As usual, summer has flown by at mach speed, and no place does it feel shorter than in Colorado mountain towns, where the season unofficially wraps up over Labor Day weekend. Luckily, there are plenty of festivals and live music performances during the long weekend to make you feel like you’re moving onto autumn following a grand finale. Here are a few of our top picks.
The Four Corners Folk Festival is in its 24th year, offering a true Bohemian music festival and camping experience full of banjos, acoustic guitars, and fiddles. The lineup features folk/bluegrass mavens such as Billy Strings, Amy Helm, and Earls of Leicester and runs from Friday evening through Sunday night. Although the festival is ticketed, the entire downtown is abuzz with slackline demos, sunbathers, and soakers on the San Juan River. Starting at $51.25
While big kids sample a variety of Colorado’s best brown liquor at the Wild West Whiskey Fest, little kids hang on tight to rowdy sheep (mutton bustin’) in this Saturday and Sunday event. With barbecue bites and free live music by country jammers Nick Hickman and Zona Road, plus a ticketed Country at the Park performance by Dustin Lynch, this is one quintessential Colorado experience that you won’t want to miss. Starting at $35
Aspen / Snowmass
More than 10,000 fans a day will cluster in Snowmass Town Park for one of Colorado’s most popular music festivals, the JAS Labor Day Experience, which typically features a distinctly non-jazz-oriented lineup. This year, headliners include John Mayer, Sting, and Weezer. However, Snowmass isn’t totally ready to close shop for summer, as its new bike park continues to unveil fresh trails and lift hauls continue every weekend through September. Limited tickets available; prices vary
As the fierce rapids on the Arkansas River finally show signs of taming, the Salida Winefest lands at Riverside Park on Saturday, August 31 with live music, food and art vendors, plus a collection of Colorado’s finest wines and vintages from around the world. $25
The Vail Jazz Party celebrates its 25th anniversary with a stacked lineup of international jazz stars, as well as unique performances that appeal to all music fans. Also in town for the long weekend, Gourmet on the Gore will bring food trucks, wine, and beer booths to Vail Village for an al fresco extravaganza. But it’s not all about food. You can also take part in yoga, hiking and cruiser bike tours so you can feel even better about the feast. Starting at $55
It’s not all about cowboy hats for the Copper Country Music Festival on Saturday and Sunday, as the lineup of free music includes singer–songwriters like Lucinda Williams and Donavon Frankenreiter, plus bluegrass bigwigs North Mississippi Allstars. The weekend also features a Makers Market, during which dozens of regional painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, and crafts specialists will display their wares. Free