Concerts

Denver Botanic Gardens Cancels Its Summer Concert Series

Swallow Hill's summer concert series at the Denver Botanic Gardens has been canceled.
Swallow Hill's summer concert series at the Denver Botanic Gardens has been canceled. Aaron Thackeray
Yet another music festival cancellation comes as no surprise, but it hurts.

The Denver Botanic Gardens summer concert series, booked by folk institution Swallow Hill Music, has been canceled for 2020 over COVID-19 concerns.

The event has attracted more than 30,000 concert-goers and big-name artists to the DBG's York Street location every year. This summer's scheduled series included performances by Randy Newman, DeVotchKa and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

With every Red Rocks concert in June scrapped or pushed back, and many others in the summer season either canceled or rescheduled, Denver's live-music calendar over the next few months is pathetic — and that's assuming it's not obliterated altogether. Hudson Gardens, City Park Jazz, Denver Pride and plenty of other annual events have already been swiped. Venues including 3 Kings, Live @ Jack's and La Cour have announced that they're closed for good. While independent venues are rallying for government aid through the National Independent Venue Association, other club owners are considering folding.


Some leaders in the music industry are predicting that concerts will not return until 2021. Governor Jared Polis has suggested that no big events will happen in Colorado until there is a COVID-19 vaccine or cure, or sufficient herd immunity.

The loss of revenue from the cancellation of the summer concert series will hit both Swallow Hill and the Denver Botanic Gardens hard, as these shows are major revenue generators for both institutions.

“Thank you for being our friends as we journey down this long and winding road," says DBG Executive Director Brian Vogt. "Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow when concerts return to the Gardens.”

And at least it looks like you'll be able to stop and smell the roses soon: The Denver Botanic Gardens has applied for a variance with the City of Denver that would allow it to reopen, with proper social distancing, as early as this week; no announcement on that has yet been made.
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris