The sounds of summer in Colorado range from drum echoes at Red Rocks to fast-rocking bass within Denver’s South Broadway venues. Whether you’re looking to see a jam band, a legend, a local artist, or a festival, here are ten summer shows you shouldn’t miss.
1. The Show: The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks; July 11–July 13, $49.50–$59.50
Why: The sound of this Southern rock/folk band is even richer when highlighted by Red Rocks’ acoustics.
2. The Show: 93.3 Big Gig at Fiddlers Green; July 19, $15–$50
Why: With plenty of bands on one stage, this feels like a festival—without having to move from stage-to-stage.
3. The Show: The Underground Music Showcase on South Broadway; July 24–27, $35–$75
Why: It’s the best way to sample the indie music scene, from big names in the industry, to Denver's own groups. Colorado acts to keep your eyes on (and ears open for): The Belle Jar, The Epilogues, A. Tom Collins, My Body Sings Electric, and Ark Life.
4. The Show: Fourth of July at Red Rocks; July 4, $38.50–$44.75
Why: Blues Traveler is a Red Rocks Fourth of July tradition, but this year they're bringing friends: Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, and Uncle Kracker. The view of the fireworks from Red Rocks is sure to be legendary.
5. The Show: Phish at Dick's Sporting Goods Park; August 29–31, $49.50–$60
Why: Phish Heads take over soccer fans' territory at Dick's Sporting Goods Park for three days. This is a musical experience from one of the best jam bands around.
6. The Show: B.B. King at the Botanic Gardens; August 11, $80–$85
Why: The 88-year-old King of Blues brings his guitar, Lucille, to the Botanic Gardens, which is perhaps the best lawn venue in Colorado. Enjoy an evening with the man who defined the blues genre.
7. The Show: Future Islands at the Gothic Theatre; August 27, $17–$19
Why: One of the hottest tickets in town this summer, the Baltimore band’s show at the Bluebird Theatre sold out so quickly that the concert venue was relocated.
8. The Show: Keith Urban at Fiddlers Green; August 29, $25–$99.50
Why: Known for his guitar skills, country music star Keith Urban turns his talents to the Fiddlers Green Amphitheater for Denver’s best country jam. Bonus: Other don’t-miss country performances in Colorado this summer.
9. The Show: Paper Bird and Elephant Revival at the Four Corners Folk Festival; August 29–31, $45–$130
Why: Two local folk bands that thrive in outdoor venues (Elephant Revival from Nederland and Paper Bird from Denver) highlight the Pagosa Springs festival.
10. The Show: Crosby, Stills and Nash at Red Rocks; September 23, $49.50-$99.50
Why: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame trio returns to Red Rocks in late September to bring the most unique harmonies in rock history to Colorado’s best outdoor amphitheater.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock