It took until late May, but Colorado finally seems to be done with winter weather (for now). And the forthcoming days of sunshine and mountain splendor have got us thinking about summer music festival season.
Despite major events like Grandoozy and Velorama not returning this year, Colorado continues to be a destination for music fans of all kinds to enjoy some outdoor performances. We've highlighted 12 events that Colorado music fans should keep in mind this summer.
Read about the dates, location and lineup of each event below.
Daniel Mescher/CPR NewsTelluride Bluegrass Festival
The summer solstice arrives while this event is underway. It's the first of four fests in the southwestern Colorado town of Telluride on this list. The lineup goes well beyond bluegrass, with acts like Lake Street Dive incorporating some rock and pop.
Highlights: Brandi Carlile, Lake Street Dive, Jim James, Gregory Alan Isakov
(Photo: courtesy of the artist)Westword Music Showcase
Westword Music Showcase kicked off in 1995 in Denver's LoDo neighborhood, the same year Coors Field opened in that same area. Now in its 25th year, the event continues to champion the local music scene as it did in its first year, albeit in a different neighborhood and with a slew of electronica headliners from out of town.
Highlights: CHVRCHES, Jai Wolf, Spirettes
(Photo: CPR)The Ride Festival
The most rock music-leaning Telluride event here, The Ride Festival features outdoor stages in the gorgeous mountain terrain as well as indoor performances at the historic Sheridan Opera House, built in 1913.
Highlights: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Yawpers, Black Pistol Fire
Electronic dance music continues to thrive in Colorado, and this is one of the biggest collections of EDM acts you'll find here this year. Broncos Stadium at Mile High hosts two days of flashing lights, bass drops and glow sticks.
Highlights: Diplo, Elohim, Galantis
CPR / Daniel MescherThe Underground Music Showcase
We're thrilled to present this year's Underground Music Showcase as an exclusive media partner. Last summer the long-running indie music festival had a huge turnout in its first year of new ownership, thanks to several more outdoor stages in the South Broadway neighborhood. We expect an even bigger party this year with more than 200 artists spanning just about every genre you can think of.
Highlights: Honne, Chicano Batman, Y La Bamba
The opportunity for camping at a music festival always enhances the experience. ARISE offers that and more, including yoga and art classes. This year features a special Tom Petty tribute led by singer-songwriters John Craigie and Jay Cobb Anderson.
Highlights: Beats Antique, The Reminders, John Craigie
Come for the jazz, funk, and soul acts playing to mountain backdrops during the day. Stay for the Jazz After Dark club shows at night. Either way, you've got plentiful opportunities to get your musical fill in mid-August.
Highlights: Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Mattson 2
While this free three-day event in Fort Collins has stepped up its national headliner game in recent years, it's still one of the best opportunities to discover Colorado artists each summer.
Highlights: Andrew Bird, Tank & The Bangas, The Still Tide
(photo: CPR / Kegan Warner)Rocky Mountain Folks Festival
A short drive from Denver, Boulder or Fort Collins, this Lyons festival offers camping and outdoor music along the St. Vrain River. In addition to nationally-renowned acts, a collection of aspiring musicians will square off in the Songwriter Showcase.
Highlights: Ben Folds, Violent Femmes, Haley Heynderickx
Aug. 30 - Sept. 1
JAS stands for "Jazz Aspen Snowmass," but this Labor Day weekend event goes well beyond that genre. The lineup is small compared to the other events on this list, but it features some alt-rock heavy hitters in one of Colorado's more popular tourist destinations.
Highlights: Weezer, Portugal. The Man, ZZ Ward
This event promises two nights of heaviness. With a lineup full of metal, electronic, noise and hardcore acts across three Denver venues (Bluebird Theater, Lost Lake and Goosetown Tavern), be sure to bring your earplugs.
Highlights: Lightning Bolt, Church Fire, Echo Beds
CPR / Irvin CoffeeTelluride Blues & Brews
Your last option for a summer music festival in Colorado is also a great one. Along with an assortment of craft beer from Colorado and beyond, Blues & Brews offers a particularly strong lineup of acts past and present.
Highlights: John Fogerty, Durand Jones & the Indications, Low Cut Connie
Use our Colorado summer festival map to help plan your next musical road trip:
Any events we missed? Let us know by contacting the author via the email address below. For classical music events, submit the information here.
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