OpenAir’s 2015 Guide To Colorado Summer Music Festivals

photo: UMS 2014 Night Crowd
The UMS Main Stage in 2014.

Colorado will host a wide variety of music festivals this summer, bringing internationally renowned acts like Modest Mouse, Mumford & Sons and Sufjan Stevens to the Centennial State while also showcasing local artists.

At established institutions like the Underground Music Showcase and Westword Music Showcase, recent additions like Riot Fest and new events like the Bluebird District Music Festival, fans of new music in Colorado will have ample options to get out and see live music in the coming warm and sunny months.

Here's our handy guide to the state's music festivals. Read up on what each event has to offer, and browse our interactive map for more details:

Gentlemen of the Road Salida Stopover

AUG. 21-22

Photo: Gentlemen of the Road sign

Photo: Gentlemen of the Road signBritish Grammy winners Mumford & Sons celebrate the release of their third album, "Wilder Mind," with a five-stop traveling festival which concludes in Salida. The two-day event features camping and local food and drink.

Highlights: Mumford & Sons, Flaming Lips, Jenny Lewis, tUnE-yArDs

Riot Fest

AUG. 28-30

photo: Riot Fest Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips perform at Riot Fest Denver 2014

photo: Riot Fest Flaming LipsAnother year means another location for Riot Fest. Previously taking place at May Farms in Byers and Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, Riot Fest will lay anchor at Denver's Western Stock Show Complex for 2015. Appropriately, the three-day event has rebranded itself as Riot Fest & Rodeo.

Highlights: Modest Mouse, Iggy Pop, Pixies, Run DMC, Speedy Ortiz

Telluride Blues & Brews Festival

SEPT. 18-20

Photo: Telluride Blues & Brews Festival

Photo: Telluride Blues & Brews FestivalNow entering its 21st year, Telluride Blues & Brews offers roots-centric music and craft microbrews from Colorado and beyond. Set in scenic Telluride at an altitude of 8,750 feet, the views at the festival led the late B.B. King to remark in 2004: "Out of the 90 different countries I've been to, I've never seen anything more beautiful than what you have here."

Highlights: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Gregg Allman, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

Past Events

Hi-Dive Garage Fest

June 5-6

photo: Hi-Dive guide 2
Hi-Dive exterior

Colorado craft brewery New Belgium presents Garage Fest at the Hi-Dive, one of Denver's best spots to see live rock music. Fourteen bands, including some of Colorado's most energetic performers, take over the South Broadway venue for two nights of garage, punk and blues rock.

Highlights: Zebroids, The Blue Rider, Colfax Speed Queen, Dirty Few

Westword Music Showcase


While most events listed here spread performances across a weekend, Westword Music Showcase manages to host over 100 performances in a single day. Denver's Golden Triangle district is the spot for this eclectic showing of local acts and national headliners organized by the free Denver weekly from which the event takes its name.

Highlights: Flume, The Black Angels, MisterWives, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, In the Whale

Bluebird District Music Festival

JULY 10-12

A new event in Denver, the Bluebird District Music Festival takes over East Colfax neighborhood venues the Bluebird Theater, Lost Lake Lounge, Goosetown Tavern, Southside Bar Kitchen and Park House for three days of local music. Over 80 bands are scheduled to perform for the inaugural local music festival.

Highlights: A. Tom Collins, Dragondeer, King Rat, Dirty Few

The Denver Post Underground Music Showcase

JULY 23-26

photo: UMS 2014 Residual Kid 1
Residual Kid performs at the 2014 Underground Music Showcase.

photo: UMS 2014 Residual Kid 1Colorado's premier event for local and independent music, the UMS boasts over 400 acts across Denver's South Broadway neighborhood, including the Hi-Dive, Skylark Lounge and the outdoor UMS Main Stage. With the high percentage of local artists performing, the four days of UMS provide a generous sampling of what Colorado has to offer musically.

Highlights: STRFKR, DIIV, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Tennis, Mac McCaughan

ARISE Music Festival

AUG. 7-9

Loveland's Sunrise Ranch will host ARISE once again in 2015. The lineup is heavy on jam bands and electronica, with a number of Colorado acts filling out the bill. In addition to music, ARISE offers yoga and workshops with a focus on honing creativity and harmony.

Highlights: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, The Congress, Shook Twins

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival

AUG. 14-16

Photo: Rocky Mountain Folks Festival

Photo: Rocky Mountain Folks FestivalNow in its 25th year, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival prides itself on mellow moods, scenic views and gifted performers. Set in Lyons, which NPR once dubbed "the Nashville of the Rockies," the event will feature indie singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens' sole Colorado performance of 2015.

Highlights: Sufjan Stevens, Jason Isbell, Richard Thompson

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest

AUG. 14-16

This free, all-ages event in downtown Fort Collins is set to bring three nationally renowned headliners along with a healthy showing of Colorado bands for its 11th year. NewWestFest also offers arts and crafts, food and a carnival to add to the festival atmosphere.

Highlights: TBA