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:
ARISE Music Festival
Sunrise Ranch, Loveland
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.
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Blues From the Top
Single-day $46/VIP sold out; two-day pass $82/VIP $200
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.
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.
Three-day pass $165
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
Broncos Stadium at Mile High
Single-day $89-$99/VIP $119-$139; two-day pass $159-$189/VIP $239
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
Three-day pass $175 and up
JAS Labor Day Experience
August 30-September 1
$109.95 and up/three-day pass $279.95 and up
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.
One-day pass $75-$110; three-day pass $225/VIP $568
Widespread Panic kicks off this year’s RIDE Festival with a headlining set on Friday, July 12, then headlines again the following night. That alone is probably enough to get people to travel to Telluride, but the festival, which debuted in 2012, will also present such stellar talent as Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Big Something and Black Pistol Fire. Oh, and did we mention that it takes place in one of the most scenic places in the state?
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Seven Peaks Music Festival
August 30-September 1
Live Nation is bringing Seven Peaks back to Buena Vista for a second year over Labor Day weekend. The festival is heavy on country music, with headliners like Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Maren Morris and Travis Tritt performing on two stages over three days. And while Seven Peaks, which also includes bluegrass and Americana acts, is heavy on the music, there are ATV tours, inflatable kayaking, whitewater rafting and more available for adventure-loving fans.
Underground Music Showcase
Weekend pass $50
After seventeen years of being affiliated with the Denver Post, the UMS was sold last year to Denver production company Two Parts, which is producing this year’s three-day festival again. Honne, Chicano Batman, Black Mountain and Tuxedo are just a few of the headliners in a lineup that comprises more than 200 local and national acts.
Westword Music Showcase
Golden Triangle neighborhood
For a quarter of a century, the Westword Music Showcase has featured some of the best in local talent while also bringing in nationally recognized headliners. For its 25th edition, the one-day festival will present headliners JAUZ, CHVRCHES, Jai Wolf, Bishop Briggs, Crooked Colours, lovelytheband, The Knocks, The Wrecks and SHAED, as well as more than seventy local acts.
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