The music never stops
By Dave Kirby
Rustle up your festival gear as the local summer concert season is about to strike its first chord.
For this year, there is good news along with some not-so-good news. The technicolor group hug known as ARISE Festival turns a healthy 7 years old this season, fiercely independent and rigorously sustainable, cradled in a beautiful valley just west of Loveland. It is one of the area’s most vital social and cultural gatherings—and just a complete hoot, to boot.
Dimming the scene is the unfortunate news of the demise of NedFest, the annual three-day music gathering in Nederland started 20 years ago as a lark by local promoter and one of the most important figures in Nederland’s music scene, “Michigan” Mike Torpie. Because of some improvements made to Barker Meadows Park, the useable concert space was reduced, limiting the number of potential ticket holders and pushing the festival’s already shaky financial posture off the practicality scale.
But the music never stops. Let’s do a quick review of some of the best musical events coming up in the area:
Location: 100 Sunrise Ranch Road, Loveland
Dates: Aug. 2–4
Know before you go: Camping is one of the best parts of ARISE, but check their website (www.arisefestival.com) for do’s and don’ts. No generators or propane in the campground and no amplified music. Other items of note: no glass in the campground, no pets and no fireworks. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities, so bring the tykes. Carpooling is strongly encouraged and a parking fee of $35–70 per vehicle will apply.
The lineup: The multidimensional, always unpredictable, post-millennial techno-cabaret of Beats Antique tops a bill of dozens of acts ranging from ’grass to techno to beat. Tipper and Railroad Earth also feature on the marquee, as well as the fantastic Rising Appalachia and—celebrating 30 years of slamgrass madness—Boulder’s incomparable Leftover Salmon. (Most of us knew it was only a matter of time before the Salmon found their way to ARISE. This is the year.)
47th Annual RockyGrass
Location: Planet Bluegrass, Lyons
Dates: July 26–28
Know before you go: Campers can get their passes at shop.bluegrass.com. There are a number of options, so consider carefully. Planet Bluegrass also has a green campsite challenge to foster sustainability. Look for rules at www.bluegrass.com/rockygrass/camping-contest.html. Other items of note: no pets, no alcohol, no glass and no fireworks. Taping is ok with low-profile equipment, but no video equipment. Bring a low-back folding chair and kids under 12 are free if accompanied by a parent. Your cellphone may or may not work—are you really worried about that?
The lineup: Originally founded by the godfather of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, RockyGrass is one of the most important bluegrass and acoustic music festivals in the nation. Look for Jerry Douglas and The Earls of Leicester on Friday’s bill, the legendary Sam Bush on Saturday, and the unequaled Del McCoury playing on the Sunday ticket.
Red Rocks Summer Concert Series
Location: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, Morrison
Know before you go: Red Rocks is arguably the most unique and inspiring outdoor concert venue in the world—ask anyone who’s played there.
A few rules and a tip or two: No climbing on the rocks! No drones. No glass. No animals. Binoculars and seat cushions are ok (recommended, even) and small, soft-sided coolers are ok. Keep in mind this is a city park. Recommendation: bring clothing for any weather conditions. Open-top sandals are not recommended. Regardless of where you park, you’ll be walking up and down, sometimes on steep and unimproved paths. If you arrive close to showtime, you’ll be in one of the lower lots with a hefty climb, all uphill, to reach the venue. Take your time and rest along the way to breathe. Better yet, get there early. The seats are not well marked sometimes. Be kind and make friends with your seat-neighbors.
Highlights: We’re not sure when Blues Traveler started their annual July 4 Rocks tradition, but we think Thomas Jefferson was there for it. The tradition continues this year. Norah Jones teases the paradigm on July 16, The String Cheese Incident holds court for three days July 19–21, John Prine—arguably one of America’s most treasured songwriters—plays with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra on July 28 and Peter Frampton brings his retirement tour on July 31. The CSO also backs up OneRepublic on Aug. 26 and supports Josh Groban on Aug. 28. Boulder natives The Wood Brothers play Sept. 5, Mark Knopfler will appear Sept. 10 and the annual electro-extravaganza Rowdytown, hosted and headlined by Boulder’s own Big Gigantic, tests the electrical grid Sept. 27–28.
Chautauqua Summer Series
Location: Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder
Know before you go: The Colorado Chautauqua, founded in 1898, is one of only 25 National Landmark sites in the state. Dodging near demise and demolition in the 1970s, it remains Boulder’s original and possibly most-treasured music venue. (Did you know John Philip Sousa played the Auditorium in 1904?)
Parking is usually a challenge inside the Chautauqua grounds on concert nights—there is limited parking on the south side of Baseline Road and, on some concert nights, the north side as well. A better solution may be the free HOP bus from either the Broadway and 27th Way Park-n-Ride or the RTD depot downtown. Details are on the Chautauqua website.
Highlights: Melissa Etheridge rocks the Auditorium on July 8, Michael McDonald croons soulful on July 15 and Brian Setzer brings his Rockabilly Riot on Aug. 25.
The Colorado Music Festival
Location: Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder
Know before you go: CMF ushers sell a variety of Boulder Baked cookies at the south kiosk during intermission. Cookies and Eldorado bottled water are just $2 each, and all profits support Colorado Music Festival & The Center for Musical Arts. The Colorado Music Festival kicks off its season on June 27 with a program of Beethoven and Rachmaninoff, featuring acclaimed Russian-born, U.S.-raised virtuoso pianist Natasha Paremski. A chamber music performance of Brahms and Dvořák compositions takes place on July 2, and Family Night on July 7 features Peter and the Wolf.
Highlights: Under the artistic direction of Peter Oundjian, CMF will explore Beethoven’s journey to romanticism, modernism, Neoclassicism and, finally, minimalism.
Don’t miss the Festival Finale! Mahler Symphony No. 3 on Aug. 3 featuring guest artist Janice Chandler-Eteme, soprano, along with St. Martin’s Festival Singers and the Boulder Children’s Chorale.
Don’t miss these favorite local music events!
Bands on the Bricks
Making your hump day a happy day with 10 weeks of free concerts. Enjoy the oldies
to alternative and everything in between at this not-to-be-missed summer tradition.
Call it dinner and a show with T/ACO and a local brewery.
Pearl Street Mall
Wednesdays, June 5–Aug. 7
Beer garden opens at 5:30 p.m.
Opening act starts at 6 p.m.
Headlining act starts at 7 p.m.
For more information, visit www.boulderdowntown.com.
Louisville Street Faire
On eight magical Friday nights in the summer, downtown Louisville transforms
into a high-energy—yet charming—street party featuring excellent food, cold drinks, children’s activities, quality arts, crafts and more. This fab event is FREE!
824 Front St.
Street Faire opens 5:30–9:30p.m.
Music–rain or shine–7 to 9:30 p.m.
June 14, 21, 28
July 12, 19, 26
Aug. 2, 9
For more information, visit www.downtownlouisvilleco.com/street-faire.
Rock & Rails
Get your rock on at Niwot’s free concert series every Thursday night June through August. A variety of local food trucks and beer vendors will be on hand to keep you sated, so bring cash!
Whistle Stop Park
Happy hour in the park, with drink specials and opening music 5–6 p.m.
Headlining band plays with one break in the middle 6:30–8:45 p.m.
For more details, visit www.niwot.com/events/rock-rails.