Summer Guide: Ten Best Summer Music Festivals

Westword Music Showcase returns for its twenty-second year.EXPAND
Westword Music Showcase returns for its twenty-second year.
Focus 4 Design

Colorado will host dozens of music festivals throughout the state over the next four months or so, many tailored to particular genres, whether it be bluegrass, folk, country, EDM or rock. Others run the gamut of styles. We’ve pared it down to ten must-see festivals (listed below in alphabetical order) — some of which have been around for decades and some that are brand-new.

Zac Brown Band is one of the headliners at Country Jam.
Zac Brown Band is one of the headliners at Country Jam.
Southern Grand

10. Country Jam
June 16-19, four-day passes start at $165
Country Jam Ranch, 1065 Highway 6 and 50
countryjam.com

Although it’s nearly a four-hour drive from Denver to Grand Junction, the ride to the 25th annual Country Jam might be worth it if you’re a hardcore country fan. Acts include some of the biggest names in the genre: Zac Brown Band, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Lee Brice, Trace Adkins, Aaron Watson, Big & Rich and Tyler Farr.

Blondie will be at the Divide Music Festival.
Blondie will be at the Divide Music Festival.
Debi Del Grande for LA Weekly

9. Divide Music Festival
July 22-24, $65-$345
Winter Park
dividemusicfestival.com

The debut three-day Divide Music Festival features a strong lineup of national acts, including Kid Cudi, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, the Fray, Cake, Passion Pit, Blondie and Bleachers, as well as a decent assortment of local acts, including Gasoline Lollipops, One Flew West, AMZY and Edison. The festival will also include Colorado craft beers, local-food artisans and camping.

Summer Guide: Ten Best Summer Music Festivals
Aaron Thackeray

8. Global Dance Festival
July 8-10, three-day pass $180-$300
Red Rocks
globaldancefestival.com

Over the past dozen years, Global Dance Festival has established itself as one the finest electronic-music festivals in the state, consistently bringing in some of the best names in EDM. This year’s lineup includes Above & Beyond, DJ Snake, Knife Party with Anna Lunoe, Autoerotique, Boombox Cartel, Bear Grillz, Brillz and more.

A view of the stage at Telluride Town Park.
A view of the stage at Telluride Town Park.
Mary Willson

7. Ride Festival
July 9-10, two-day pass $265
Telluride Town Park
ridefestival.com

Since making its debut in Telluride in 2012, the Ride Festival has been gathering steam, with bigger lineups every year. Pearl Jam is this year’s headliner; the bill also includes national acts Cage the Elephant, the Dirty Knobs, the Temperance Movement, Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons and Band of Heathens.

Fans at Riot Fest.
Fans at Riot Fest.
Aaron Thackeray

6. Riot Fest
September 2-4, three-day pass $169.98-$299.98
National Western Complex
riotfest.org/denver

Since Riot Fest came to Denver in 2013, the festival has booked some stellar lineups, like punk legends Iggy Pop & the Stooges and the Replacements, hip-hop greats Run DMC and De La Soul, and alt-rock stars like the Pixies and Guided by Voices. This year’s roster includes a reunion of original Misfits members Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only and Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, along with Ween, Death Cab for Cutie, Jane’s Addiction (performing Ritual de lo Habitual), Sleater-Kinney and more.

Read five more of the best summer music festivals in Colorado.


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