One of our favorites events of the year announced their initial lineup last week. Denver’s Underground Music Showcase will return to South Broadway July 27th-29th and right now, early bird tickets are just $35. Earlier this year, Two Parts purchased the music festival from the Denver Post, and while the Denver event company will be keeping classic pieces of the fest alive, they’re also bringing new fun into the mix. Here are our five favorite things about their initial announcement:
5. The fest has been shortened to three days.
Previously, the UMS started on the last Thursday of July and ran through Sunday night (some years the fest even hosted a preview show on Wednesday evening and then ran four nights following). This year, Two Parts has solidified the fest to run strictly Friday-Sunday, and while this does mean a few less shows, it also means attendance at Sunday shows is likely to improve. In years past, Sunday was a slower day, especially for afternoon sets. We get it- it’s hard chasing your favorite bands with an Oskar Blues brew in hand for four or five days straight. But this year, with three strong days of shows, no excuses! We expect to see you from dusk ‘til dawn and back again. Or at least everyday from Broadway brunch onward.
4. There will be a lot more happening than just music.
We love music. In fact, that’s most of what we do at the UMS every year. But this year, Two Parts has added in more experiences at the fest- panel discussions, comedy, and even podcasts. Local artwork will be showcased throughout the weekend too. Bringing together the entire artistic community, along with Denver’s incredible music scene, is something we’re excited to witness and connect with at this year’s UMS.
3. 303 Magazine will be curating “The Underground” pop-up events.
In their announcement of the festival last week, 303 Magazine reported that they will be hosting “unique experiential moments in various locations inside the festival for all attendees to spontaneously discover.” It’s these sort of weird surprises that keep things super interesting and build a community that festheads want to come back to year after year. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for this.
2. The headliners rock and the touring acts are so good.
Festival lineups can vary year to year, but this one rocks. Alvvays, BJ The Chicago Kid, Classixx, Cloud Cult, Deerhunter, Digable Planets, Frankie Cosmos… damn. After hitting Alvvays’ sold-out set at the Ogden last fall, we were pumped to see they’re one of the headliners. But in all honesty, every touring act on this year’s lineup is someone we’re stoked to see. Impressive.
1. There is still a MAJOR focus on local.
When festivals are bought and sold, there’s always the risk they’ll become more corporate with a focus on all of the (mostly) same touring acts hitting the festival circuit for the season. We had no doubt Two Parts would keep it real since they’ve helped curate events like Denver Flea and they created the Denver Passport Program. That said, we’re excited to see SO many local acts billed as tier two this year. Favorites like All Chiefs, Chloe Tang, CITRA, Last of the Easy Riders, One Flew West, Slowcaves, The Savage Blush, The Velveteers, and Tyto Alba topping that tier brings a big smile to our faces, as we’ve covered and watched these acts grind over the past year. Plus, the UMS’ overall lineup announcement included a lot of regular favorites and a lot of up-and-coming. There’s a great balance and a lot of different music to see. Overall, the local push was strong and we’ve heard rumors it’s only going to get better with the next announcement round this June.
It may be June, but we’re counting down the days until the UMS per usual. Countdown with us and grab your tickets here.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.