(Photo: CPR / Daniel Mescher)
If you’re looking to get outside and see some live music this summer, you’ve got plenty of options in Colorado.
The Centennial State will host more than a dozen music festivals that we’re looking forward to this year. They’ll take place from May to September in Denver, Fort Collins, Telluride and beyond. And there’s something for music fans of all types.
It’s a lot of info to manage, so here’s your go-to guide to our favorite summer music festivals in Colorado. Read about the dates, location and lineup of each event below.
The Other Black303 Music Festival
The inaugural 303 Music Festival takes place at Denver’s Church nightclub. The one-night event’s lineup is full of up-and-coming local acts. There’s also a silent disco and a "Colorado Super Jam" led by soul-funk band The Other Black.
Highlights: The Other Black, Eldren, Church Fire
Get this free event on your radar for Memorial Day weekend. It hosts a handful of national and local acts across multiple stages along the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver.
Highlights: Brent Cowles, The Blue Rider, Nicole Atkins
Telluride Bluegrass Festival
The first of several Telluride festivals listed here, the Bluegrass festival spans three days and is a primo opportunity to enjoy some folk, country and rock music while camping in western Colorado.
Highlights: Emmylou Harris, Sturgill Simpson, St. Paul & The Broken Bones
It isn’t hard to discover your new favorite band at Westword Music Showcase. Explore eight venues in Denver’s Golden Triangle for a finely curated lineup of Colorado acts, or catch one of the national headliners on the outdoor main stages.
Highlights: Bonobo, Sunflower Bean, The Velveteers
Other Telluride festivals lean toward specific genres, but The Ride Festival has brought all sorts of acts to the town, including David Byrne and St. Vincent, Beck and Thievery Corporation. This year’s Ride fest lineup provides a blend of rock, jam band, folk and pop music.
Highlights: Grace Potter, ZZ Ward, Barns Courtney, Futurebirds
The outdoor Main Stage at the UMS.
This event comes under new management for 2018, but still promises to champion under-the-radar and rising Colorado artists, along with some notable indie acts from out of town. Lineup details are coming soon.
This one is an easy sell for jazz fans. They can enjoy the majesty of the Rocky Mountains accompanied by live music during the day, then head into town for a series of late night concerts at various venues.
Highlights: Irma Thomas, BadBadNotGood, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
Taking place at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, ARISE features a lively bill of electronic, folk and jam artists. There’s also a series of yoga classes and performance art pieces if you need a break from the music.
Highlights: Thievery Corporation, Dragondeer, Gasoline Lollipops
Three days of free live music is hard to resist. This event takes over downtown Fort Collins for a series of concerts, most of which feature Colorado acts. Bohemian Nights also puts on a free concert every Thursday night throughout the summer.
Wilco at Velorama 2017
Velorama arrived in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood last year, in conjunction with a bicycle race that travels through multiple cities in Colorado. The festival returns this August and boasts a small but strong lineup of indie rock and hip-hop headliners along with some local flavor from Brent Cowles, Slow Caves and Wildermiss.
Highlights: Glass Animals, Vince Staples, Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Positioned along the St. Vrain River in Lyons, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival offers festival-goers plenty of natural beauty just a short drive from Denver, Boulder or Fort Collins. This year includes two standout acts we’ve hosted for OpenAir Sessions, River Whyless and Wild Child.
Highlights: Regina Spektor, Jeff Tweedy, Wild Child
This festival is one of the biggest new developments in Denver’s music scene. The organizers of the massive Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee hope to make the Mile High City a music festival destination with this annual three-day event at Overland Park Golf Course. Its lineup features superstars and Colorado acts alike.
Highlights: Kendrick Lamar, Stevie Wonder, St. Vincent, Florence + The Machine
Telluride will close out its summer music festival season with this pairing of craft beer and live music. This year’s lineup includes some of our favorite modern blues artists as well as a classic rock legend.
Highlights: Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Valerie June
Use our Colorado summer festival map to help plan your next musical road trip: