Take a Road Trip to this Summer’s Colorado Music Festivals

When I envision a summer day, I imagine myself cruising around in a car with my hair blowing and the music blasting with a giant smile plastered on my tanned face.  This could be all of us on our way down to a music festival in our beautiful state of Colorado.  Music festivals such as Lollapalooza and Coachella are extremely cool of course, but when festivals are put into the stunning Colorado landscape it all goes to the next level.  Whether it be the mountains of Telluride or the city scaped lands of Denver, the musicians and fans alike are in for a treat.  On top of that, the acts appeal to a wide range of people, bringing in thousands of native Coloradans in addition to out of state fans.


Telluride Bluegrass Festival: June 16-19 – Telluride, Colorado

The Telluride Bluegrass Festival is held in one of the more spectacular and beautiful mountain towns in Colorado, which gives it the small and family like feel.  Rockstar Joe Cocker once said about his place in Telluride “well, we have this place in Telluride, Colorado. It’s somewhere I can just get away and relax and think.”  The relaxing environment is a part of the perfect bluegrass atmosphere; it is a time to get away, live, and laugh while singing to your favorite twangy tune.  This year’s lineup includes the famed Infamous Stringdusters, as they return to play at the festival again.  Another headliner is Greensky Bluegrass.  These are two of the bluegrass legends.

The Ride Festival: July 9-10 – Telluride, Colorado

Return to Telluride in early July to enjoy, this more mainstream festival with plenty of music for all sorts of listeners.  Headlining this year’s shows are Pearl Jam, an oldies favorite for the young and the old, and Cage the Elephant, who has topped the charts with their hits like “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and “Cigarette Daydreams.”  The music is not all, for the festival also offers exquisite camping spots in the mountains for the visitors to enjoy while they are not out at the festival, just like the Bluegrass festival.

Bass Center: July 29-30 – Denver, Colorado

For the more urban and electronic feel, travel down to Denver for bass Center.  Not only does Bass Center have electronic superstars such as Bassnectar, Flux Pavilion, and Porter Robinson, but the festival also brings in one of the most beloved rap groups: Wu-Tang Clan.  This is DJ Bassnectar’s fifth year hosting his festival in Colorado.  A couple of AHS students have already bought their tickets and cannot wait to go.  

Arise Music Festival: August 5-7 – Loveland, Colorado

Returning back to the mountain scene, Arise Music Festival combines the music festival experience with yoga, art workshops, and art shows.  The festival brings in nationally recognized yoga instructors Jen Cameron and Steph Schwartz, and holds meditation sessions during each of the live shows.  The festival directors describe Arise as a place to find sanctuary and release through yoga and music.  There are large art installations from Colorado artists.  This year, Julia Butterfly Hill can be found at the Big Sunrise Dome discussing her fight for environmental rights.  Along with the activities, the festival’s music headliners are Ziggy Marley, Jurassic 5, and three more that will be released in May.  

Vertex Festival: August 5-7 – Buena Vista, Colorado

The Vertex Festival is one to make it to because of its close location to Aspen, just over Independence Pass.  Hidden in the mountain tops of Buena Vista, the festival is held in the Cottonwood Meadows while the Cottonwood trees are in full bloom.  This festival also includes art installations.  Onsite camping is highly encouraged by the festival directors in order to achieve the full festival feel.  This year’s headliners include Grammy winning band Alabama Shakes, Odesza, and Trey Anastasio, the lead singer of the famed band Phish.  

Folks Festival: August 19-21 – Lyons, Colorado

Held in the tiny, 2,102 person town of Lyons, Colorado, this festival is not one you’ll want to miss if you are one for the love of a local feel.  It is even said that the people make you feel like a Lyons local for your three-day stay.  Camping and picnics are strewn about as people dance to the music for a lively summer time.  The festival opens with the Folks Songwriter Showcase, where some of the greatest acts from around the world go to compete for a spotlight in the next annual Folks Festival.  This year is the 26th anniversary of the Folks Festival in Lyons.  The headliners for this year are The Decemberists and Passenger.