Spring is wrapping up, and it’s time to make summer plans. Colorado has an amazing music festival scene, full of folk, electronica, and rock. In fact, Telluride alone hosts summer festivals that highlight bluegrass, chamber music, and jazz. There are so many great summer music fests scattered throughout the state that it can be as overwhelming as it is exciting. So we put together a quick guide with some of our favorites, to help you outline your “must-go’s.” Happy summering, and enjoy the music!
Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 20-23)A rootsy music fest in a canyon, surrounded by the gorgeous San Juan mountains, featuring artists such as Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgaves, and Sam Bush? Yes, please! This family-friendly event is four days and three nights of campfires, folk, bluegrass and Americana, plus music workshops, and friendly people. Some festival-goers have been attending for 40 years.
Denver Underground Music Showcase (July 26-28)
If you love indie music, UMS is the festival for you. Now in its 19th year, this the largest indie rock showcase in the Rocky Mountains, featuring hundreds of performers over four days, at 20 venues along a half-mile section of Denver’s South Broadway. Last year’s artists included Deerhunter, Digible Planets, and Superchunk, in addition to many others.
Sonic Bloom (June 20-23)
With around 10,000 attendees, Sonic Bloom manages to have both a big festival feel, coupled with the opportunity to experience intimate sets. This high desert festival focuses on electronica and art, although there are some acoustic sets. It’s held at Hummingbird Ranch, in Rye, a 2.5 hour drive from Denver. Often whole families camp together. Music is mostly from evening till the wee morning hours, but there are daytime events as well.
Country Jam (June 13-16)
This four day Grand Junction festival has been around for three decades and features some of the biggest names in country music. This year’s lineup includes Little Big Town, Alabama, Luke Bryan, and Sam Hunt. Festival-goers can camp or come and go as they please.
Arise (August 2-4)
Held in Loveland, this family-friendly, leave-no-trace event has a social justice mission and a tree is planted for every ticket sold. This will be its ninth year, and the sets are often folky, jammy, and rootsy. Drum circles and good vibes abound.
The Ride Festival (July 12-14)
Began in 2012, this indoor/outdoor Telluride festival features rootsy and rock music. Past lineups have included Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow, Thievery Corporation, Steve Earle, The Lumineers, and the North Mississippi Allstars.
Telluride Jazz Festival (Aug. 9-11)
2019 marks the 43rd year of the Telluride Jazz Festival, which incorporates, music, yoga, camping, education, and art in an amazing canyon setting. Special events include a Second Line parade and late-night shows in cozy venues.
Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest (Aug. 9-11)
This free festival in Old Town Fort Collins features art, food, and a variety of musical genres, as well as kid-centric activities. What sets this festival apart is its focus on Colorado musicians, although not all of the acts are Colorado-based. Past performers have included Blondie, The Decemberists, and The Velveteers.
Rocky Mountain Folk Festival (Aug. 16-18)
The 29th annual Rocky Mountain Folk Festival will feature Ani DiFranco, Ben Folds, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones, among other acts. Attended by roughly 4,000 people each year, the festival relocated from Estes Park to Lyons a few years back. There are songwriter showcases, activities for kids (kids 12 and under are free!) and camping.
Rockygrass Festival (July 26-28)
Lyons’ Rockygrass Festival has been going strong for 47 years, celebrating traditional bluegrass in a beautiful, rural setting. There’s a river beach for kids (and kids at heart), tons of great music, crafts, and workshops. Artists include Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, the Soggy Bottom Boys, and many more.
Make sure you festival safely this summer with insurance policies from Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance. From the vehicle you arrive in (whether it’s a car, motorcycle or RV) to the stuff you bring with you, our friendly, local agents have a policy for you.