Music Festivals

Ten Best Music Festivals in Colorado This Summer

Westword Music Showcase celebrates its 25th anniversary this month.
Westword Music Showcase celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. Aaron Thackeray

It’s summer, and Colorado has no shortage of music festivals. There’s something for everyone, with stages across the state hosting jazz and blues, country and bluegrass, rock, EDM and more, in places ranging from Broncos Stadium at Mile High to the gorgeous mountain settings of Telluride and Snowmass. And because it’s Colorado, many of the fests have camping and outdoor activities attached.

Here’s our roundup of the ten best summer music festivals in Colorado, in alphabetical order:

click to enlarge A scene from the 2018 ARISE Music Festival at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland. - JAKE COX
A scene from the 2018 ARISE Music Festival at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland.
Jake Cox
ARISE Music Festival
August 2-4
Sunrise Ranch, Loveland
$99-$209
arisefestival.com

ARISE returns to Sunrise Ranch for its seventh year, bringing with it an eclectic lineup that includes electronica acts Tipper and Beats Antique and bluegrass bands Railroad Earth and Leftover Salmon, among many others. While music is the focus of the three-day fest, you’ll also find yoga sessions, a workshop series and various spiritual activities to round out your experience.

Blues From the Top
June 29-30
Winter Park
Single-day $46/VIP sold out; two-day pass $82/VIP $200
bluesfromthetop.org

Last year, Blues From the Top, hosted by the Grand County Blues Society, enjoyed record attendance numbers with headliners Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band and North Mississippi Allstars and other nationally recognized blues and roots talent. This year’s bill is equally impressive, with Lucinda Williams, the Allman Betts Band, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Samantha Fish Band and more over two days.


Country Jam
June 13-16
Grand Junction
$129-$185
countryjam.com

In the nearly three decades that Country Jam has been around, it’s established itself as the premier country-music festival in both Colorado and the United States. This year’s behemoth fest, which runs over four days, boasts superstar talent such as Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, Little Big Town and Alabama while also bringing in acts on their way up, like Morgan Myles and Lyssa Coulter.

Summer music festival season is here, and where better to enjoy it than in the Rocky Mountains? - BRANDON MARSHALL
Summer music festival season is here, and where better to enjoy it than in the Rocky Mountains?
Brandon Marshall
Folks Festival
August 16-18
Lyons
Three-day pass $165
bluegrass.com

While its name might suggest a program filled solely with folk artists, the Folks Festival, which started nearly three decades ago, hosts a number of non-folk acts, as well. This year that roster includes the Violent Femmes, Ben Folds, and St. Paul & the Broken Bones. But the three-day event promises plenty of acoustic-centric music, too, from the likes of Mandolin Orange and the East Pointers, and singer-songwriters Ani DiFranco, Patty Larkin and Josh Ritter.

Global Dance Festival
July 19-20
Broncos Stadium at Mile High
Single-day $89-$99/VIP $119-$139; two-day pass $159-$189/VIP $239
globaldancefestival.com

As far as electronic dance music parties go in Colorado, it doesn’t get much better than Global Dance Festival. After a decade-plus run at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Global Dance expanded two years ago to Sports Authority Field (now Broncos Stadium at Mile High). This year’s lineup includes world-renowned EDM talent like Diplo, Excision, Illenium and Galantis on five stages over two days.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass
June 20-23
Aspen
Three-day pass $175 and up
JAS Labor Day Experience
August 30-September 1
Snowmass
$109.95 and up/three-day pass $279.95 and up
jazzaspensnowmass.org

Jazz Aspen Snowmass, which was founded in 1991, splits the summer between two festivals. The Taj Mahal Quartet, Booker T. Jones and Patti Austin will headline JAS in June, which also includes jazz acts such as Richard Bona, Jose James and Etienne Charles, while the Labor Day Experience offers a more rock/pop-centric bill that includes Sting, John Mayer, Weezer and more.
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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon