The hills are alive with the sound of music every Colorado summer, and this year there are dozens of music festivals geared to just about every genre you can imagine. We've pared that list down to our ten favorites (plus a bonus at the end!).
Hummingbird Ranch, Rye
Four-day passes $222-$525
Hummingbird Ranch, which is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive south of Denver, is the home of Sonic Bloom, a four-day camping festival that hosts dozens of electronica acts such as Shpongle, Keys N Krates, Nightmares on Wax, EOTO and Break Science. During the three days leading up to the festival, the Sonic Bloom Academy offers painting and music production classes, making for a full week of countercultural fun.
Jam Ranch, Grand Junction
Four-day passes $119 to $215
With more than 92,000 fans at last year’s Country Jam, this festival is easily the biggest event in the state. It brings in some of the biggest names in country music over four days; headliners this year include Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert and Brett Eldredge.
The RIDE Festival
Telluride Town Park
Two-day passes $120 to $525
Since debuting six years ago, the RIDE Festival has grown in stature, thanks to some heavy headliner power contributed by such acts as Pearl Jam and Widespread Panic. This year, the String Cheese Incident headlines both nights, while Sheryl Crow, Grace Potter, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead and many more acts are also on the bill.
ARISE Music Festival
Sunrise Ranch, Loveland
One-day pass $99, three-day passes $229
ARISE has a great lineup of electronic, funk, reggae and other acts this year, including Slightly Stoopid, Thievery Corporation, Opiuo, Stick Figure, Trevor Hall and Pepper; they'll play on seven stages over three days. But there’s a lot more than just music happening at this fest; you'll also be able to enjoy yoga, documentary films, art installations, live painters, performance artists and theme camps.
Vans Warped Tour
When it started in 1995, the Vans Warped Tour was geared toward skaters, but it's since grown into one of the best traveling punk, rock and ska tours in the country. Sadly, this year marks the final run for the tour, but it's going out with a bang: The lineup includes 3OH!3, Black Veil Brides, Reel Big Fish and a few dozen other acts playing on five stages in the Pepsi Center parking lot.
Global Dance Festival
Mile High Stadium
Single-day pass $89 to $99, two-day pass $159 to $189
The Global Dance Festival had a long run at Red Rocks, but last year's move to the parking lot of Mile High Stadium proved so successful that it's returning there this year. The lineup includes such EDM stars as deadmau5, Future, Tiësto and Flux Pavilion, along with a slew of other electronic-centric acts.
Telluride Jazz Festival
Telluride Town Park
For more than four decades, the Telluride Jazz Festival has been celebrated as one of the most scenic music events in the country. While the weekend kicks into high gear during the day with nationally recognized talent like Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, Irma Thomas, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and BADBADNOTGOOD, there’s also a lot happening during the festival’s Jazz After Dark shows at various venues, including Gogo Penguin at the Liberty Bar & Lounge.
Parking Lot B, 2700 block of Blake Street
$10 to $600
The three-day Velorama festival returns for a second year, as the big entertainment component of the Colorado Classic bicycle race. The sophomore class promises to bring plenty of music to RiNo, with Glass Animals, Matt and Kim, Cold War Kids, the Kills and more.
JAS Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience
August 31-September 2
Snowmass Town Park
Three-day pass $249.95
While JAS Aspen Snowmass has jazz acts booked from June through August, the three-day Labor Day lineup is more focused on rock and pop acts such as Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson and Michael Franti & Spearhead. Atlanta-based country outfit Zac Brown Band and Austin’s blues-rock guitarist and singer Gary Clark Jr. share the stage on September 2.
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Three-day passes $259.50-$674.50
The co-creators of Bonnaroo and Outside Lands (both massive music festivals) aim to create a festival of the same caliber with the first-ever Grandoozy. The three-day event boasts such headliners as Kendrick Lamar, Florence + the Machine and Stevie Wonder, but other scheduled acts like the Chainsmokers, Logic, Sturgill Simpson and Miguel can be just as compelling in the live setting.
Westword Music Showcase
The Golden Triangle
Tickets $55 and up
The Westword Music Showcase, the largest single-day festival celebrating the Denver scene, returns to the Golden Triangle on Saturday, June 23. Our 24th annual music festival will be better than ever, with such national headliners as Galantis, Bonobo (live), St. Lucia, The Front Bottoms, Joywave, Phantoms, Treepeople, MAGIC GIANT, Sunflower Bean and Tracksuit Wedding, as well as more local bands than you can hear in a day, performing at venues throughout the neighborhood. General admission tickets start at $55; the VIP experience (21+ only) includes access to all Showcase venues, a VIP entrance to the outdoor area, special viewing spaces by the two main stages, and a VIP retreat. Watch for updates on westword.com/music.