Concerts

Ten of Colorado's Best Summer Music Festivals

Global Dance Festival returns to Empower Stadium at Mile High in July.
Global Dance Festival returns to Empower Stadium at Mile High in July. Miles Chrisinger
We just announced that the Westword Music Showcase will be returning September 17 and 18, this time in the RiNo Art District, with Young the Giant, Thundercat, Matoma, Hippo Campus and more than fifty local bands, followed by an exclusive indoor event at the Mission Ballroom with Kaytranada and Duke Dumont. While the pandemic wiped out a good portion of music festivals around the state last year, many more are back in force this year with something for pretty much anyone, whether you dig classical, jazz, rock, folk or EDM.

Here's our roundup of ten of the best music festivals happening around Colorado this summer while we wait for Showcase to return:


Bravo! Vail
Through August 4
Gerald R. Ford Amphitheatre and Vilar Center, Vail
Ticket prices vary
Bravo! Vail's 2021 iteration includes the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic — and seven leading conductors, including Jaap van Zweden, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Fabio Luisi. Soloists include Daniil Trifonov, Joshua Bell, Conrad Tao, Jean-Yyes Thibaudet, Yefim Bronfman, James Ehnes, Gil Shaham, Augustin Hadelich and more.

Colorado Music Festival
July 1 to August 7
Chautauqua Auditorium, Boulder
Ticket prices vary
This year's classical festival offers 22 diverse performances of orchestral and chamber music by the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra and guest artists alongside educational programming. Four world premieres include commissions by Hannah Lash on July 22, Joan Tower on July 25, and Joel Thompson on August 5, and a work from Aaron Jay Kernis on opening night, July 1, that commemorates the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The RIDE Festival
July 2 to 11
Various venues in Telluride
$95 to $4500

Since it started in 2012, the RIDE Festival has been a weekend-long festival, but this year's festival expands to ten days. The lineup includes Rival Sons, Warren Haynes, Citizen Cope, Black Pistol Fire, Yola, Joan Osborne, Big Something, Dorothy, Matt Berninger, Rose Hill Drive and more.

The Crested Butte Music Festival
July 23 to October 1
Various venues in Crested Butte
Ticket prices vary

The 25th season of the Crested Butte Music Festival includes classical, bluegrass, indie and gypsy jazz acts, as well as a new singer-songwriter camp. The lineup includes Anna Arzumanyan, Yonder Mountain String Band, Gypsy-Jazz All-stars, DeVotchKa, Alexander String Quartet, Don Byron and more.

Global Dance Festival
July 23 to 24
Empower Field at Mile High
$99 to $149
The two-day Global Dance Festival returns with a stellar lineup of EDM acts including Tiesto, Bass Physics, Brondo, Claude VonStroke, Decadon, Excision, Kaskade, Mersiv and many more.

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival
August 6 to 8
Planet Bluegrass Ranch, Lyons
Ticket prices vary

The lineup for the main stage of the 31st annual Folks Festival includes Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, Shakey Graves, Shawn Colvin, Hiss Golden Messenger, Darrell Scott, Mary Gauthier and more.

Breckenridge Music Festival
August 8 to 14
Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge
Free
The theme for the 2021 Breckenridge Music Festival, which includes the National Repertory Orchestra and the festival's artistic director/conductor Steven Schick, is “Awakening.” All of the programming is free. Attendees can reserve seats and find out more information at the Breckenridge Music Festival website.

Telluride Jazz Festival
August 13 to 15
Telluride Town Park
Three-day passes $190 and up
Telluride Jazz returns for its 44th year, with acts such as Galactic, Robert Glasper, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Budos Band, the Hot Sardines, Poncho Sanchez and more.

Underground Music Showcase
August 27 to 29
South Broadway
Three-day passes $50 and up
While the UMS lineup hasn't been announced yet, expect more than a hundred bands to play at a dozen venues along South Broadway over three days.

Seven Peaks
September 3 to 5
The Meadows, Buena Vista
Three-day passes: $215 to $1249

Country heavies Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban and Clay Walker headline the three-day Seven Peaks festival over Labor Day weekend.
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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