Are hippies taking over Colorado's music scene?
A psychological study published last fall showed Colorado to be among the most open and least neurotic states in the union. And government statistics reveal that our state boasts the seventh-highest marijuana usage. Translation: We like to chill out. Perhaps that's why, come midsummer, Denver might seem a little more peaceful and fragrant in that special '60s sort of way, when the jam band heirs to the Grateful Dead arrive in full tie-dyed force.
Consider: Both nights of the second annual Mile High Music Festival (July 18--19) conclude with Widespread Panic, the Georgia collective that's one of the highest-grossing acts around. Meanwhile, much of the rest of the festival's lineup reads like a hippie's wish list, including the likes of Ben Harper, Gomez, G. Love and Special Sauce, John Butler, Robert Randolph, and the Wailers.
If that weren't enough patchouli, hemp, and shoelessness, less than two weeks later Phish arrives in Morrison for four nights (July 30-August 2), part of the group's first tour in five years. Even though most local Phish "phans" got shut out of the unusually long Red Rocks engagement, the entire area will be flooded with the band's devoted minions, an influx that might put Morrisonites on edge; a previous multinight Phish appearance at Red Rocks in 1996 saw the overflow crowd tussle with police. With any luck, the main contact locals have with Phishheads this time will be nothing more intense than a proximity high from the cloud that'll be billowing over the amphitheater.
That's how it should be, because whether it's our appreciation of awe-inspiring natural beauty, our perpetual love of loopy, musical meanderings, or our fondness for the herb, Colorado is, was, and probably always will be a hippie haven.