What Planet Bluegrass, Red Rocks, and Swallow Hill Are Doing to Survive the Live-Music Economy

May 2 2011, 9:47 AM

The Mile High Music Festival may be on hiatus this year, but its cancellation could be the exception to a record-setting summer for music venues and organizations across the state. Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Swallow Hill Music Association, and Planet Bluegrass are already basking in sales, donations, participation, and general excitement for the coming festival season (Denver Post). Swallow Hill and Planet Bluegrass attribute their success in "this down live-music economy" to their niche in roots music. Not only do their shows boast top acts in the so-called "Americana" genres (which include bluegrass), but their educational programs also churn out musicians of all ages with a heightened appreciation for the jams. 

In the same Post article, music critic Ricardo Baca makes his predictions for the summer's 10 "most memorable" shows, which include giants like U2, Kenny Chesney, and Katy Perry, as well as fast climbers like Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Bruno Mars with Janelle Monae. Even farther down in the article is a listing of all the "major" shows on Baca's radar this summer.

If jazz is more your speed, the season holds plenty of promise, as well, especially in the high country. The hills come alive in May at the Estes Park Jazz Fest & Art Walk, although 97.3 KBCO's Bret Saunders estimates that the jazz lover's summer will peak in August with the Telluride Jazz Celebration.