Dierks Bentley performs at the 2016 NFL Kickoff concert in Denver's Civic Center Park on September 8, 2016.EXPAND
Dierks Bentley performs at the 2016 NFL Kickoff concert in Denver's Civic Center Park on September 8, 2016.
Brandon Marshall

The Thirteen Best Country-Music Arena Shows of Summer 2017

Hold on to your hats, y'all! Summer is right around the bend, signaled in Denver by snowmelt and the opening of Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado’s altar to outdoor music. While it’s the season of eclectic festivals and all-day electronica, fans of arena shows and country music are in luck, with these thirteen major concerts hitting the Denver area this summer.

Country star Chris Stapleton performed two sold-out nights at the Fillmore in May 2016.
Country star Chris Stapleton performed two sold-out nights at the Fillmore in May 2016.
Brandon Marshall

1. Chris Stapleton's "All American Road Show"
Tuesday, May 23 and Wednesday, May 24
Red Rocks Amphitheatre

After years in the country-music industry as a songwriter, Chris Stapleton barreled into the spotlight last year with his debut album Traveller, which swept the 2016 CMAs and made him a star. Stapleton injects his “classic country” sound with smooth soul and slower tempos, while still moving massive crowds. His new album dropped in early May, and he’ll play two nights at Red Rocks with Brothers Osborne and Lucie Silvas.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers celebrate the band's fortieth anniversary this year.EXPAND
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers celebrate the band's fortieth anniversary this year.
Katie Moulton

2. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Monday, May 29, and Tuesday, May 30
Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Despite Tom Petty's comments in 2013 that country music had become "incredibly generic" and has been "missing that magic element" of the country of yesteryear, contemporary artists can't stop name-checking him in their radio hits, from Tim McGraw to Canaan Smith. Petty even made a best-of list called the CMT All-Time Top 40: Artists Pick as the No. 22 country musician. This year, the Heartbreakers are celebrating the band's fortieth anniversary, and the two-night sold-out stand at Red Rocks should be a huge party.

3. John Mellencamp with Emmylou Harris, Carlene Carter, Lily & Madeleine
Monday, June 5
Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre

Okay, so John Mellencamp is the quintessential heartland rocker, but he's filling out the bill of his summer tour with country crossover heavy hitters. Lily & Madeleine are an up-and-coming folksy sister duo from Mellencamp's part of Indiana, and Carlene Carter is a country-music legacy. Emmylou Harris, who turned seventy this year, continues to put out excellent, eclectic albums with Rodney Crowell.

Brad Paisley comes to the Pepsi Center in July.
Brad Paisley comes to the Pepsi Center in July.
Eric Gruneisen

4. Brad Paisley
Saturday, July 15
Pepsi Center

Brad Paisley released his eleventh studio album, Love and War, in late April, and keeps popping up in those Nationwide Insurance commercials, continuing his reign as one of country's most visible stars. This summer he'll stop by the Pepsi Center with Dustin Lynch and Chase Bryant.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will play a two-night stand at the Pepsi Center.EXPAND
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will play a two-night stand at the Pepsi Center.
Facebook

5. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
Monday, July 31, and Tuesday, August 1
Pepsi Center

The coupling of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill has been the #RelationshipGoals of the country-music world for twenty years. This year the pair released its first duets album, and they're backing it up with the Soul2Soul World Tour. The country prom king and queen will play two nights at Denver's Pepsi Center.

6. Darius Rucker
Tuesday, August 1
Red Rocks Amphitheatre

In 2008, when Darius Rucker made the transition into country music with the single "Don't Think I Don't Think About It," listeners' first reactions were often "Who?" then "Hootie?!" That song eventually made it to the top of the charts, making Rucker the first solo African-American artist to hit number one in country since 1983. Nearly ten years, multiple Grammys and a string of huge hits later, it's hard to imagine a country-music landscape without Rucker and his tremulous baritone voice.

Read on for seven more of the biggest country concerts coming to Denver.

Dwight Yoakam opening for Eric Church at the Pepsi Center.EXPAND
Dwight Yoakam opening for Eric Church at the Pepsi Center.
Miles Chrisinger

7. Dwight Yoakam
Thursday, August 3
Denver Botanic Gardens

After selling 25 million records and topping country charts for decades, Dwight Yoakam made the full transition to bluegrass last year with the release of Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars... This August, Yoakam will play under the stars during the Denver Botanic Gardens' concert series.

Miranda Lambert will play Red Rocks Amphitheatre in August.
Miranda Lambert will play Red Rocks Amphitheatre in August.
Eric Gruneisen

8. Miranda Lambert
Tuesday, August 8, and Wednesday, August 9
Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Miranda Lambert is arguably the reigning ruler of country music, venerated for her performance and songwriting styles that mix vulnerability and fire. She's come a long, long way since finishing third on the TV competition Nashville Star in 2003, and this summer she's on tour in support of last year's The Weight of These Wings.

Maren Morris is part of the latest vanguard of mainstream country music: irreverent, feminist, and drawing from pop and R&B.
Maren Morris is part of the latest vanguard of mainstream country music: irreverent, feminist, and drawing from pop and R&B.
Robby Klein

9. Sam Hunt and Maren Morris
Monday, August 21, and Tuesday, August 22
Red Rocks Amphitheatre

An award-winning songwriter, Sam Hunt broke out as a solo artist with bro-country anthem "Leave the Night On." Though Hunt headlines two nights at Red Rocks this August, he may be upstaged by someone else on the bill: Maren Morris. The singer-songwriter's debut single "My Church" keeps gaining new devotees, and picked up a Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance.

10. Lady Antebellum
Tuesday, August 29
Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre

Lady Antebellum's three members have taken time apart recently to work on solo projects, but now the Grammy-winning trio is reunited and on tour. The band best known for crossover hit "Need You Now" just released "You Look Good," a good-time groove that indicates that the new album will again pull liberally from pop, funk and rock influences.

Dierks Bentley performs at the 2016 NFL Kickoff concert in Denver's Civic Center Park on September 8, 2016.EXPAND
Dierks Bentley performs at the 2016 NFL Kickoff concert in Denver's Civic Center Park on September 8, 2016.
Brandon Marshall

11. Dierks Bentley
Saturday, September 2
Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre

Amid confetti and spare OneRepublic members, Dierks Bentley performed in Denver last fall for the 2016 NFL season kickoff concert. The country singer-songwriter behind "Drunk on a Plane" returns this September in support of his latest album, Black.

Sturgill Simpson will be at Red Rocks in September.
Sturgill Simpson will be at Red Rocks in September.
Mike Brooks via Dallas Observer

12. Sturgill Simpson
Monday, September 25
Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Though snubbed for top honors at last year's CMA's, Sturgill Simpson is riding high after a memorable performance on SNL and his stunning album A Sailor's Guide to Earth (which did pick up the Grammy for Best Country Album). His victory tour includes some of the country's biggest landmark venues, including Radio City Music Hall, L.A.'s Greek Theatre, and of course, our own Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

The Thirteen Best Country-Music Arena Shows of Summer 2017
Courtesy of the artist

13. Florida Georgia Line
Saturday, September 30
Pepsi Center

Yeah, Florida Georgia Line is still a thing. The duo was discovered at a county fair by the manager of Nickelback, and broke into the mainstream in 2012. Since then, FGL has become the highly lucrative LMFAO of country music, known for its party-rock songs about mindless good times — as well as unexpected collaborations, such as "Last Day Alive" with the Chainsmokers. The group's remix of "Cruise," featuring Nelly, hit number four on the Billboard Hot 100, and the rapper joins FGL on its current tour.

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >