With the opening of its gates
in the summer of 1975, Alpine Valley Music Theatre showed Wisconsin concertgoers
how to truly enjoy a performance outdoors. The kids dancing on the Alpine Valley
grass to Phish and the Dave Matthews Band attend shows under conditions similar
to what their parents encountered there a generation earlier for bands like the
Eagles, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Starship. At that time, Alpine Valley had
just 7,500 pavilion seats, with general admission lawn seating being added little
by little. Current capacity of Alpine Valley reaches upwards of 37,000 people, with
just under 30,000 of those Alpine Valley fans occupying spots on the now famous
sprawling grass hill.
With its location 40 minutes southwest of Milwaukee in the rural town of East Troy,
traffic patterns clearly identify if there is a show at Alpine. Due to the traffic
situation, the town of East Troy only allows Alpine Valley to host concerts on the
weekend. The venue sits nearly in the middle of Milwaukee and metropolitan Chicago,
drawing live music fans from both markets.
In the last 31 years, countless popular acts have performed on the Alpine Valley
stage. Bands like the aforementioned Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band and Phish
consider Alpine Valley one of their favorite venues to play and have returned for
performances year after year after year. On the audience side, many concertgoers
consider Alpine Valley one of their favorite places to watch an outdoor summertime
concert. In the case of the Grateful Dead, the band use to play multiple show 'runs'
at Alpine. Many Dead fans have fond memories of the days when Alpine Valley allowed
"Deadheads" to pitch tents and camp right in the parking lot overnight.
One band scheduled for a return visit to Alpine Valley in 2006, Motley Crue, filmed
their video for Same Ol' Situation at Alpine Valley in 1990. The Dead DVD Downhill
From Here was recorded in 1989 at Alpine Valley. After the death of Jerry Garcia,
the remaining members of the band chose Alpine Valley as the spot of their much
anticipated reunion concerts in 2002, labeled the Terrapin Station Family Reunion.
Initially promoters were denied a license, as authorities were concerned if they
could handle the potential 200,000 fans flocking to Alpine Valley. In the end, the
show went on with thousands of fans listening from the parking lot to the two sold-out
concerts. Other artists like perennial favorite Jimmy Buffett have performed at
Alpine numerous years in a row, making Alpine Valley a must-attend pilgrimage for
Alpine Valley does have a tie to a very unfortunate tragedy that serves as a black
mark in the history of music. In the summer of 1990, a massive concert tour made
its way around the country with a bill that included Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn
and Double Trouble (who recently had proudly cleaned up after years of alcohol and
drug abuse) and Robert Cray. After the second of two shows at Alpine Valley in late
August, the helicopter Stevie Ray Vaughan was on crashed into the side of a hill
just outside East Troy shortly after the end of the show, killing everyone aboard
instantly. A pilot and a few crew members, including a member of Eric Clapton's
management team, also perished in the wreck.
Alpine Valley hosted the last song Stevie Ray Vaughn ever performed. It was an encore
version of 'Sweet Home Chicago' that included Stevie Ray trading solos with Eric
Clapton, Robert Cray, and his brother Jimmie Vaughn. According to fans present,
he never sounded better.
Alpine Valley Tickets From Lawn to Pavilion Seats
Most recently, a VIP Experience was added to the ticket offerings of the Alpine
Valley Music Theatre. Members receive access to the VIP club, preferred seating
to the show as well as waiter/waitress service throughout the show. VIP packages
also include preferred parking. For most other folks, they will be limited to the
six other main sections of Alpine Valley: 101 through 103 and 201 through 203. Seats
in sections 101 and 201 are odd numbered, with seats in 103 and 203 of Alpine Valley
being even numbered. Sections 102 and 202 at Alpine Valley use consecutive seat
numbers. For some shows at Alpine Valley, a pit section will be configured right
in front of the stage, allowing fans to push and shove their way to the front row.
Parking is available in four designated lots outside of Alpine Valley. VIP parking
is also available. Typically, lots open 5-6 hours prior to a show at Alpine Valley,
with gates opening 2 hours prior to the start of a show.
Alpine Valley Music Theater -
W2699 County Road D -
East Troy, Wisconsin 53120