Summer is a special time in Colorado. The word conjures up memories of the hot sun beating down onto your back on the mountain biking trail, the rush of the cold river water spraying your face as you navigate a rapid, and the lush and vibrant carpet of colorful wildflowers in a valley deep in the mountains. And, for a growing number of music lovers, it sparks memories of covered stages, Americana melodies and tent cities filled with friendly folks and a deeply personable sense of community.
Colorado is home to many bluegrass festivals, and the music plays a vital role in our state’s music scene. If you haven’t yet gone to one of these events, you’re missing out on a key facet of Colorado culture. So get your tent, your cooler, your sunscreen, and pick and choose from a glorious selection of summer music festivals.
Bluegrass on the River
June 4-6 Greenway Nature Center 5200 Nature Center Rd. Pueblo
It’s pronounced “Pweh-blow,” not “Pew-blow” or “Pee-eb-low,” and when it comes to music, Pueblo has a lot to offer. Located at the confluence of the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek on the southern end of the Front Range, Pueblo is rich in history and culture, as well as opportunities for recreation. Every summer, the Pueblo Greenway and Nature Center hosts a bluegrass festival that rivals the best in the state. Bluegrass on the River is the perfect showcase for the best of what Pueblo has to offer, and its perfectly located stages have few rivals as far as great places to hear music go. It’s worth the trip if you can make it.
It’s reasonably priced, too: The whole weekend will only cost you $35. Tickets are available for individual days, as well. Friday will only cost you $8, Saturday $20, and Sunday $15. For more information, check out www.natureandraptor.org/ BluegrassOnTheRiver.html, or call 719- 549-2414.
Scheduled to perform:
Sons and Brothers
Blue Pepper Trio
Blue Canyon Boys
The Steel Pennies
Narrow Gauge Bluegrass
My Three Sons Plus One
Lonesome Traveler Band
Acoustic Mining Company
Silver Mountain Fiddlers
Silverton Jamboree Festival
June 12-14 Silverton
Entering its fourth year, the Silverton Jamboree Festival is better than ever. People are slowly discovering this gem of a festival hidden amid the Victorian charm of this one-time boomtown, and its growing popularity attests to the savvy of festival organizers. With a couple more bands than last year rounding out the already solid lineup, this year’s jamboree promises to be loads of fun.
Tony Furtado, Aftergrass, Southern Culture On The Skids, Strange New Shoes and others will entertain the masses this year, and festival organizers have lined up a slew of other entertainments to keep the whole family in a great mood for the entire weekend. Your kids can get their faces painted while you enjoy some fresh brews from festival sponsors Ska Brewing, Steamworks Brewing Co., and Peach Street Distillers.
Advance tickets are $35 for single days or $70 for the weekend. Prices go up to $45 and $90 the days of the shows, so plan ahead. The Friday night Juke Joint Pass is $10, and the Saturday Juke Joint Pass is $15. Camping runs $7 a car. Visit www.silvertonjamboree.com for tickets and additional information.
Friday, June 12
James and the Devil
Saturday, June 13
Strange New Shoes Honey Don’t Aftergrass Tony Furtado Papa Mali Soul Rebels Brass Band Bruce Hayes
Sunday, June 14
Turkey Creek Ramblers Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers
Mama’s Cookin’ A-Dub-Rock Band Mountain Heart Southern Culture on the
Skids Strange New Shoes
Palisade Bluegrass & Roots Festival
June 11-13 Palisade
Back for a second
season, the Palisade Bluegrass & Roots Festival — formerly known as
the North Fork Valley Bluegrass & Roots Festival — offers a little
bit of folk and a little bit of bluegrass in the shady enclave of the
Colorado River. This littleappreciated but gorgeous part of Colorado
offers a pleasant and fun festival experience, as well as some great
acts. And don’t forget to pick up some of Palisade’s famous peaches
while you’re there — they make the ones grown in Georgia taste like
prunes. Not even exaggerating.
Though the festival
is in its sophomore year, it has attracted senior-level talent such as
Hot Buttered Rum, Head for the Hills and Spring Creek. In addition,
Palisade puts on its best hosting clothes and offers a delectable
smattering of local foods, brews and wines for sampling.
12 and under are free. But for the rest of us, one-day tickets for
Friday and Sunday are $25 in advance, and a one-time pass for Saturday
runs $45. A three-day pass will run you $85, and a three-day plus
camping pass costs $115. Prices go up at the door, so buy ahead! Call
970-464-5602, or visit palisademusic.com for more information.
Friday, June 11 Missed The Boat Hot Buttered Rum
Saturday, June 12
Stray Grass Bearfoot The Wiyos Head for the Hills Dave Alvin and The Guilty Women
Sunday, June 13
Sweet Sunny South Spring Creek Jim Lauderdale Asleep at the Wheel
Telluride Bluegrass Festival
June 17-20 Telluride
Think of it as the Aston Martin of bluegrass festivals. Located in
Telluride, a beautiful enclave nestled in the mountains of southern
Colorado and surrounded by the larger-than-life houses and ranches of
America’s richest celebrities, the scenery and music don’t get much
better than what you’ll find at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
music lineup isn’t hard on the eyes, either, featuring an A-list of
talented musicians. Alison Krauss, Del McCoury, Josh Ritter, Leftover
Salmon, Hot Rize, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Béla Fleck, and
Yonder Mountain String Band will take turns on the stage this year.
Things seem primed for another unforgettable bluegrass festival in
camping spots have already filled up, so get your reservation soon.
Tickets range from $60 for a one-day pass to $150 for the four-day
deal. Visit shop.bluegrass.com or call 1-800-624-2422 for more details.
Thursday, June 17
Tim O’Brien Band
Krauss & Union Station feat. Jerry Douglas Del McCoury Band Josh
Ritter & The Royal City Band Punch Brothers feat. Chris Thile
Keller & The Keels Sarah Jarosz
Friday, June 18
Leftover Salmon Lyle Lovett Court Yard Hounds Hot Rize Peter Rowan
& Crucial Country with Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas Cadillac Sky John
Cowan Band Ben Sollee
Saturday, June 19
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros Sam Bush Band Béla Fleck, Zakir
Hussain and Edgar Meyer Telluride Troubador Yonder Mountain String Band
Imelda May Jerry Douglas with Omar Hakim and Viktor Krauss The
Sunday, June 20
Telluride House Band feat. Sam, Béla, Jerry, Edgar, Bryan and
Stuart Dave Rawlings Machine Mumford & Sons Brandi Carlile Carolina
Chocolate Drops Väsen The Drepung Monks
Pickin’ on the Plains Bluegrass and Folks Festival
July 17-19 Thomas County Fairgrounds Off I-70, between Denver and Kansas City Colby, Kan.
it might be in Kansas. But there’s nothing like the Midwest to give you
a true taste of bluegrass music. Here bluegrass is served straight up,
just like Granddaddy used to pluck on the front porch.
your poison from this year’s festival; you won’t be disappointed.
Marshal Allen Bailey, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, The Martins,
The McLemore Family — all great acts bound to keep your toes tapping
and your feet stomping. So grab your cowboy hat and your denim overalls
and prepare to spend a hot July weekend taking in the tunes in Colby.
passes for the entire weekend are currently $30. You can buy single-day
passes the day of the show for $15 a pop. Children under 12 are free
when accompanied by a paid adult, and discounts are available for large
Scheduled to perform:
Marshal Allen Bailey Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper The Martins High
Atmosphere Cody Shuler and Pine Mountain Railroad The Millers Larry
Booth New Old-Timers Sappa Strings The McLemore Family
KGNU Charles Sawtelle Memorial Mountain Jam
July 18 Gold Hill Inn, Boulder
The Charles Sawtelle
Memorial Mountain Jam, known as The Charles to its friends, is an
annual fundraiser for local radio station favorite KGNU. But this isn’t
just another silent auction or bake sale; it’s an honest-to-goodness
bluegrass hootennany. Hosted at the Gold Hill Inn, The Charles knows
how to party, and like any good bluegrass festival, the tunes are
accompanied by an abundant selection of local microbrews. The Charles
doesn’t mind getting wet, either — the event will go on rain or shine.
Though the lineup is still being determined, take a look at last year’s
stars to get an idea of the kinds of acts that might be here this year.
So support your local public radio, and stay tuned for more information by contacting KGNU at 303-449-4885 or visiting www.kgnu.org.
July 23-25 Planet Bluegrass Lyons
What would a summer be
without the beautiful landscape and twangy tunes of RockyGrass? A BW
fave, RockyGrass is one of the state’s most popular festivals. Tickets
always sell out quickly, so you’d better hop on this one fast!
There are too many
great things about this festival to list them all here, but let’s just
say that the beauty of Lyons’ Planet Bluegrass grounds, the hottest
bluegrass musicians around and superb brews, wines and food come
together to make this festival the jewel in Colorado’s bluegrass crown.
In short, this is a festival that’s all about a good time.
year, you can live it up or take it easy along the St. Vrain while
listening to great music from the likes of Doc Watson, Patty Loveless
and The Travelin’ McCourys. For all you up-and-coming musicians out
there, there are also various instrument competitions held on site. You
never know — this could be your chance to make it big.
For more information, call 1-800- 624-2422, or visit www.bluegrass. com/rockygrass.
Friday, July 23
Patty Loveless Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band Greensky Bluegrass Sierra
Hull & Highway 111 Bearfoot Tony Rice & Bryan Sutton Mark
Johnson & Emory Lester 49 Special
Saturday, July 24
The Horse Flies The Travelin’ McCourys with Tony Rice The Seldom Scene
Doc Watson & David Holt Infamous Stringdusters Frank Solivan &
Dirty Kitchen The Farewell Drifters
Sunday, July 25
Sam Bush Bluegrass Band Tony Rice Unit Tim O’Brien Band Bobby Osborne
& the Rocky Top X-Press Alison Brown & Fair Weather Friends
Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice KC Groves & Long Road Home
Keystone Bluegrass and Brews Festival
July 31to August 1 River Run Keystone
Want to experience
Appalachia without a six-hour plane ride back east? Then plan on
traveling to Keystone for the Bluegrass and Brews Festival, an event
filled with good old home cooking, flavorful brews and, of course, lots
of mountain music. The sounds of banjoes, basses and fiddles echo
through the mountains and valleys as visitors stroll through the venues
sampling nearly 25 varieties of microbrewed beer and delicious food,
including hot buttered cornbread.
For more information, call 800-919-0038, or visit www.keystoneneighborhood.com.
August 13-15 Planet Bluegrass Lyons
After the raucous
climax that is Planet Bluegrass’s RockyGrass, it’s nice to wind down
the summer with the chill Folks Festival. Focusing on the finer
finger-pickers of the folk genre, this festival is the best way to
gracefuly bid the summer farewell. With performers playing alongside
the relaxing flow of the St. Vrain, this is the perfect opportunity to
kick back, relax and explore the world of folk.
This year’s lineup
includes Ani DiFranco, Marc Cohn and Michelle Shocked, among many
others, and the list below is only part of the story. Other performers
are still to be added. For tickets and information, call 1-800-624-2422, or visit www.bluegrass.com/folks.
Scheduled to perform:
John Prine The Swell
Season Ani DiFranco Richard Thompson The Waifs Greg Brown Jenny Lewis
Marc Cohn Michelle Shocked Tift Merritt David Wilcox Jonatha Brooke
Darrell Scott Dala Gregory Alan Isakov Joe Craven Joy Kills Sorrow Liz
August 27-29 Jeff Guercio Memorial Baseball Park Nederland
Just when you were
getting ready to put away your flip-flops, pack up your tent and call
it quits for the summer, NedFest rolls out three days of music, camping
Growing better every
year, NedFest is a chance for this little Boulder neighbor to shine.
Extended hours and additional gigs in venues throughout Nederland mean
you can enjoy more than 40 hours of live music, all in one weekend. Add
the groove and heart that only a town like Nederland can provide and
you’ve got yourself a once-in-a-lifetime experience every year.
You can camp, enjoy local microbrews and jam out to the best and latest in the bluegrass scene for one last summer hurrah.
few performers are yet to be determined, but great acts like Elephant
Revival and Mountain Standard Time are already confirmed. For tickets
and more information, visit www.nedfest.com.
Scheduled to perform:
Steve Kimock Crazy Engine with Melvin Seals Holy Kimoto Billy
Nershi’s Blue Planet Panjea w/ Michael Kang Vince Herman & Great
American Taxi Hot Buttered Rum Mountain Standard Time Cornmeal The
Motet Elephant Revival Michael Travis Kyle Hollingsworth Jason Hann
OTHER ROOTSY GIGS IN COLORADO:
May 21 Folk Yeah! 9 p.m. Gold Hill Inn, 401 Main St., Gold Hill, 303-443-6461.
June 6 Bonnie and the Clydes. 6 p.m. Oskar Blues, 300 Main St., Lyons, 303-823- 6685.
June 9 Nanci Griffith. 8 p.m. Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder, 303- 442-3282.
June 16 Delta Sonic. Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 303- 377-1666.
June 16 Gillian Welch and Friends. 8 p.m. Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder, 303-442- 3282.
June 17 Southern Exposure. 7:30 p.m. Nissi’s 2675 N. Park Dr., 303-665-2757.
June 18 FAC Rockin’ the Gardens — With Rebecca Folsom. Millennium Harvest House Hotel, 1345 28th St., Boulder, 303-443-3850.
June 19 Opry Colorado II: An Evening of Fiddles, Fretboards and Folksters — With
Southern Exposure, Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams, Dakota Blonde, Bill
Barwick. Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth
Blvd., Arvada, 720- 898-7200.
June 23 Chris McGarry. 8:30 p.m. The Laughing Goat, 1709 Pearl St., Boulder, 303- 440-4628.
June 25 Acoustic Mining Company. Swallow Hill, 71 E. Yale Ave., Denver, 303-777- 1003.
July 9 The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience. 8 p.m. Ogden Theatre, 835 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 303-832-1874.
July 26 Mary Chapin Carpenter. 8 p.m. Chautauqua Community House, 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder, 303-442-3282.
Aug. 5 Jackson Browne and David Lindley. Red Rocks, 18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, 720-865-2494.
Aug. 11 Marc Cohn, Kathy Mattea. Denver Botanic Gardens, 1055 York St., Denver, 720-865-3500.
Aug. 22 Asleep at the Wheel. 7:30 p.m. Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, 720-898-7200.