Field of Dreamers: Headliner Robert Plant will ignite the crowd at Telluride (seen here during Blues and Brews) this year. Photo: Barry Brecheisen
Waterfront Music Festival and Campout
May 20-22, Bellvue
The festival season kicks off with this affair near Fort Collins in a town famed for its grange and hoedowns.
Hot Acts: Head for the Hills, The Billy and Jillian Nershi Duo, Gregory Alan Isakov, Whiskey Tango
Escape the Crowds: Mountain biking on the Mill Creek Trail and Lory State Park.
MeadowGrass Music Festival
May 27-29, La Foret, Colorado Springs
This Memorial Day weekend festival is picking up steam. Former X frontman John Doe and Be Good Tanya Frazey Ford headline.
Hot Acts: John Doe, Frazey Ford, Hot Buttered Rum
Escape the Crowds: Sandstone climbing at Garden of the Gods.
Chili Pepper & Brew Fest
June 3-4, Snowmass
Wow. This little known gem is one not to miss thanks to outstanding musical talent and, of course, a chili competition.
Hot Acts: Kyle Hollingsworth Band featuring special guest Michael Kang of String Cheese Incident, Brett Dennen, The Wailers, George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic
Escape the Crowds: Ride the Rim Tail straight outta Snowmass.
Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass Festival
June 3–5, Pagosa Springs
This mellow fest has been attracting crowds who are more interested in roots music than being seen at the scene.
Hot Acts: Eddie From Ohio, Solas, Town Mountain, Joy Kills Sorrow, Spring Creek, Rockin’ Acoustic Circus
Escape the Crowds: You could soak in town or hike 10 miles roundtrip to undeveloped Rainbow and Piedra River Hot Springs.
Palisade Bluegrass and Roots Festival
June 10-12, Palisade
The atmosphere here can’t be beat: check out the music, then check out the town or nearby riding at Grand Junction and Fruita.
Hot Acts: Way Down Yonder, Blue Canyon Boys, James Justin & Co, David Lindley, Junior Brown, Henhouse Prowlers
Escape the Crowds: Grand Junction Lunch Loops or some Colorado Bourbon at the Peach Street Distillers.
June 16-19, Telluride
Yep, the big daddy of festivals. Enough said. And seriously… the lineup is killer as usual. Robert Plant! Sold out of course.
Hot Acts: Robert Plant and Band of Joy, Mumford and Sons, Punch Brothers, Sarah McLaughlan, Steve Earl, Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris, Old Crow Medicine Show
Escape the Crowds: Ultimate Frisbee on Rob Story’s lawn.
Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Festival
June 24-July 2, Snowmass
Leave the dirty hippies to their jam bands… this is the real improvisational deal (well with Sheryl Crow mixed in).
Hot Acts: Wynton Marsalis, Monty Alexander, Sheryl Crow, Jennifer Hudson
Escape the Crowds: Cragging and chilling in Redstone.
Breckenridge Music Festival
July 17-24, Breckenridge
A pox on your jam bands and hippy dance—this is classical!
Hot Acts: Glazunov, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Bolcolm, Mozart, Hummel, Bernstein, del Aguila, Wagner, Liszt, Ravel, Gershwin, Beethoven
Escape the Crowds: Bike a leg on the course of the Breck Epic.
Collegiate Peaks Music Festival
July 28-30, Buena Vista
The music here is young and made for dancing.
Hot Acts: Keller Williams, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Bonfire Dub with DJ Psychonaut, Missed The Boat, Elephant Revival, Super Jam, DJ Kalani, Moon Glory featuring Loulou from Thievery Corporation, The Eames Brothers, Euforquestra, The Motet
Escape the Crowds: Nab a 14er… we suggest Princeton or perhaps Elbert, so you can claim you got the highest in the state.
July 29-31, Lyons
The real deal. Telluride for bluegrass snobs.
Hot Acts: Del McCoury Band, David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, Psychograss, Sam Bush
Escape the Crowds: Try the epic mountain bike loop of Hall Ranch, Picutre Rock, Heil Ranch.
Boulder International Fringe Festival
August 17-28, Boulder
A smorgasbord of art, drama and music. Tres, tres Boulder.
Hot Acts: David Lang Kessem, Jim Santi Owen, Bobby Dartt, Daniel Mark
Escape the Crowds: Dispensary cruising? Just kidding. Bring a tube and float Boulder Creek.
Rocky Mountain Folks Festival
August 19-21, Lyons
The smallest of Planet Bluegrass’ big three festivals is our personal favorite thanks to its laid-back vibe and eclectic music lineup.
Hot Acts: Sweet Honey in the Rock, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mary Gauthier, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, Dan Mangan, Megan Burtt
August 26-28, Nederland
Oh so Ned.
Hot Acts: Steve Kimock, The Motet, Hot Buttered Rum, ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra), Vince Herman & Great American Taxi, Split Lip Rayfield
Escape the Crowds: Grab an espresso at Happy Trails and get beta on local mountain bike rides like the Hobbits.
Four Corners Folk Festival
September 2-4, Pagosa Springs
You will find some fantastic music here in a very chill atmosphere.
Hot Acts: Punch Brothers, Natalie MacMaster, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Black Lillies, Joy Kills Sorrow
Escape the Crowds: Hike a section of the Continental Divide Trail in the Weminuche Wilderness.
Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival
September 2-4, Snowmass
Jazz? Well sort of…. But definitely a lineup you don’t want to miss.
Hot Acts: Girl Talk, Rodrigo and Gabriela, Steely Dan, Lenny Kravitz
Escape the Crowds: Summit Mount Sopris or go paragliding with Aspen Expeditions.
Telluride Blues and Brews
September 16-18, Telluride
Telluride’s “other” festival celebrates suds and the type of music that makes you want to drown yourself in them—or dan
Hot Acts: Lineup TBA.
Escape the Crowds: Nearby Mount Sneffels is an easy, yet aesthetically pleasing 14er.
May 27-30, Buena Vista
Buena Vista’s core water sport extravaganza features rodeos, SUP contests, education, raft races and lots of partying paddlers.
Don’t Miss: The premier of Steve Fisher’s new film “The Halo Effect.”
Live Music: Mountain Standard Time Band
Lyons Fat Tire Fest
May 28-30, Lyons
While Boulderites argue over Open Space, folks at Redstone Cyclery celbrate the bike with core group big rides. Feel the love.
Yampa River Festival and Paddling Life Pro Invitational
May 27–30, Steamboat Springs
Things will get even wetter and wilder than usual in Steamboat this year as pros duke it out for cash and prizes at Paddling Life’s pro throwdown comp.
Don’t Miss: Emily Jackson
Teva Mountain Games
June 2-5, Vail
The all-encompassing outdoor mulit-sport megaplex takes over Vail again this summer. It’s an ideal event for the whole family. Parents can trade of competing while kids hit the climbing wall and paddle tank.
Don’t Miss: The downriver SUP race is a blast. Root for EO contributors Eugene Buchanan and Nicole Duke.
Outside in Aspen
June 10-12, Aspen
This new festival (in its second year) gets you out with elite athletes and outfitters learning and enjoying evryhitng from SUP to road biking to fly fishing. Everything revolves around an Adventure Base Camp with gear, talks on sport and giveaways.
Don’t Miss: Pool party at the Sky Hotel!
Lyons Outdoor Games
June 10-12, Lyons
“The little town that festivals” gets down with everything from whitewater paddling, to fly fishing, to mountian biking, to chainsaw carving.
Don’t Miss: The Canine Cannonball
Rocky Mountain Bike Fest
June 11-12, Denver
Held in tandem with the Denver Century Ride, this is the place to be if bikes turn your crank.
Don’t Miss: The Colorado Crusier Jamboree
FIBArk Whitewater Festival
June 15-19, Salida
At this point, it is as much cultural happening as it is whitewater festival. Anything you can float downriver gets in on the action here—everything from raft races to freestyle comps to non-river events including a bike race and running races.
Don’t Miss: Recovery yoga—the final “event.”
Fat Tire Bike Week
June 23-26, Crested Butte
No Colorado town is more proud of its mountain biking resume than the Butte and the eponymous fest bills it self as the oldest such happening on the planet. There are expos, races, rides, debauchery, everything you would expect from the various clans of the fat-tire tribe, but if you go for just one thing, dress in costume and make it to the chainless race.
Don’t Miss: A free concert with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.
Gunnison River Festival
June 24-26, Gunnison
The Gunny’s got it going on for this celebration that will showcase the town’s new New Wave whitewater park. Plus, you get all you’d expect from boaters—parties, a downriver race, freestyle comps, SUPs.
Don’t Miss: Jonathan Waterman presenting on the Colorado River (see page 14) at the Gunnison Public Library on June 27.
5Point Film Festival
April 28-May 1, Carbondale
Combining a film festival and a convocation of artists, athletes and explorers, 5Point is sponsored by Patagonia and takes place in core-outdoor Carbondale. Presenters/filmmakers include Timmy O’Neill, Pete McBride, Jer Collins, Fitz Cahall, Renan Ozturk, Nick Rosen, Nick Waggoner and—wait for it—The Baffin Babes.
Don’t Miss: EO illustrator and contributor Jer Collins’ “The Wolf and the Medallion,” a story of climbing untouched summits in China and Mongolia, as told through a letter home from father to son.
May 27-30, Telluride
Yep, another festival in Telluride… but leave the hula hoop at home. This event is a cultural happening, not just of films about mountains, adventure, culture, environment and exploration, but also a four-day discussion and celebration of the subject. Special guests will include convicted monkey-wrencher Tim Dechristopher, Shannon Galpin of Mountain2Mountain, two-cup of tea superstar Greg Mortenson, celebrity explorer David De Rotschild and author Terry Tempest Williams—and… the Baffin Babes.
Don’t Miss: Daily Coffee Talks, intimate get togethers with the presenters.
Breckenridge Festival of Film
June 9-12, Breckenridge
Going strong for 31 years, Breck’s film happening celebrates independent filmmakers. The current lineup had not been annouced by our press date but former presenters have included Alan Arkin, James Earl Jones, Robert Loggia, Marsha Mason, Sydney Pollack, Mary Steenburgen, Donald Sutherland and more.
Don’t Miss: The festival’s GLBT film series
Mountain Summit: Mountainfilm
August 25 – 28, Aspen
Can’t make the Mountainfilm event in Telluride. Catch it in Aspen, when the whole shebang goes on tour to the Wheeler Opera House.