The 2013 Colorado music festival guide
Don't miss the nineteenth annual Westword Music Showcase on Saturday, June 22.
I know it's hard to imagine now, especially with the temperature outside and the blanket of snow currently covering the Front Range, but summertime is just around the corner, which means the festival season is just getting ready to kick off. We know this because we're in the middle of putting together our own annual festival as we speak. And we're not the only ones. Keep reading for a comprehensive list of festivals, including this weekend's Root 40 Music Festival and FoCoMx. (If we missed any, of course, please feel free to let us know, so we can update our list.)
Date: Wednesday, August 14 - Sunday, August 18
Location: Sunrise Ranch, Loveland, Colorado
Line-up: Xavier Rudd, Keller & The Keels, Zap Mama, Michal Menert, Freelance Whales, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Motet, Random Rab, Chali 2na, Kan'Nal, and more
Price: $160 general admission, $400 VIP, $1000 Super VIP, $50 vehicle pass, $125 small RV pass, $200 large RV pass, $300 VIP camping pass (includes three meals per day, area pool, hot tub, sauna, 24-hr access to indoor bathrooms)
Amenities: Themed Camps, Organic Food and Beverage Village, Kids Village, yoga, workshops, decompression with special extras to wind down perfectly after the weekend
About: This is the first year for Arise Music Festival, so the presenters want to pull out all the stops. Daryl Hannah will be presenting, along with Lisa Wimberger and global activist Xiuhtezcatl. This event promises to both enlighten and engage the audience with informative workshops on how to continue respecting our surroundings while leaving the smallest of carbon footprints.
Date: Saturday, September 14
Location: Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver, Colorado
Amenities: Located in the Theatre District, so all the amenities you'd expect downtown.
Date: Sunday, July 14
Location: Olde Town Arvada, Arvada, Colorado
Amenities: Food/beverage vendors
About: Last year, Blues and BBQ in Olde Towne Arvada was able to raise $20,000 for Habitat for Humanity, a goal the organizers are hoping to surpass this year. With eighteen bands on three different stages in the heart of Olde Towne, plus some of the finest mid-west barbeque smoking and grilling nearby, achieving that goal doesn't seem like it's that far-fetched.
Date: Saturday, June 1 - Sunday, June 2
Location: Civic Center Park, Denver, Colorado
Amenenties: Food/beverage vendors
About: This year marks the 42nd annual edition of this neighborhood festival. Over the course of two days, you'll be treated to tons of local acts appearing across the park on multiple stages.
The scene from last year's CMKY festival.
Date: April 25 - 28
Line-up: Alala.One, Andrew Weathers, Bones, Brandon Brown, Jen Lewin, John Templeton, DJ Stingray and more
Price: $75 weekender pass
Amenities: food/beverages, workshops, art installations
About: This being the sixth edition of Communikey Festival, the Boulder-based arts program has thrived with the music and arts community thanks to dedicated volunteers and staff. Presenting the new wave of artists, producers and DJs, Communikey brings to the light what used to sit nestled in the underground.
Catch Gaelic Storm and more at the Colorado Irish Festival July 12-14.
Kevin T. Gilbert
Date: Friday, July 12 - Sunday, July 14
Location: Clement Park, Littleton, Colorado
Line-up: Gaelic Storm, plus more TBA
Price: $10 per day, $25 three-day pass
Amenities: Irish food/beverage, Gaelic sporting events, vendors
About: On St. Paddy's day, everyone is Irish, and such is the case at the Littleton's Irish Festival. Hosting traditional gaelic music along with sporting events Hurling, Camogie, and Gaelic Football, there will be plenty of entertainment while you sip irish stouts and dance a jig.
Catch Kid Rock at Country Jam Colorado
Date: Friday, June 20 - Sunday, June 23
Location: Grand Junction, Colorado
Line-up: Montogomery Gentry, Pistol Annies, Kid Rock, Rascal Flatts, Uncle Kracker, Dustin Lynch, LoCash Cowboys, Parmalee and more
Price: $100-$225 depending on reserved seating, VIP seating, or luxury suites ($1200,) $20 camping pass required for camping
Amenities: Camping, on-site restroom facilities, food/beverage
About: This is a country festival through and through. Country Jam is Colorado's largest country music festival and allows for nearby camping and late-festivities bonfires with your friends. Bring as much beer as you can pack into a cooler, because three days camping and hell of a lot of country music will surely make you wanna crack a few cold ones and show off your favorite line dance.
Catch Vintage Trouble at Denver Day of Rock on May 25.
Date: Saturday May 25
Location: Downtown Denver, 16th Street Mall
Line-up: Austin Young Band, The Noms, Something Underground, Larkin Poe, and more
Amenities: Access to multiple stages, family friendly, food/beverages
About: Celebrated over Memorial Day weekend, Denver Day of Rock presents over 25 acts that are suitable for every age. Located in the heart of Downtown Denver, the event grants access to multiple stages spread out over 16th street mall, and offers all the amenities that the shopping strip has to offer.
Catch Lionel Young at Durango Blues Train.
Date: Friday, May 31 - Saturday, June 1
Location: On the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Rallroad traveling through the San Juan National Forest
Line-up: Peter Karp and Sue Foley, Lil' Brian& The Zydeco Travelers, Todd & The Fox, Lionel Young, Kirk James, Low Volts
Amenities: scenic views, restrooms, food/beverage
About: The steam engine that pulls the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad may look familiar: It was used in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and now operates as one of the most unique venues in America. Each car offers a different artist, and anyone in attendance is free to move between cars to see all the acts on the roughly three-hour roundtrip.
Catch Will Donato at Genuine Jazz and Wine this August.
Date: Friday, August 23 - Sunday, August 25
Location: Copper Mountain, Colorado
Line-up: Rick Braun, Will Donato, Elan Trotman, Marion Meadows
Price: on-sale April 19
Amenities: Food/beverage, restrooms facilities
About: Copper Mountain has great music every quarter to celebrate the change of seasons (or so it seems), including this jazz and wine festival. With a theme this year of "Sustainable - Biodegradable - Biodynamic," libation vendor Republic National Distribution Company delivers nearly twenty different wines for sampling every night of the festival.
Catch Fierce Bad Rabbit at FOCOMX and tons more at FoCoMx April 19-20.
Date: Friday April 19-20
Location: Fort Collins (various venues)
Line-up: After the Fire, Alexis Pastuhov, Broth, BONER, Colorado Swing Big Band, Common Anomaly, and tons more
Amenities: Food/beverages, micro-brews, multiple venue access
About: FoCoMx is celebrating it's half-decade birthday this year with over 200 bands spread across 20+ venues in downtown Fort Collins. You'll see live acts, blues rock, jam bands, hip-hop and electronic djs at this completely volunteer-run festival presented by the Fort Collins Musicians Association.
The scene from a past edition of the Global Dance Festival.
Date: Friday, July 19 - Sunday, July 21
Location: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Colorado
Line-up: Beats Antique, EOTO, OTT, Savoy with Sander Van Doorn, Emma Hewitt, Gramatik, GRiZ, MiMOSA, Kill Paris, Seven Lions, plus more to TBA.
Price: $45 per day pre-sale, $50 day-of at the door
Amenities: It's at Red Rocks: The best amenity is the ability to pre-game in the parking lot then saunter up the steps to bask in the strobed out neon glory of your favorite deejays.
About: In case you were wondering, the reason GDF has been around for over a decade now is because it's the biggest and best EDM festival in the summer months of Colorado. Deadmau5, Gareth Emery, Diplo, Paul Oakenfold, and other big names in EDM are all veterans of this Red Rocks staple event. Selling over 25,000 tickets last year, Triad Dragons have a keen ear as to what will produce the best show of the summer for dance music connoisseurs.
Date: Friday, May 17
Location: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Colorado
Line-up: Flux Pavilion, Excision, Zomboy, Dirtyphonics, Designer Drugs
About: In its sophomore year, Global Dub has already attracted a following -- branching off its sibling Global Dance Festival -- by blowing away the first year with Flux Pavilion and Doctor P. Red Rocks has been slammed with a lot of bass music (Bassnectar, Rusko, GDF,) but Global Dub Festival reminds people why dubstep will always have its place right next to the legends that have played between the rocks.
Catch Grace Potter and the Noctornals on Labor Day weekend at JasAspen Snowmass.
Date: Friday, August 30 - Sunday, September 1
Location: Snowmass Town Park
Line-up: Jason Mraz, Journey, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and more
Price: $175 three-day pass
Amenities: Food/beverage vendors, on-site restrooms, merchandise
About: As the aspens start to turn in autumn, the town of Aspen sees a beautiful transformation and has thusly brought a music festival to honor it. Of all the Colorado festivals, you're most likely to be in a family friendly environment, but the random Journey fan might burn the hair on daughter's head who is sitting on your shoulders when he raises his lighter to the air during the opening chords of "Wheels in the Sky."
Catch Kyle Hollingsworth at LoHi Music Festival this June.
Date: Saturday, June 15
Location: Highlands Neighborhood, Denver Colorado
Line-up: Kyle Hollingsworth Band, the New Mastersounds, Toubab Krewe, Poor Man's Whiskey, Springdale Quartet and more.
Ameneties: Food/beverage vendors
Catch the Head and the Heart at Music Fest this May.
Date: Saturday, May 25
Location: Magness Arena, Denver Colorado
Line-up: The Head and the Heart, Mayer Hawthorne, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, PLACES, Vetta Star and more.
Price: $29.95 ($9.95 students)
Ameneties: Food/beverage vendors, beer garden
Flobots' Music Matters festival debuts this May.
Date: May 10-11, 18-19, 24-25
Location: Sync Art Gallery, Colorado Arts Center, Center for Visual Arts, CHAC Gallery, Space Gallery
Price: $40 per day
Amenities food/beverages (ticket includes three drink tickets,) access to art galleries/venues
About: Flobots.Org, a local nonprofit organization responsible for granting several mediums of art to the public, presents Music Matters May. This festival spread out over three weekends and nine venues, and will deliver eighteen acts, as well as presenting local artist's work for viewing and sale.
Date: Friday, June 14 - Sunday, June 16
Location: Riverbend Park, Palisade Colorado
Line-up: Justin Townes Earle, the Devil Makes Three, Pokey LaFarge Joy Kills Sorrow and more.
Amenities: Camping, port-a-potties, free showers (8-11 a.m.), shuttles and lodging.
The scene from last year's Phibstock.
Date: Friday, August 2 - Sunday, 4
Location: Hartsel, Colorado
Line-up: Octopus Nebula, YAMN, The Congress, The Magic Beans, Sunsquabi, The Malah, Tiger Party, Astronomix, and more
Price: $55 early bird, $65-$75 general admission, VIP package forthcoming
Amenities: On-site camping, daytime activities, afforadable food and drink prices, ample restrooms (to avoid the dreaded flooded port-o-potty)
About: The founders of Phibstock approached for their festival with the idea of simply bringing jams and dance music to a remote location. Complete with disc golf courses, horse-back riding (maybe,) art installations, workshops, and scenic views, this camping destination is ideal for a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As an added bonus, Denver Disco will be playing set breaks, so prepare yourself for a funky mid-set dance party.
Catch Head for the Hills this July at Rockygrass.
Date: Friday, July 26 - Sunday, July 28
Location: Lyons, Colorado
Line-up: Del McCoury Band, Tim O/Biren, The Kruger Brothers, Jerry Douglas & Friends, Caolina Chocolate Drops, Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, Keller Williams with The Travelin' McCourys, Head for the Hills, and more
Amenities: on-site restroom facilities, food/beverage
About: Rockygrass is all about teaching you what bluegrass is with banjo workshops and contests, fiddle competitions, dobro contests, and more. Rockygrass offers not only an entertaining experience, but an educational one for musicians of all levels.
Catch NEEDTOBREATHE and a slew of other acts at the Root 40 Fest.
Date: April 21-27
Location:The Turnverein, Three Lions, Tatia, Cheeky Monk, Billy's Gourmet, Satire Lounge, Caffe Sanora, The Fillmore, Independent Records, Irish Snug, The L2, Lion's Lair, Ogden Theatre, Sancho's, Slice Works, St. John's, Squire, X-Bar, Fat Jack's, Kinga's, Prohibition, Tooey's, DP Dough
Line-up: Bonobo, Cheap Trick, Esme Patterson of Paper Bird, Simplemen, Roots and Rhythm, I'm With Her, Drop Switch, The A-OKs, and more
Price: prices subject to venue
Amenities: food/beverage, access to all venues on Colfax Avenue (Route 40)
About: A music festival on Colfax sounds like something that happens every week given the amount of venues, but the Root 40 Music Festival brings it all together for one week of dancing, music industry expos, and live music from national and local acts on some of the most famous venues in the country.
Date: Thursday, June 13 -Sunday, June 16
Location: Shadows Ranch, Georgetown, Colorado
Line-up: ZiLLA, OPIUO, VibeSquaD, Random Rab, The Polish Ambassador, Minnesota, Bluetech, Orchard Lounge, The Werks, ill.Gates, Cry Wolf, Unlimited Aspect, LYNX, and more
Price: $150-$195 general admission, $350 VIP includes meal tickets, drink tickets, VIP parking, VIP camping, t-shirt, poster, VIP balcony access and early entry
Amenities: on-site bathroom facilities, showers (for a small fee,) free workshops, yoga, vending, food/drinks, interactive art installations
About: This remote destination festival is nestled in the Georgetown valley and has a creek and lake right on the property. It features yoga classes in the morning, informative classes taught by Jamie Janover and other personalities in the afternoon, and music until the sun sets and rises, all of which make this one of the Colorado's favorite jam-tronic festivals.
Catch Mumford & Sons at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
Date: Friday, June 20 - Sunday, June 23
Location: Town Park festival grounds, Telluride, Colorado
Line-up: Mumford and Sons, Steep Canyon Rangers, Elephant Revival, Dispatch, The String Cheese Incident, Trampled by Turtles, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Telluride Troubadour
Amenities: Music classes with Bela Fleck, intimate late-night shows with headlining acts, and various workshops will be available throughout the days.
About: It's no surprise that this one sold out so fast. Telluride is one of most awe-inspiring towns in Colorado (view wise), and that, coupled with putting this amount of talent in one small town, makes these tickets some of the most coveted out there.
Date: July 18-21
Location: South Broadway district, Denver, Colorado
Line-up: Mudhoney, Born in the Flood, Cults, Baywood and more TBA
Price: $35 four-day wristband presale, $50 day of show, $80-$120 VIP badge
Amenities: Access to over ten venues with food and drink specials
About: South Broadway district in Denver is the hippest place in all of Colorado, so you'll be surrounded by musicians, artists, shopping and fashion. Plus, with all the venues, you'll get to try some of the best food and drinks in the whole city while checking out an array of local and national independent acts.
Date: Saturday, June 22
Location: Golden Triangle district, Denver, Colorado
Line-up: DADA LIFE, Trampled by Turtles, P.O.S., Nick Waterhouse, The Mowgli's, Colorado Symphony plays Beck with Nathaniel Ratliff and Otis Taylor, My Body Sings Electric, Hunter Hunted plus over 150 local acts
Price: $20 general admission, $75 VIP
Amenities: Your ticket includes access to over a dozen venues playing every genre of music imaginable.
About: Here you'll get more than 150 local acts on more than a dozen stages across the Golden Triangle, plus some national headliners on the mainstage you won't see anywhere else this summer. From Broadway Avenue to Elati, and 12th all the way down to 9th, Westword takes over bars, coffee shops, clubs, and venues to showcase all the best music coming out of Denver.
Catch Kool & the Gang at the Winter Park Jazz Festival this July.
Date: July 20-21
Location: Hideaway Park, Downtown Winter Park
Line-up: Kool & The Gang, Euge Groove with guest Jeff Gloub, The SOuthern Gentleman ft. Eric Essix, Joey SOmerville and Michael Ward, Dotsero and more
Price: $40 presale general admission, $50 day of at box office, $70 VIP
Amenities: lawn seating, food/beverages, scenic views, optional hiking
About: Jazz and the mountains seem to go together like snow and, well, the mountains. Winter Park offers up its take on the smooth listening while throwing in some funky grooves to boot.
Date: Friday, June 14 - Sunday, June 16
Location: Rancho Del Rio, State Bridge, Colorado
Line-up: Railroad Earth, Nershi's Joint Set, Elephant Revival, the Contribution, Honkytonk Homeslice, Poor Man's Whiskey, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and more.
Amenities: Camping, family camping, RV parking/camping, boat trailer parking, food/beverage vending.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.