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Beck will be headlining The Ride Festival in Telluride. Courtesy of Lauren Dukoff/the Ride Festival

The Boom in Colorado Music Festivals

Love summer music festivals? You’ve settled in the right place.

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Most states have one or two music festivals worth bragging about (think: Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Sasquatch! in Washington). Colorado operates on a whole different level. The Centennial State hosts more than 100 music events each year, including multiday series like Telluride’s Bluegrass Festival and the Ride Festival, Grand Junction’s Country Jam, and Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ Labor Day Experience. Sure, these large festivals draw big-name acts like Beck, who will perform at this month’s the Ride Festival, and Keith Urban—but they also attract plenty of workers. In fact, since 2011, live-music jobs in the state have grown by 70 percent. The Colorado Tourism Office has even partnered with the University of Colorado Denver to study exactly how much of an economic impact all of this seasonal crooning is having. Although the study won’t come out until October, researchers have already found that Colorado’s growing millennial population and abundance of large venues (thanks, ski resorts) are prime ingredients for musical extravaganzas. And mountain towns aren’t the only ones looking to get in on the action. Denver recently moved forward with the approval process for a new jam fest at the Overland Park Golf Course that’s predicted to attract as many as 60,000 people. Finally, a place to put all the transplants—at least temporarily.

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