The 2016 Guide to Live Music in the Mountains

The leaves are changing and temperatures are dropping, which can only mean that ski season is quickly approaching. And while skis and snowboards are getting dug out of closets and storage units all over the Front Range, the mountains are about to be alive with the sound of music. Yes, even though Red Rocks will wind down at the end of the month, most resorts open early November and will feature live music to draw in concert-goers. The Snowboard on the Block Festival at Sculpture Park in downtown Denver already got action-sports aficionados in the mood with a rail jam and performances by Chief Keef, Afroman and Wolfmother. So while you hit the elliptical to train, we’ve done the leg work of gathering everything you need to know about upcoming concerts and music festivals at ski resorts across the state.

1. Arapahoe Basin Fall Concert: DOWN2FUNK
Arapahoe Basin
Saturday, October 29

A-Basin won the annual #RaceToOpen this year, and now it's first on this list of snowy shindigs. A-Basin will host a free daytime concert this Saturday with Colorado band DOWN2FUNK. Blending funk, lyrical hip-hop and psychedelic rock solos, DOWN2FUNK also played the inaugural ARISE music festival, getting listeners up and grooving to party songs and covers. 

2. Gogol Bordello
Belly Up, Aspen
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A band of gypsies in a playground for millionaires? Long-running band Gogol Bordello will be stopping by Belly Up during Thanksgiving week to bring its Eastern European brand of punk rock to Aspen. The songs “Wonderlust King” and the vibrant "Start Wearing Purple" highlight singer Eugene Hutz's accented voice. Gogol Bordello's roots are in folk and punk music, with accordions and violin emphasizing the band's old-world theatrics. The unique sound makes you feel as though you're dancing on tables, spilling vodka on soldiers in a pre-Soviet country. For when you want to get away from your getaway.

3. Dew Tour Presented by Mountain Dew
December 6-11, 2016

The ski and snowboard competition Dew Tour hits Breckenridge this December. The event starts with athletes' practices on December 6, and the festivities culminate after the ski-team final with a free concert held at the Riverwalk Center on Saturday, December 10. The featured artist has not yet been announced, but the weekend is full of entertainment.

4. A-Basin turns 70!
Arapahoe Basin
December 9-10, 2016

Yes, the mountain favorite is throwing a big bash this December for its seventieth birthday. Live music has been promised, but an announcement of the artists is still pending. Riders can take advantage of huge discounts during the weekend, with children’s lift passes priced at $19 and adult lift passes at $46 each day of the weekend to commemorate the resort's 1946 opening. Announcements will be made soon at

5. Vail Snow Daze with Michael Franti and Lettuce
December 9-10, 2016

In an action-packed resort weekend, Vail will throw a winter celebration with free concerts on Friday and Saturday nights, sponsored by Pepsi and Bud Light. These concerts will feature two chill and popular artists: Michael Franti and Lettuce. On Friday, December 9, Franti brings soul and uplift to all of his music, whether the sound is drawing from rock, reggae or rap. Read more in our interview with Franti before his last show at Red Rocks.

The Saturday performance features Lettuce, and the jam-band funk is sure to heat up Vail Village. The bandmembers of this Colorado cult favorite met at the Berklee College of Music and have been cultivating dance parties at their concerts for over two decades.

Read on for four more mountain concerts this ski season.
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