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Remembering Green Lake’s Aqua Theater


Seattle’s Greenlake Aqua Theater once hosted a number of big rock bands including the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin (Image courtesy History Link)

There are plenty of outdoor concerts and unique venues in our area for summer music lovers. But in the summer of love, one unique Seattle destination stood out. This week on Seattle Sounds we’re remembering Green Lake’s Aqua Theater.

“It was built for Seafair back in its uber glory days in the early 1950’s for a musical water show,” says Seattle historian Feliks Banel. “But then they saw that space was available and rock and roll was on the rise.”

The setting at the South end of Green Lake was unique. Bands performed on a floating stage while the audience watched from an amphiteater on the shore.

The summer of 1969 saw some of the biggest bands perform, including the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin.

“Because it was on Green Lake you could just take a rowboat and just paddle up and watch the show from behind the stage in a boat or you could just swim out in the lake or sit out on an inner tube.”

Banel says time ultimately caught up with Aqua Theater, and the Dead’s Augsut 21, 1969 concert would be the last on the lake.

“At that point they figured it’s about 20 years old and it’s not safe to pack the place and put on big musical shows,” Banel says.

Listen to the Grateful Dead’s 1969 Green Lake show here.

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