Step Inside: Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center

Indiana may be the “Crossroads of America,” but it’s ground zero for some of the best outdoor music concerts in the country. That’s all thanks to the Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center, the largest open-air amphitheater in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

From jam bands to country music outlaws, the Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center has something for everyone. Here’s what to know about Indianapolis’ prominent entertainment venue.



1. It’s smack dab in America’s heartland.

Even though it’s located about 25 miles outside of Indianapolis, you wouldn’t know it by the amphitheater surroundings. Burbling creeks, placid lakes, and idyllic fields create a one-of-a-kind environment for concertgoers.


2. It opened with some homegrown talent.

Promoters didn’t have to look far to find their first headliner when the amphitheater opened in 1989. Grammy-winning gospel singer Sandi Patty – who grew up just 20 miles away in Anderson, Indiana – christened the stage.


3. It’s unmatched in its region.

With a combined capacity of approximately 24,000 (more than 6,000 pavilion seats and 18,000 general admission lawn seats), the Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center is the largest amphitheater in the Midwest. Considering the stiff competition in Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis, among other metropolises, that’s no small feat.


4. It can handle serious rock & rollers.

Guns N’ Roses has the distinction of performing with the latest start time at the amphitheater. The lights didn’t go up on Axl and the gang until after 11 p.m. at their May 1991 show.


5. It’s very popular with Deadheads. 

The Grateful Dead – in all of its different incarnations – have played the venue about as much as any other band. Dead & Company return to the venue on June 12, 2019.


6. It hosted a star-studded wedding reception.

Remember when Julia Roberts was married to country star Lyle Lovett? In 1993, after the pair tied the knot in nearby Marion, they held their wedding reception underneath a tent on the venue’s grounds – just before Lovett took the stage to play a concert later that night.


7. It’s featured some unusual backup singers.

In 2012, Katie Couric lent her some vocal chops to back up Jimmy Buffett on one of his regular tour stops at the venue, singing as one of his “Reeferettes” during a taping of her TV show, Katie.


8. Try the frozen custard.

A lot of concert venues have food options to accompany with the usual assortment of beer, wine and soda, but how many can say that they serve custard? Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center has a Ritter’s Frozen Custard kiosk on site – perfect for a warm summer night.


9. Imbibe summer cocktails.

Beer is always a solid choice for an outdoor concert, but if you really want to immerse yourself in the summertime vibes, grab a mojito or margarita from the venue’s many drink carts.


10. Plan on driving.

Indiana isn’t exactly known for its public transportation options. If you’re catching a show at one of the best Indianapolis concert venues, plan on driving. There’s a silver lining, though…


11. Parking is free.

That’s right, a parking pass is included with every ticket purchase, so you don’t have to worry about shelling out extra to park in the venue’s lot.


12. Skip the drink line.

The amphitheater has plenty of VIP options, including parking and seating choices, but the VIP Club is really where the action’s at. With the venue’s VIP bars, you can grab a drink and get back to the show without missing a single song.


13. Check out Indianapolis proper.

Indianapolis is always popping up in those “underrated cities” lists, and with good reason. This Midwestern metropolis has flown under the radar for a long time, but locals know they’ve got one of the best hidden secrets in the U.S. Head downtown to Mile Square to see what the Circle City has to offer. And if you’re visiting in May, the Indianapolis 500 is a no-brainer.


Add some shows to your concert calendar by checking out Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center’s schedule here, or in the widget below.

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