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The Ride festival in Telluride. —Photo courtesy of Brett Schreckengost

Spotify Your Summer

Bring your playlists to life at these five Colorado music festivals.

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There are exactly 11 weekends left this summer, and you could cram a local music festival into each one. But if you have, say, a job, a family, or a budget, you’ll need to make some difficult choices. To help, we’ve narrowed Colorado’s nearly two dozen remaining music festivals down to five. All you have to do is find the fest that best reflects your day-to-day Spotify listening habits, and you’re guaranteed to get the perfect live soundtrack for summer.

The Ride Festival

July 8–10, Telluride

Playlist: Rock Me Up!

If heavy bass lines, fuzzed-up electric guitars, and crowd-surfing are your thing, get thee to Telluride Town Park, where the San Juan Mountains provide a backdrop that’s just as compelling as the Ride’s lineup. Warm up for the weekend on Friday with a free evening concert from local jammers Joint Point in the Mountain Village.

Can’t-miss acts: Pearl Jam and rockers Cage the Elephant

Accommodations: Campsites start at $50 per person for three nights, or shell out $20,000 for luxury downtown digs and 10 VIP tickets for your crew.

Cost: $265 for a weekend pass


The Divide Music Festival

July 22–24, Winter Park

Playlist: Best of the ’90s to Now

Looking for a festival that lands between Coachella and Bonnaroo, both stylistically and geographically? This brand-new sound spectacle is it. The music-fueled party runs from afternoon to 11 p.m. with high-energy set lists full of recognizable hits.
Take a break from the more than 30,000 expected festivalgoers with a yoga session or a mountain bike ride on trails that start on the event’s grounds.

Can’t-miss acts: Local stars the Fray and ’90s alterna-heroes Cake

Accommodations: A three-day car camping pass is $125.

Cost: $165 for a three-day pass


Vertex

August 5–7, Buena Vista

Playlist: ElectroNOW or Rockin’ Vibes

On Google Earth, the Vertex venue looks more fitting for a herd of cows than a crowd of people. But the 180-acre farm won’t disappoint you—not with its swimming pond, creekside bazaar, and unobstructed views of the Collegiate Peaks. And the tunes at this first-year fest are as chilled out as the setting, with evening performances from indie quartet Dawes and electronic duo Odesza, followed by stargazing workshops and silent disco.

Can’t-miss acts: Grammy-winning blues rockers Alabama Shakes and Australian future-soul act Hiatus Kaiyote

Accommodations: Camping is included with your pass, but those who are willing to pay VIP prices (up to $2,250 for two) can sleep in a luxury cabana with electricity and showers.

Cost: $200 for a three-day pass


ARISE Music Festival

August 5–7, Loveland

Playlist: Morning Rhythm

Embrace your radio-station-changing and Earth-loving tendencies at the Arise Music Festival. The diverse lineup—from hip-hop to bluegrass—invites guests to bounce between seven stages spread across a 100-acre sustainable ranch. Between sets, practice early morning yoga, join a permaculture workshop, and check out upcycled art installations.

Can’t-miss acts: Reggae legacy Ziggy Marley and rock group Hard Working Americans

Accommodations: Camping is included with your pass.

Cost: $179 for a three-day pass


Folks Festival

August 19–21, Lyons

Playlist: The Pulse of Americana

Kids 12 and younger don’t pay a dime for entry into this mellow, bring-your-own-picnic festival. They get exposure to singer-songwriters, and—since it’s free for them—you won’t get irritated if they opt for a mid-show nap. Plus, the whole family can relax in the St. Vrain River (in tubes) while listening to the late-summer strumming.

Can’t-miss acts: Indie quintet the Decemberists and gospel legend Mavis Staples

Accommodations: It’s $50 to $70 per person for four to seven nights.

Cost: $150 for a three-day pass

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