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Elevation Outdoors 2014 Festival Guide

This Festival Guide has become more than a tradition for us here at Elevation Outdoors. It is the essential planner that anchors our busy summer and is the definitive word on where we want to be—dancing, playing, camping, getting muddy, singing along, sitting in our chairs, competing, rowing, flowing, pedaling, beer tasting, making new friends, partaking, watching films and sometimes even escaping the crowds. The essence of EO is bringing together outdoor music, sport and culture…so step out into the 2014 Mountain Festival Guide.


May 17 • Bellvue

It has become our tradition to kick off festy season at the fabled Mishawaka Auditorium. Head for the Hills’ party is the perfect prologue for veteran festivarians. Don’t Miss: Colorado bluegrassers The Grant Farm will headline. Insider Info: Tickets just $22 advance.


May 23-25 • Rancho del Rio

The family gathering of music, river sports, yoga, SUP and general one-world-ness moves back to its roots at the headwaters of the Colorado River. Don’t Miss: Paper Bird, Elephahnt Revival, Gipsy Moon. Yoga classes. Insider info: Bring your fly rod.


May 23-24 • La Foret

Meadowgrass is a laid-back alternative to the big Colorado festivals but it still manages to pack an eclectic punch of both rootsy picking and hipster cool. Don’t Miss: The Duhks, Elephant Revival and San Francisco’s The Mother Hips. Insider Info: Festival proceeds help preserve the historic La Foret open space.


June 6-8 • Pagosa Springs

The real deal. This little festival that rocks is more about appreciating the sound than the scene. Don’t Miss: There’s a fine selection of roots music to savor here including acoustic music from Claire Lynch, bluegrass from John Jorgenson, and Virginia boys The Steel Wheels. Insider Info: Escape the freaks and enjoy a little soak in town.


June 13-15 • Snowmass

Take cutting-edge bands. Add a chili cookoff and beer tasting. Sprinkle in the camping and sublime singletrack and hiking surrounding Snowmass. The result is one hot festival just as summer gets rolling. Don’t Miss: Leftover Salmon with Bill Payne, Xavier Rudd, The Motet. Insider Info: Don’t miss Saturday’s beer tasting.


June 13-15 • Palisade

It’s all about atmosphere at this festival. There’s just as much excitement around Palisade—with local distillers and wineries in attendance and secret singletrack out the gate—as there is on stage. Don’t Miss: This year promises to bring some heat with the Infamous Stringdusters, The Wood Brothers, The Sweetback Sisters, Gipsy Moon, WhiteWater Ramble, Howlin’ Brothers and many more. Insider Info: Mountain biking in Palisade is on the rise. Check in with the folks at Rapid Creek Cycles for local beta.


June 13-15 • Golden

Want a laid-back music happening close to Denver? Look no further—this little festival in Golden’s Clear Creek History Park packs a big punch. Don’t Miss: Finnders and Youngberg, The Railsplitters. Insider Info: Fuel up at The Cilantro Truck.


June 19-22 • Fort Morgan

Are you swing kids still out there and ready for the real deal? Don’t Miss: Golden Trombone dance competition. Insider Info: Dress up.


June 19-22 • South Park

With a vibe filled with electronic music, live painters, art installations and yoga friendly one-ness, Sonic Bloom will free your mind so your ass can follow. With that attitude the fest does its best to be green with organic and vegetarian food options, too.Don’t Miss: Defunk, Bird of Prey, Birds of Paradise, Akasha Experience, Ayla Nereo, bioLuMigen, Cualli. Insider Info: Plenty of mindful, strong Colorado yogis will be teaching here, including Boulder’s Rob Loud, Amy Deva Harris, Richii Jai and Alec Vishal Rouben. Be sure to take the time out to take a class.


June 19-22 • Telluride

As we went to print there were still tickets available for the big mamma of all festivals. If you go, you understand. If you haven’t been, it’s time to make the pilgrimage. Don’t Miss: A single moment. Let’s start with the newly back together Nickel Creek, who cut their teeth here years ago, as well as member Chris Thile solo as well as Punch Brothers. How about Ray Lamontagne, Steve Winwood and Andrew Bird. Add in the usual Bela Fleck, Sam Bush and Tim OBrien. Insider Info: Nightgrass shows in town (tickets sold separately).


June 19-28 • Snowmass

Jazz? Yes. But there are also a lot of big-name acts mixed in to this big-time musical showcase. Don’t Miss: Diana Krall. Tony Bennett. Insider Info: For true jazz, hit the Jas Cafe at the Little Nell during te festival and beyond.


June 27-29 • Winter Park

This sweet happening supports Blue Star Connection, a non profit that raises funds and collects musical instruments to give to children fighting cancer or other life-changing situations. Don’t Miss: Larry McCray, Austin Young, Poland’s Boogie Boys, Israel’s Ori Naftaly Band, Serbia’s Ana Popovic, the Sunday gospel set from Tyree Morris and Hearts of Worship. Insider Info: Blue Star Connection Sunday—youth are brought on stage as honored guests.


July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 • Ridgway

There may be no better bet than these free concerts in Ridgway’s Town Park Thursdays in July. Don’t Miss: Paper Bird kicks it off. And don’t miss Austin, Texas, country rockers Sons of Fathers.Insider Info: Microbrew tasting! Just $20/person. 


July 4-5 • Crested Butte

Well, Crested Butte is paradise when you think about it. And the sweet hereafter comes with a stage-full of  the most beloved acts in the bluegrass pantheon. Don’t Miss: Yarn, The Black Lillies, Drew Emmitt. Insider Info: This is just a mini-festival within the much larger Crested Butte Music Festival.


July 10-13 • Westcliffe

No pop bands posing as “bluegrass” here—this mellow fest attracts roots aficionados who care more about the music than the party-crowd mentality. Don’t Miss: There’s so much here to savor: The Little Roy and Lizzy Show, Beartracks, Grass It Up, Kantankerous, Mile High Express and festival hosts Dry Branch Fire Squad and the Sons of Brothers Band, to name just  a few. Insider Info: This festival does a damn bit of good, too. Last year it raised $40,0000 for the Custer County Clinic and pledges $8,000 to the Main Street Initiative, an effort to stimulate business activity in Westcliffe/Silver Cliff by bringing in attractive events.


July 19-20 • Alma

This little festival in Colorado’s highest incorporated municipality brings in everything from belly dancers to soul acts.. Don’t Miss: The pancake breakfast. Insider Info:There are quite a few campgrounds in Alma, Breckenridge and Fairplay.


July 25–27 • Kemmerer, Wyoming

“Oystrer Grass” is simply the biggest musical happening in the nation’s least populated state. Oh, and it is free! The stage hosts local talent as well as national acts and it was all the brainchild of a USFS employee who liked to pick some mean guitar. Don’t Miss: Flat picking is king at this festival and there’s no more honored picker than national champ and Appalachian song-spinner Robin Kessinger. Insider Info: The festival is also home to the Wyoming state finger style guitar championship and the Wyoming state flat pick guitar championship. And anyone (even non-residents) can enter.


July 25-27 • Lyons

The grounds are fine, the music is fantastic as always, but the town of Lyons needs you to come back to this festival after all the devastation it suffered in last fall’s flood (see page 15). Don’t Miss: This lineup is absolutely stacked: Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Sam Bush Bluegrass Band. Insider Info: Many of these bands made sure to be back to support the town. You can do the same by donating to help rebuild Lyons’ town park here:


August 1-3 • Crestone

This two-stage festival offers up a little bit of everything to everyone—and the organizers stress that there are… mojitos! The vibe certainly mirrors that of Crestone itself, where folks of all sort of backgrounds and spiritual callings all find common ground. Don’t Miss: Paper Bird may be the hottest new band on the festival scene this season (see page 49) and you can catch them here. Plus, Charles Neville and Youssoupha Sidibe, Ruthie Foster. Insider Info: The weekend is quite family friendly thanks to Salida Circus, We Are The Drum Workshop, hula-hoops and beach balls and EuroBungy jump machine.


August 1-3 • Telluride

Tellueride Jazz brings in acts with as much credence as Bluegrass but far less hoopla. Don’t Miss: Lettuce, Dragon Smoke, Snarky Puppy, Grupo Fantasma, The Telluride Student All Star Jazz Ensemble. Insider Info: The Free Jazz Project, now in its 7th year, produces five music programs and an annual soccer tournament in conjunction with the Telluride Jazz Festival.


August 8-10 • Loveland

Arise typifies a new breed of festival—more than just bluegrass and hula hoops, it combines music with movement, performance art and everything from yoga sessions to meditation in the “Temple of the Heart.” Don’t Miss: There are big name bands here to dance to like Galactic, Beats Antique and the Infamous Stringdusters. But you’ll also want to be sure to take a yoga class with Boulder yogi. Matt Kapinus (and, hey, read his yoga festival do’s and don’ts on page 41). Insider Info: Can’t wait? Check Arise’s web site for pre-party announcements.


August 15-17 • Lyons

Here’s another chance t hear some of the best acoustic (and electric) artists in the world and support the festival-inclined town of Lyons. The smallest of Planet Bluegrass’ big three festivals is our personal favorite thanks to its laid-back vibe and eclectic music lineup. Bring the family. Don’t Miss: Ani DiFranco, Greg Brown, Elephant Revival.  Insider Info: Many of these bands made sure to be back to support the town. You can do the same by donating to help rebuild Lyons’ town park here:


August 22-24 • Nederland

If it’s in Ned, it needs to be weird, or at least alternatively expressive. Ned Fest delivers with music, art, crafts, microbrews and assorted oddness. Don’t Miss: Jeff Austin and the Here and Now, Billy Nershi’s Blue Planet, Kyle Hollingsworth Band. Insider Info: Stop by our friends at Salto and Tin Shed Sports for a bite or a rental bike and beta.


August 29-31 • Snowmass

Yeah, well forget about the jazz, this festival pulls in big-gun talent to kiss goodbye to summer. Don’t Miss: Earth, Wind and Fire; Ziggy Marley; Nickel Creek; Carrie Underwood. Insider Info: Bring your mountain bike and hit the Government Trail between sets.


August 29-31 • Pagosa Springs

Meet the sister festival to FolkWest’s Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass Festival. Enjoy the same core vibe and listen to rootsy performers under a 1,200-plus-person tent or kick back in the surrounding meadow. Don’t Miss: Sam Bush, Elephant Revival. Insider Info: Beyond its festivals, FolkWest runs bluegrass camps for adults and kids, June 3–5 in Pagosa Springs.


September 12-14 • Telluride

Save the best for last. Telluride’s other big festival is the one we wait for all summer long. Hey and who doesn’t like autumn nights, a cold beer and some music to make you want to cry into it… or dance. Don’t Miss: Pete Frampton, The Violent Femmes, George Clinton. Insider Info: The Grand Tasting features 56 microbreweries competing to be the crowd favorite.


September 25-28 • Paonia

When the weather cools down, this festival heats up the North Fork Valley with tunes, local food and art. Don’t Miss: Seattle rockabilly headliners the Dusty 45s. Insider Info: Grab a bite at the Flying Fork in town.


May 16-18 • Golden

Now entering its fourth year, the Golden Games, held on Clear Creek of Coors fame in Golden, Colo., offers races and events in kayaking (freestyle, slalom and downriver), stand-up paddleboarding, rafting and more. Don’t miss: Check out the action on one of the first whitewater parks ever built in the country.


May 25-26 • Vail

From a marathon to a fun run, these races will get you out in Vail. Don’t miss: Running with your dog in he Canine X-Country.


May 30-31 • Steamboat Springs

Test your creek running skills against some of the country’s best at the Paddling Life Creek Race on Friday, May 30, on Class IV-V Fish Creek. Then stay for the rest of the weekend’s Yampa River Festival, featuring freestyle events, downriver races in all disciplines and slalom. Don’t miss: The rip-roaring party that caps it all off.


May 31 • Lyons

If you go to any festival this year, make it this one, simply to help support a Colorado town that needs you there. The fall floods may have wreaked havoc on Lyons’ South St. Vrain River, but not on the spirit of its locals, who this year will once again host the Lyons Outdoor Games (see page 15), a fun-filled day of such river events as freestyle, slalom, Boater-X, and more. Don’t miss: Burning Can! Oskar Blues festival of canned beer takes place on Saturday with over 50 breweries to taste from for just $30-$45 bucks.


June 5-8 • Vail

The all-encompassing outdoor multi-sport megaplex takes over Vail again this summer. It’s an ideal event for the whole family. Parents can trade off competing while kids hit the climbing wall and paddle tank. This year features a new Badass Dash obstacle course race for kids and children, too. Beyond, the sports there’s a giant expo of gear and activism. Don’t miss: This is the granddaddy of all whitewater events. With this year’s snowpack, look for big air in the freestyle event, blistering times in the downriver and adrenaline glands flowing stronger than the river in the Class V Homestake Creek Race.


June 6-8 • Durango

It’s a celebration of races, films, dog contests, and community. Don’t forget this long-running river-focused festival that’s a great excuse to head to the Four Corners every summer!

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