Concerts

Thirteen Big Country Concerts Coming to Colorado in Summer 2018

Kacey Musgraves performed at Fiddler's Green on July 30, 2016.
Kacey Musgraves performed at Fiddler's Green on July 30, 2016. Brandon Marshall

What Makes You Country — that's the name of the biggest country-music tour of summer 2018, put on by the bro-kings of mainstream country: Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, Jon Pardi and more. But the question of what makes you country is changing in the wake of shifting political/social norms (however slight or submerged these shifts may be), and many of the major country acts today look and sound different. This year, the biggest names to hit Colorado stadiums and amphitheaters include several artists who aren't afraid to challenge outdated traditions and who take no shit — and they do it all with a twang.

ERIC GRUNEISEN
Eric Gruneisen
Taylor Swift
Friday, May 25
Pepsi Center

We can assume Taylor Swift's return to Denver (after winning her case against the local DJ who groped her) will be triumphant, but it may not be technically "country." Swift launches her world stadium tour in May, in support of Reputation, her poppiest album to date, and is bringing along decidedly dance-pop opening acts Camila Cabello and Charli XCX. Still, Swift is known for putting on a good show, and let's be honest: You never bought her albums for her pickin' skills.

click to enlarge Miranda Lambert performed at Red Rocks in August 2017. - MILES CHRISINGER
Miranda Lambert performed at Red Rocks in August 2017.
Miles Chrisinger
Country Jam Colorado
Thursday, June 14, to Saturday, June 16
Country Jam Ranch, Mack

This mainstream-country festival is in Mack, outside Grand Junction, but its lineup of big-name stars is enough to get you over the mountains. This year the three-day camping fest is calling itself the "biggest party in Colorado," with headliners Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Eldridge, Big & Rich, Dustin Lynch and many more.

click to enlarge Fans at a Sugarland concert at Fiddler's Green. - WESTWORD ARCHIVE
Fans at a Sugarland concert at Fiddler's Green.
Westword archive
Sugarland
Thursday, June 21
Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre

In the seven years since Sugarland's last hit single, singer Jennifer Nettles released three solo projects and started an acting career and a family, while Kristian Bush has served as a successful producer for other artists. But now Sugarland has reunited and is hitting the road together again. Though the duo released a new single, "Still the Same," it has yet to give details on the forthcoming album. The show includes openers Clare Bowen (of Nashville) and Brandy Clark.


Dustin Lynch will perform at the Greeley Stampede. - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
Dustin Lynch will perform at the Greeley Stampede.
Courtesy of the artist

Dustin Lynch
Friday, June 22
Greeley Stampede

Dustin Lynch has made a name for himself with pop-rock-inflected country hits like "Seein' Red" and "Small Town Boy," and by opening for heavyweights including Luke Bryan and Brad Paisley. Lynch recently released his third album, Current Mood, and makes no bones about his non-country pop influences, citing Sugar Ray, Imagine Dragons and even millennial EDM. He will headline one of the nights of the Greeley Stampede's concert series.

Darius Rucker will perform during the Greeley Stampede's summer concert series. - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
Darius Rucker will perform during the Greeley Stampede's summer concert series.
Courtesy of the artist
Darius Rucker
Saturday, June 23
Greeley Stampede

In 2008, Darius Rucker surprised general audiences when he re-emerged following his ’90s alt-pop stardom with Hootie and the Blowfish — as a cowboy-hatted mainstream country act. He's beaten the odds, churning out hit after hit, including most recently "If I Told You," which reached number one in 2016. That was the lead single off When Was the Last Time, his seventh studio album as a country artist. Now it's hard to imagine country radio without Rucker's signature voice.

The Roots & Boots tour features ’90s country stars, including Sammy Kershaw and Aaron Tippin. - WESTWORD ARCHIVE
The Roots & Boots tour features ’90s country stars, including Sammy Kershaw and Aaron Tippin.
Westword archive
Roots & Boots Tour: Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye, Aaron Tippin
Saturday, June 30
Greeley Stampede

Know how you're always saying that country music doesn't sound, well, country anymore? This is the nostalgia trip for you! The Greeley Stampede will host the Roots & Boots Tour, spotlighting country artists that hew to more traditional sounds — or at least sound like ’90s country radio. Sammy Kershaw has released sixteen albums but is still best known for his perennial hit "She Don't Know She's Beautiful." Other performers include Collin Raye, best known for the heart-rending ballad "Love, Me," and Aaron Tippin, known for his neo-traditional songs focused on working-class and patriotic narratives, such as "You've Got to Stand for Something" and "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly."


click to enlarge Kenny Chesney headlines Sports Authority Field at Mile High in June. - ERIC GRUNEISEN
Kenny Chesney headlines Sports Authority Field at Mile High in June.
Eric Gruneisen
Kenny Chesney
Saturday, June 30
Mile High Stadium

Kenny Chesney will bring his patented toes-in-the-sand country anthems to Denver this summer with his Trip Around the Sun stadium tour. When not serving as one of pop-country's veteran megastars, Chesney has been funding the rescue of pets abandoned in the Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma. Popular up-and-comers Thomas Rhett and Old Dominion will serve as opening acts.

Read on for six more big country concerts of summer 2018.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.