Three Colorado Festivals to Put on Your Summer Calendar

Crush crushed it in 2016.
Crush crushed it in 2016.
Lindsey Bartlett
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Every weekend from now until the snow falls (and beyond), Colorado's cultural calendar will be full of festivals, celebrating everything from light to sound to Shakespeare. Here are three favorites that were honored in the Best of Denver 2017 and will return this summer; they deserve a spot on your personal calendar.

Best New Festival
WAVE: Light + Water + Sound, Breckenridge
Returning June 1-4, 2017

BreckCreate aims a little higher than the usual mountain-town arts organization, taking simple “festivals” to new levels. WAVE, an early-season spectacle inspired by Scottsdale’s Canal Convergence that debuted in Breckenridge last summer, spread interactive artworks and music throughout the town, inviting tourists and townies alike to experience a big-city art experience at a higher elevation. WAVE will return this year on June 1, bringing another round of exciting water projections and adventures in light and sound to Breckenridge as the mountain town gears back up for the summer season. Get the full schedule here.

Best Annual Festival
2500-3500 blocks of Larimer Street
Returning September 11-17, 2017

Do you love the smell of aerosol in the morning? Do you realize that street art is so much more than graffiti? Then you’ll have a crush on Crush. Now heading into its seventh year, the festival welcomes over eighty local, national and international street artists who paint walls in RiNo between 25th and 39th streets along Larimer and in the alleys just east and west of Larimer along that stretch — all with the property owners’ blessing. Crush founder Robin Munro has been working hard to push the RiNo Art District as a leader in the urban arts scene — not just in this state, but in the country — and many street-art legends have made their mark at Crush, including Tats Cru, Woes, David Shillinglaw, Lauren YS, Max Sansing, Dulk 1, Blaine Fontana, Birdcap, Scribe, Jose Mertz, Sense, Rodwasworld, Elle Street Art, Shalak Attack and Bruno. Watch for Crush to crush it September 11 through September 17 this year. Find out more on the Crush website.

Best Theater Under the Stars
Colorado Shakespeare Festival
University of Colorado Boulder
Returning June 11-August 14

There’s no better way to see Shakespeare than in the fine, old outdoor Mary Rippon Theatre — particularly since amplification was provided a few years back (before that, actors’ voices were sometimes drowned by traffic on Broadway) and comfortable seats are provided to set atop the stone benches. The atmosphere is magical. This year’s outdoor offerings at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival are The Taming of the Shrew and Julius Caesar, and there will be a special reading of Henry VI, Part 3, presented on two nights. Hamlet and Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead will be shown inside, at the University Theatre. Find the full schedule on the Colorado Shakespeare Festival site.

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