
Sex Pistols, 1976
In 1976 they were far from being known among music lovers, they didn’t even have an album out. So yeah, the crowd was far from impressed with their over the top punk, ragey anthems. Later on, in 1990, they went on and released the album Live at Chelmsford Top Security Prison which had all the bells and whistles, implying the concert was a smashing hit, which it wasn’t.
4. Eastview Bowling Alley (Saskatoon, Canada)
The White Stripes, 2007
They had a 15 minute performance in front of a small crowd that was there to bowl. This was part of their North American tour which had a lot of concerts that took place in rather odd places, the likes of a flower mill, a youth center, on a boat, in front of pensioners in Chelsea.
5. On An Iceberg, Greenland
The Defiled, 2014
On one hand we have a floating iceberg in the middle of nowhere aka Greenland. On the other we have The Defiled, a British hardcore/metal band, which had Jägermeister as the sponsor. Fans watched the whole thing from fishing boats nearby, in the freezing cold. They got a mention in Guiness Book of World Records for their escapade but unfortunately the band split several months later due to financial problems.
6. Rooftop of a Moss-Covered Sauna (Lund, Sweden)
Sofar Sounds, a music startup which hosts musical performances in 400+ cities hosted a concert on the sauna’s rooftop followed by a quick sauna session afterwards.
7. Denny’s (California, USA)
Punk band Wacko sold out at Denny’s when they announced their concert. In fact no, scratch that, they literally overcrowded the chain restaurant resulting in 1k damages and a ton of madness. Organized by local whiz kid Bryson Del Valle, they had to resort to setting up a GoFund me page so he could pay the damages.
8. Napa State Hospital (California, USA)
The Cramps, 1978
A rock band formed in the late ‘70s, The Cramps had singer Lux Interior and guitarist Poison Ivy at its core. Napa State Hospital is a psychiatric hospital, which makes it even more far-fetched. Add to this the fact that the lead singer actually said: “Somebody told me you people are crazy, but I’m not so sure about that,” while on stage and you get a very freaky situation.
9. Inside A Metal Box (London, UK)
Unfathomable Ruination, 2014
The metal band gets inside the metal, crowded, anxiety-inducing box. It is then sealed shut. The band starts performing until the oxygen runs out. What did people witness while walking on the street? Since it was soundproof, you could only see it vibrate from the rowdy metal being played inside.
10. Freezing Cold Antarctica (King George Island, in the South Shetland Islands)
The iconic heavy metal band performed in their already classic concert, called “Freeze ‘Em All”, in a dome on the heliport at the Carlini Argentine Base in Antarctica. They even set up a whole new world record, becoming the first band to perform on all seven continents.
11. The Great Pyramid Of Giza (Egypt)
Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2019
The band’s first ever concert in the country was a memorable one, by all accounts. RHCP is not the first band to perform there, though, Frank SInatra and The Grateful Dead also checking off this location.
12. A Tram In Motion (Wroclaw, Poland)
Another Sofar Sounds gem, this one had a tram going through the city – passengers were allowed to board it – and playing live music, much to the enjoyment of the locals. It involved three bands that switched between them during stops and the feedback for this was insane.
13. On A Farm (Mauriac, France)
A grindcore band that performed in several quirky “venues”, this time a farm. The farm had a goat named Biquette that was a huge metal lover so we know the crowd had at least one happy face.
14. On A Cruiser On The River Thames (UK)
The Sex Pistols, 1977
In what is now an iconic punk rock moment, the punk rock band booked the cruiser and sailed past Houses of Parliament blasting their famous Anarchy in The UK song. Here comes the kicker: this all happened during the Queen’s Jubilee.
15. Inside An Actual Volcano (Reykjavík, Iceland)
Deftones and Snorri Helgason
Chino Moreno from Deftones was joined by Icelandic singer-songwriter Snorri Helgason and they performed for 20 lucky people all while they were all inside a dormant volcano. And everything happened 400 feet down, after already going through a challenging two and a half hours trek to get to the volcano. As you might expect, the playlist was short, only three songs, but we bet it was one hell of a ride for all those involved.
Artists are known for their over the top flare and weird concert locations is for some bands a box that has to be ticked. Music fan or not, you have to appreciate the dedication some performers go through, all to impress their fans or to create a memorable, once in a lifetime experience.
Recommended reading next: Weird Food Festivals From Around The World
Where was the biggest concert?
Copacabana Beach, 1994. Rod Steward performed in front of…hold on to your hats… 3.5 MILLION people! All of them have gathered there to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
What is the most remote concert in the world?
Big Red Bash is probably the winner here. It’s held on a private property near the Simpson Desert, in Australia.