Grandoozy's Finale Ended a Great Weekend of Music, Art, & Exploration

The final day of Grandoozy was full of exploration, lots of laughs, and of course, some sweet tunes.

We wandered “The Break Room,” where attendees danced in a circle of speakers outside with live DJs spinning on deck. This was a popular spot in the early evening when it cooled down and people got their groove on. The “80s Ski Lodge” was more of the day dancing spot since it was fully enclosed and cool. Similar to “The Break Room,” a live DJ spun tunes for attendees who had access to a full bar, seating areas near a fake fireplace, and most importantly, full shade in the 93-degree heat. We also checked out the South Park carnival area, where festigoers could play various carnival games themed like the show.

The Backyard” had ample seating as well- there were chairlifts to people-watch in and even a full gondola that attendees could jump inside of for a picture. The small shopping district featured various vendors including Topo Designs, Kleen Kanteen, and even Never Summer snowboards because why not start thinking about that powder now, Colorado? Some vendors even included exclusive Grandoozy products, so if you wanted a sweet souvenir, this was the place to look!

The gondola in “The Backyard.”

The gondola in “The Backyard.”

Artist highlights of the day included soulful jams with Daniel Caesar, St. Vincent’s incredible and artistic set, a high-energy good time with De La Soul, a serious pyrotechnic adventure with The Chainsmokers, and a nightcap from legend Stevie Wonder, who played hits from across his catalogue with a massive band and even did a tribute to the late Aretha Franklin covering “Respect.”

St. Vincent. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Overall, we were very impressed with all that Superfly Presents had in store for festival attendees at Grandoozy. The weekend featured incredible headliner sets, great shows from local bands, live mural and canvas paintings from Denver artists, delicious Denver food and drinks, and so much more. This festival felt at home in Denver, and we can’t wait to see what’s next from the production team behind this fantastic festival.

Read more of our Grandoozy festival coverage here.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

St. Vincent Slays Set at Superfly's Inaugural Grandoozy in Denver

St. Vincent. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent, otherwise known as Annie Clark, electrified the audience on the Scissors Stage at Denver’s Grandoozy music festival on Sunday afternoon. With a 45-minute set, the audience left craving for more and screaming for an encore.  There is no one like her in the music industry right now and no one who has her indie-rock sound and being in that audience made you feel revived, energized, and youthful.

Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent’s music is both emotional and beautiful. She has found the perfect balance between rock and pop, establishing her own path in the industry. The lyrics are wonderfully crafted and her Grandoozy live performance was perfectly executed. Though her last tour she performed solo, she was joined by a band at Grandoozy. She captivated the audience and showed us what it means to rock out the St. Vincent way on her multiple, custom-colored guitars. Every color and every piece on the stage contributed to her aesthetic and her visuals were stylish, fun, and interesting. With her black slicked-back bob, orange latex dress, and lavender latex arm sleeves, her style for Grandoozy was pure chic.

Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent’s style is vibrant, yet minimalistic just like her performance and her stage presence was immense and demanding. Although, she had three other band mates, at times, it almost felt like it was just her- her voice, and her guitar on that stage. Her set was powerful, youthful, and raw. She played songs including, “Digital Witness,” “Masseduction,” “Fear the Future,” “Savior,” “Sugarboy,” “Los Ageless,” and “Slow Disco.” She gave us the opportunity to both dance and rock out. The audience was also treated to an acapella intro to her song “New York” tailored to the Denver audience with “Colfax Avenue” added to the lyrics. It was an empowering experience to see such a strong, talented woman dominate the stage and shred on the guitar.

Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent is a must-see live experience. It was one of the best sets we saw at this year’s inaugural Grandoozy, so if you haven’t yet, check out St. Vincent on Spotify here.

Find the rest of our Grandoozy coverage at this link.

-Taylor

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Sin Fronteras: Folks Fest Raises Voices in Solidarity

By: Riley Ann

Music from across the globe took the stage at the 2018 Folks Fest, including acts from the Saharan Desert, Canada, and the tasty melting pot of American folk music. Despite the lyrics being sung in various languages, spanning English, French, Spanish, and Tamashek, one message rang clear: strength in togetherness.

Las Cafeteras.

Las Cafeteras.

The East L.A.-based band Las Cafeteras took the stage by storm on Friday with their Afro-Mexican dance party. Vibrant choreography and hip-shaking rhythms amplified their Spanish and English lyrics advocating for social justice. Band members shared the spotlight trading off lead vocals, and they gave shoutouts to various causes, including Black Lives Matter, indigenous people’s rights, and more. They also performed a new rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” by blending Spanish phrases, new melodies, and a mariachi groove into the familiar tune as a modern commentary. You can see their live performance on KEXP and read the lyrics on their website.

Representatives of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County joined Las Cafeteras onstage to recognize their contributions as artists to social justice issues. The chamber invited Las Cafeteras to Colorado on the band’s previous tour and thanked the band for the work they do through music as well as educational programs throughout the country.

Later that night, Los Lobos, another East L.A. band lit up the stage with their unique blend of traditional Latin American styles with rock, Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, R&B, blues, and soul. The group made waves in music history by bringing Latin American folk music back to top charts in the late 80s, revitalizing Ritchie Valens’ take on the traditional tune “La Bamba,” along with several other hit songs. While Valens was an early trailblazer in the Chicano Rock movement, Los Lobos carried the torch and kept the movement steady via mainstream radio airplay decades later. With their popularity, multiple Grammy Awards, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they’ve made their mark not just within the Chicano Rock movement, but also with deep ties in the ever-colorful tapestry of American folk music.

Heather Mae.

Heather Mae.

Saturday morning opened with Heather Mae, the artist who won last year’s Folks Fest songwriter competition. She moved the crowd with musical confessions about mental illness, overcoming oppression, and body image evidenced in her song “I Am Enough.” As an advocate for body positivity, LGBTQIA rights, people of color, and more, she thanked the festival organizers for curating such a diverse lineup throughout the weekend, saying, “They are trying to elevate marginalized voices, and that includes women. Thank you.” She concluded her set by inviting a chorus of performers to join her on stage for her power anthem “Stand Up.”

When Darrell Scott took the stage Saturday afternoon, he performed a song that he said was written by his friend Marcus Hummon. The narrative showed the life of a Honduran girl named Rosanna who escaped the physical and sexual abuse of the underground sex trafficking industry, bore a daughter, was profiled and arrested by police, was deported by I.C.E. back to Honduras, and nearly died in the desert trying to reunite with her daughter. Her true story is documented here, and you can hear Hummon’s album version here. The song left the crowd frozen and teary-eyed for Rosanna, the representation of people targeted by strict immigration policies and facing not just unfair, but impossible playing fields.

Saturday evening closed with the Indigo Girls. Despite heavy rains concluding their set early, they shared many of their signature songs, including “It’s Alright,” which is one of many that uses music as a vehicle for social change. The Indigo Girls served as one of the first bands to not only be public advocates for the LGBTQIA community, but also to be publicly out. Beloved by the crowd, the duo was joined by the sea of smiling faces singing along in the rain.

Bonnie Paine.

Bonnie Paine.

Bonnie Paine opened Sunday with the help of the “Cottonwood Choir” and instrumentalists featuring many familiar faces from the Front Range, including other members of Elephant Revival. The ensemble inspired the crowd to sing along with spirituals originating from slaves’ field songs about overcoming oppression.

That evening, Tinariwen quickly became a crowd favorite. The band’s fascinating blend of African stylings with American blues idioms created a strikingly unique sound. Furthermore, the band’s formation in refugee camps and resilience despite the backdrop of warfare, strife, and revolution speaks through the music even if listeners don’t know Tamashek. Over several decades, band members have survived against the odds and continue writing songs fighting for human rights and equality. They’ve even been called “Music’s True Rebels” by NPR. You can read more about the band’s background here.

Tinariwen.

Tinariwen.

Once again, Planet Bluegrass curated a powerful festival, giving festivarians an opportunity to see household names, like Regina Spektor, the Indigo Girls, and Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco) alongside the acts you didn’t know you wanted to see. Stay tuned at the Planet Bluegrass website for their lineup of next year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Rockygrass, and Folks Fest.

View the full photo gallery from this event here.

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos provided to BolderBeat by the artist. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

From the Eats to the Tunes, Here's Why We Can't Wait for Grandoozy

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Colorado will finally be home to a new music festival this September. The concert promoter, Superfly will debut their first festival, Grandoozy at the Overland Park golf course September 14th-16th. Being the co-creators of other major festivals such as Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, Superfly is not new to creating a memorable experience for concertgoers.

During the fest, we can look forward to over fifty acts, all of which will cater to different tastes in music. Big-name headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + the Machine, and Stevie Wonder. While at the fest, you can spend your Sunday rocking out with St. Vincent, and if you were unable to snag tickets to see The Chainsmokers’ sold out show at Red Rocks in 2016, Grandoozy is your chance to see them in an outdoor setting with a great view of the Rocky Mountains. This is the first time Kendrick Lamar will be back in Denver since last July, and the first time since he won his historic Pulitzer Prize for his record DAMN. His performance is going to be a definite Denver must-see.

The weekend will also be the ultimate Denver music festival experience, from the music to the food. Between performances, make sure to grab a bite or a few before the next act! The entire festival will pay homage to all things local, from the beer you drink to the food you order. The vendors list will spotlight local favorites like Snooze: an AM Eatery (Adam Schlegel), Justin Cucci (Linger, Root Down, Vital Root, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, and El Five), Carrie Baird (executive chef at Bar Dough and participant on Season 15 of Top Chef Denver), Jen Jasinski (executive chef/owner of Larimer Square’s Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Stoic & Genuine, Ultreia), and Tommy Lee (chef and owner of Uncle and Hop Alley). You just might find your new favorite dish or meet the chef from your current favorite restaurant!
    
After you have finished your food from our local vendors and feel like dancing between acts,  head over to the Break-Room. It will be Grandoozy’s taste of a disco club right in the middle of the Mile High City. The Break-Room will be a dance lounge to satisfy all music tastes, from ambient to electronic. The lineup features various local DJs who are both up-and-coming, as well as popular within the industry. Some of the local acts will include Sunsquabi, Head for the Hills, The Drunken Hearts, AMZY, and Black Pumas.

Ultimately, this will be a showcase of our beautiful city, spotlight our local food vendors, celebrate our local talent, and it will put Denver on the map for big-name music festivals in the future. This is not the festival to miss, so grab your friends and buy your tickets before they sell out!

Grandoozy pricing starts at $99 for general admission single-day tickets, $224.50 for general admission three-day tickets, $249.50 for VIP single-day tickets, and $674.50 for VIP three-day tickets. They can be purchased online here.To get you pumped for our first major festival, make sure you follow Grandoozy on Spotify, and add their playlists! We’ll see you at the Park!

-Taylor

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Denver's Underground Music Showcase Hosting Pop-Up with Free Beer & Discounted Festival Passes This Weekend (07/13)

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Denver’s Underground Music Showcase is throwing a pop-up event this week in celebration of the upcoming festival. This Friday, July 13th at Black Buzzard, UMS bands Oxeye Daisy, in/Planes, and Tyto Alba will be rocking out to get you excited for the upcoming fest. The UMS is giving the first 100 people through the door a free Oskar Blues draft beer, which means you can choose a Dale’s Pale Ale, Pinner IPA, Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Old Chub and G’Knight on the house!

We’ve already laid out for you several reasons why we’re so excited for this year’s UMS but if you missed that, check out The Underground, the multiple outdoor stages, and the festival’s plans for comedy, art, and more to be a part of this year’s weekend.

Festie time is just a couple of weeks away, July 27th-29th, and at the pop-up show this week, you can snag UMS tickets at discounted pricing with NO service fees. Get your party on this Friday the 13th by RSVPing to this UMS pop-up show here! RSVP is required for entry.

See you at the Buzzard soon!

The End of An Era: Denver's Final Warped Tour Was Everything We Wanted

By: Nathan Sheppard

After 24 years, Warped Tour is ending with a bang. 

Warped Tour had all the feels this year. 

Warped Tour had all the feels this year. 

Warped Tour made its final stop in Denver recently, marking the end of an era. Many of us look forward to the one day of summer where our favorite bands play our favorite songs in a hot parking lot, and Denver showed up in full force to make the most of this bittersweet ending.

The day started off early with some of our favorite local bands- In The Whale and One Flew West- who both rocked the stage and made the Denver music scene proud. We also got our fix of new era of punk/pop-punk with State Champs, Movements, and Waterparks. Also to note- Australia was representing big time for this last Warped Tour- we caught amazing sets from In Hearts Wake, The Amity Affliction, and Tonight Alive.  

Every Time I Die.

Every Time I Die.

After seeing a few bands, we took a break to talk about something that is especially important in today's current entertainment industry: mental health. We caught up with one of our favorite non-profits, To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) for a little Q&A on the topic:

Tell us a little of what you guys do and how you got started.

We’re a mental health non-profit dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with things like addiction, depression, self-injury, and suicide. We started 12 years ago trying to help one of our friends enter treatment by designing a t-shirt and that has evolved into this movement helping hundreds of thousands of people.

What are the main things that you all do to help with mental health?

The biggest way we provide help is providing scholarships for counseling and treatment. Our profits from t-shirts we sell here go towards those scholarships.

What has your relationship with Warped Tour been like over the years?

We’ve been on Warped Tour for 12 years, ever since we started, and they’ve helped us grow and welcomed us to this wild family and we love it so much. It’s a group of people that has a special place in our heart, because every summer we see familiar faces and get to ask how they are, how they’ve been doing since last year, and see it evolve over the years.

With this being the last Warped Tour what are your plans going forward?

It’s bittersweet to see Warped Tour go, obviously, because a lot of us have grown with it, so it’ll be interesting to see what avenues are next. We’ve been getting into the EDM world a little bit; the yoga world which has been fun. There's just going to be some adapting [with] how to interact with these different groups that we’ll be learning about. But we’ll always have Warped to look back on foundly- thanks for the memories Warped!

What are some ways that people can get involved with TWLOHA?

There’s a “Get Involved” tab on our website that can give you a little more detail about bringing the message of hope and health. Whether that looks like bringing a speaker to your area or simply purchasing info cards online to post coffee shops, it’s the little things that really push and make people want to see change and get help. You can also donate directly on the website, and recently we’ve had people donating their birthdays on Facebook to TWLOHA which is an easy way to help us and also get the word out as well. You can find more info at TWLOHA’s website.

Don Bronco.

Don Bronco.

After our interview with TWLOHA, we got right back at it with some of our favorite hardcore bands Wage War and Every Time I Die, where the crowd surfers made security work overtime! Towards the end of the day, we were hit with a massive dose of nostalgia with our favorite old-school emo bands The Used and Mayday Parade. We knew that the day would have to end eventually, and it closed with Simple Plan. It was a “Perfect” way to end the fest, and many of us shed a tear or two.

Simple Plan.

Simple Plan.

For 24 years, Warped Tour has been a place for many of us to let go and forget about the worries of the world while listening to the music that means everything to us. This year’s tour had a little bit for everyone, from new up and comers to the classic bands that we all love. It also had all of our favorite non-profits- communities that we have learned about and grown with over the years of Warped, and people that we can always count on and call home. We will always remember all the great times we had at Warped Tour. We can only hope that they bring this fest back to live on in some capacity, even if that’s another Warped Rewind at Sea or having the festival in a single location where we can relive the glory days of summer. What will Warped Tour become as it burns out and shines on? We can’t wait to find out.

See our full gallery from Warped Tour here

-Nathan

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Colorado Music Festivals 2018: Your Official Guide To Fest Season

Festival season is the biggest time of the year for the music world. So here at BolderBeat, we’ll be updating this feature with every Colorado festival announcement that comes our way. Stay as on the pulse as we are:

May Play Music Festival May 11th

Downtown Greeley is hosting their fourth annual May Play fest with artists like The Burroughs, Brent Cowles, Slow Caves, Silver & Gold, and Post Paradise on the bill. There are a ton of other great local artists to check out, so swoop details and tickets here.

Spread The Word Music Festival May 11th-13th

Taking place at Denver’s Fox Street Compound, Spread The Word features a mix of local and national artists with styles including rock, jam, funk, reggae, hip-hop, folk/grass, electronic and fusion. Headliners of this year's fest include Jeff Austin Band (formerly of Yonder Mountain String Band), Everyone Orchestra (conducted by Matt Butler), A-Mac & The Height, and Bass Physics. Full lineup here.

303 Music Festival May 17th

Hosted by Ru Johnson at Denver's The Church, 303 Magazine is bringing you one awesome night of local music. Trev Rich, CITRA, Eldren, and The Other Black are just some of the bands on the lineup. Full details and tickets here

Five Points Jazz Festival May 19th

This FREE annual festival is back this year in Denver's Five Points neighborhood and will feature artists like Jakarta, The King Stan Band, Impulse, The Hendersons, Patrick McDevitt Nation, and more. You can bounce between venues or just walk around and take in all the good sounds. Full lineup and details here.

Mountain Games June 7th-10th

GoPro is putting on a festival in Vail with headliners like Chris Robinson Brotherhood, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Bonfire Dub, and The Wood Brothers. The weekend will also feature a slew of athletic events, including competitions for your dog, a silent disco, and art exhibits. You can grab tickets to Mountain Games here.

Greeley Blues Jam June 8th-9th

The Greeley Blues Jam keeps the blues scene alive and this year, their lineup includes The Devon Allman Project, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, and Danielle Nicole. This is one weekend you’ll enjoy being blue. Full lineup on their website.

Taste of Fort Collins June 8th-10th

The 22nd annual Taste of Fort Collins headliners include William Michael Morgan, Eddie Money, Everlast, and Judah & the Lion. Tickets are only $5-$10 and the fest is hosted at Civic Center Park in Old Towne. Grab more info on their website.

Country Jam June 14th-17th

Grand Junction will host Country Jam’s 27th annual four-day fest this year. Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Eldredge, and Big & Rich top the headliners list of the 30+ artists that will play to your boot kickin’ desire. Surrounded by the red rocks of GJ, this festival annually hosts some of the biggest names in country music. More info at this link.

Sonic Bloom Festival June 14th-17th

If you like electronic music, there’s no better place to be than Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Festival. Happening at Hummingbird Ranch in Spanish Peaks Country, the weekend will feature performances from Shpongle, Keys N Krates, Nightmares On Wax, Liquid Stranger, EOTO and a huge array of other beatmasters. The festival will also feature yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists. And did we mention the visuals? Full lineup here.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival June 15th-18th

Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 45th year this summer! Tedeschi Trucks Band, Greensky Bluegrass, and Leftover Salmon top the fest’s 2018 list. We can tell you from past experience that this fest is magical and we’ve even met some our favorite musicians at (where else?) the Port-a-Potties. More info and tickets here.

Cover Rock Festival June 22nd-23rd

Looking for tunes from tribute bands? This festival is all about it. Hosted in Avon, Cover Rock Festival will feature tributes to artists like Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, the late Tom Petty (RIP!!), and others. More info and tickets here.

Westword Music Showcase June 23rd

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host their annual summer celebration this year. With Galantis, Bonobo, The Front Bottoms, Joywave, and a ton of local artists, this will be one to clink a summer beer to and enjoy. More info and tickets on their website.

Van’s Warped Tour July 1st

Warped Tour recently announced that 2018 will be the last year for the traveling festival. Though much has changed since what was arguably Warped Tour’s heyday (moshing is now frowned upon), we’re still sad to see it go. Give these bands a proper send-off- locals 30H!3 are top-billed with acts like All Time Low, Asking Alexandria, and more. Tickets here.

Colorado Rocky Mountain Old Time Music Association (CROMA) July 11th-15th

CROMA's annual Parrish Ranch festival features a great old-time music lineup, workshops, nightly dances, open jams, classes for kids, open stage times, and couples dance workshops. The festival manages to keep old traditions alive while also bringing a modern twist to some elements. Artists at this year's fest will include Bryant and Brown, The Onlies, Betse & Clarke, The Barn Owls, Patt and Possum, Caroline Oakley, Chris Kemiet, and Larry Edelman. Get full details and tickets here.

The Ride Festival July 14th-15th

The String Cheese Incident, Sheryl Crow, and Grace Potter will headline The Ride Festival this year, another Telluride fest that is sure to get you groovin’. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Big Something, and others will keep your summer-chill vibes in check at this one. Full lineup here.

Global Dance Festival July 20th-21st

If you’re ready to dance, Global’s got a crazy mix of electronic and hip-hop artists like Deadmau5, Gucci Mane, Future, and Machine Gun Kelly topping their list. The event is at Sports Authority Field this year and you can snag tickets here.

The Underground Music Showcase July 27th-29th

One of our absolute favorite weekends of the summer is Denver’s The UMS due to its focus on local artists, and all the fun that comes along with wandering around the South Broadway venues hosting the three-day event. In news this year, Two Parts has taken over the event. This year's lineup is stellar with headliners like Alvvays, BJ the Chicago Kid, Classixx, Deerhunter, Digable Planets and over 100 local artists who we absolutely adore. Tickets and full details here

Rockygrass Festival July 27th-29th

Bluegrass, bluegrass, and more bluegrass. That’s what Rockygrass in Lyons is all about! Last year, the festival showed us the changing face of the genre. This year, Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, David Grisman and Peter Rowan, and Hot Rize are already confirmed for this pickin’ celebration, so get your tickets now. More info and tickets at this link.

ARISE Music Festival August 3rd-5th

Colorado’s ARISE is back for its sixth year at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films! Some of the top billed artists for 2017 include Slightly Stoopid, Thievery Corporation, and Trevor Hall. Get more details here.

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest August 10th-12th

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in the historic downtown of Fort Collins. Bohemian Nights headliners this year include The Motet, Blondie, and The Decemberists. The festival also hosts a number of local bands on their stages- get the full schedule and details for the weekend here.

Local Jam Grand Junction August 10th-12th

Known for its "creativity, passion, dedication, style,  [and] massive talent," Grand Junction's three-day festival Local Jam is a celebration of Western Slope bands ranging from metal to bluegrass. Stray Grass, Jack + Jill, Suckafish, Tim + Richard, and others have been announced for the year. Full details and lineup here.

Mountain Town Music Festival August 17th-18th

Back for its fifth year, Keystone’s Mountain Town Music Festival features a mix of rock and grass bands like Ages & Ages, Mipso, Strange Americans, and Shovels & Rope. The fest is a celebration of “all things Colorado” so you can expect some good brews along with the shows. More info and tickets here.

Velorama Colorado August 17th-19th

Following the Colorado Classic bicycle race, Velorama is returning to Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood for its second year this summer. Cold War Kids, Matt & Kim, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and The Kills are the bands announced so far, and you don’t have to bike in the race to partake in the party. Plus local acts Brent Cowles, Wildermiss, and Slow Caves are on the bill! More about this new fest here.

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival August 17th-19th

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival showcased artists who brought current politics into their tunes last year, bringing people together in solidarity. Along with its songwriting workshops, the Lyons, CO fest created an awesome artistic community that managed to showcase great national acts too. Indigo Girls, Jeff Tweedy, and Los Lobos have been announced for this year’s fest. Tickets here.

Compound Sound Festival August 24th-26th

Boogie Groove Entertainment is producing this year's first annual Compound Sound. What started as friends performing at a private ranch in 2009 has officially launched into a major music festival. Along with headliners like Cycles, Lucid Vision, Tnertle, and Spectacle, the fest will also have food trucks and vendors, yoga and flow workshops, a healing village and "many more shenanigans." Details and tickets here

Four Corners Folk Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Pagosa Springs 23rd annual Four Corners Folks Fest is ready for a campout with bands like Nahko And Medicine For The People, Amy Helm, We Banjo 3, and Jon Stickley Trio. The weekend will also feature jam camps for kids and adults, and lots of tasty local vendors. See more for yourself and grab camping info and tickets here.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass August 31st-September 2nd

Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson, Zac Brown Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Fitz and the Tantrums, Gary Clark Jr., Bahamas, and The Record Company are the big acts at Jazz Aspen’s Labor Day event this year. JAS has a smaller June event too, which will feature Lizz Wright, Leslie Odom Jr., Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Josh Kagler and Harmonistic Praise Crusade, and Georgia On My Mind: A Tribute To Ray Charles. Details on both events here.

Seven Peaks Music Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Dierks Bentley is throwing a three-day music festival in Chaffee County this year with headliners like Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, Elle King, Lanco, Del McCoury, Sam Bush and The Cadillac Three. The new fest is a real treat for country lovers and the scenery of Buena Vista sure won't hurt! Get details and tickets here.

Denver Jazz Festival September 14th-16th

With a mix of local and international jazz acts, Denver Jazz Festival promises over 600 dancers and listeners for their three-day fest. Hal Smith's Swing Central, Jonathan Doyle Swingtet, Red Hot Rhythm Rocket, and many others are on the lineup. Check out news and get tickets here.

Grandoozy September 14th-16th

Superfly, the geniuses behind Bonnaroo, are bringing Grandoozy to Denver this year! In what could possibly be the biggest festival production the state has seen, headliners have already been announced and include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + The Machine, and Stevie Wonder. Sturgill Simpson, Miguel, and St. Vincent have also made the list; Denver-based acts Tennis, Dragondeer, Gasoline Lollipops, and Flaural will perform as well. This fest is our most highly anticipated of 2018 so don’t snoozy- Tier 1 tickets are already sold-out so grab your passes here.

Telluride Blues & Brews September 14th-16th

As regular festivalgoers of Blues & Brews say, “It's not the altitude that'll take your breath away. It's the views.” That, and of course, the music. This year, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Govt Mule, Booker T’s Stax Revue, JJ Grey & Mofro, and Anders Osborne will headline. Early bird tickets are already sold-out, so grab passes while you can here.

Festivals of The Past

Wondering what happened to some of your other favorite Colorado festivals? Project Pabst dissipated into the PBR-fueled mountain air with no Denver announcement this year (but Superfly who put it on is the force behind Grandoozy). Bass Center is now in Virginia after the fest was first moved from Colorado to New Jersey last year; Divide Music Festival, who were rumored to return this year, has now been postponed until 2019 stating, “greater forces are working against us;” Groove Festival’s web presence is still replaced by this Japanese site making us still question everything; Mad Decent Block Party appears to have officially gone off the radar; Riot Fest has again only listed its Chicago date in 2018 after the fest cancelled its Denver show last year; and Vertex (which we freakin’ loved) appears to be a distant dream after it was cancelled in 2017.

Make sure to keep up with our festival coverage all summer on BolderBeat’s dedicated fest page!

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Dragondeer Are Set To Be Colorado's Next Big Music Name

By: Meghan Hargaden

Dragondeer, a heavy blues American rock band from Denver, CO, is gathering quite a bit of esteem for their newest album, and first full length LP, If You Got The Blues. Sighted for their singularity and strangeness, this Denver band is doing something different, and has us all turning our heads and our hips.

They draw inspiration from all angles of the American sound including the soul and sincerity of the electric blues of Stevie Ray Vaughn, the modern-day dread of The Black Keys, a bit of pre-heavy metal influence from Black Sabbath, and the swamp rock of Creedence Clearwater Revival. These influences have helped Dragondeer claim a first-class seat on Jefferson’s airplane, as it takes off into the future of American rock music, and pays homage to all the artists that set the runway for this band to jet. The members of the band include Cole Rudy (electric guitar/lap steel/mandolin), Eric Halborg (lead vocals/harmonica/guitar), Carl Sorensen (drums), and Casey Sidwell (bass).

The album begins with the self-titled track, “If You Got the Blues,” setting the stage for the sincerity and soul that occurs throughout the journey of this production. A production, I might add, that couldn’t have happened without the help of accomplished producer Mark Howard, who has worked with legendary artists such as Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, REM, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, and Willie Nelson.

Dragondeer.

Dragondeer.

The album saunters us in with the ethereal notes of Eric Halborg’s voice merging magically with the harmonica, as it soars over the chortling cuts of low-end accompaniment in this psychedelic Americana ballad. “Don’t Go” pleads the song’s opening line, and from the moment the words first burst forth from his lips, the pure longing in his voice lends credence to the name of this track, and the entire project. The discordant harmonies of the chorus resolve into a melancholic, distorted fuzz, leaving us reminiscent of dusty guitars plucked by the firelight, and amplified by the neon lens of modern reality. The second chorus cuts with a solemn breakdown, drifting off into the chasm of our isolation. Both the lyrics and the voicing of the instrumentation echo our worst fear of being truly alone; listening to these tunesmiths, it’s as if our entire psyche has been cloaked in an iridescent haze of the weirder parts of the 1970s. A bold and beautiful love song, this first track stands as a testament to Dragondeer’s songwriting, musicianship, and purity. The band describes the track as a personal manifesto, with inspiration drawn from the belief in a shared human experience and a desire to connect with others.

The next track, “Amarillo Bump,” begins with the sustained sounds of Rudy’s electric guitar, leaving us suspended in time only to be saved by Halborg’s harmonica once again. We are then escorted into the thumping and driving kick of Carl Sorensen’s drum beat, which becomes the outboard motor for the entire track, propelling us into the murky waters of the 1950s and out into the swampy southern rock of the 70s. Like a bunch of Scottish teenagers out for a boating holiday on Loch Ness dropping acid before hearing thumps at the bottom of the boat, the electric guitar and harmonica attempt musical cries for aid, calling until their voices grow raspy, realizing that there is no help coming. And so, we lay back and accept our fate, letting the bass tones and percussive rhythms of writhing tentacles and electronica bring us deeper and deeper into the darkness.

The album continues with Halborg’s raw vocals, rambling harmonica solos, and groovy instrumentation that fuse all together into a unique genre of country funk and American rock. Like taking a long swamp ride along the rolling waves of the Florida everglades, brought up and turned on by the slow, isolating tracks like “Believe,” “Easy With Me,” and “When I See You,” and then brought back down into slow, isolating tracks like “Same Train,” “Let it Ride,” and “Part of the Flow.” This vacillating progression, capturing the beautiful desperation of blues music.

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Alone, If You Got The Blues stands as a declaration of the band’s genius, but their live performance brings an entirely alternate layer of talent, captivating the audience with their impressive improvisation, harmonizing harmonica, heavy metal mandolin, lap steel played untraditionally through delays, and a ripping rhythm section that can’t keep us from getting down and dancing.

You can see Dragondeer perform their new album live at The Grandoozy Festival this summer in Denver, CO on September 14th. The band is stoked to be coming back to their hometown to perform alongside a variety of internationally renowned artists of all different genres.

Be sure to follow Dragondeer on Spotify and iTunes and keep a look out for all of their other upcoming shows in Atlanta, Telluride, and right here in their hometown of Denver. You can buy tickets for Grandoozy here!

-Meghan

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Viretta To Release New Music Video This Friday (03/30)

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Viretta, a Denver-based alt-rock band, is coming out with a 12-track album that took over two years to complete. Why? The band took it upon themselves to record and mix the whole thing in their own studio, making it sound exactly the way they wanted. The tracks were their oysters. 

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As it turns out, taking on this task all by themselves was no small feat. Mike Moroni, Viretta’s frontman, lightheartedly admits to the pains and turmoil of taking on such an endeavor saying, “It was hell!” Ultimately though, he acknowledges it was worth the fruits of labor. Combining the heavy riffs reminiscent of Queens of Stone Age and with Radiohead-like reverb, the album fronts an electric hard-rock swagger with vulnerable and emotional wanting. And now the band wants you to get ready!

The single off the upcoming album, “You are My IV” is already out. If the rest of the tracks deliver like this song does, then we’re all in for an angsty, roaring, riff-rocking treat to satisfy all our alt-rock cravings.

The Fear is scheduled for release in full across all platforms on May 18th. In lieu of the date, Viretta will be releasing three music videos to get you amped, starting with the first video for the album’s second track “Cordyceps,” which will be released this Friday, March 30th to view online, or if you find yourself on Market Street in Denver at The Black Buzzard, Oskar Blues Grill & Brew you can see it in person. Viretta will play a live show, along with The SIR Band, before unveiling the video to the crowd.

Want more details? Head to the Facebook event and get tickets!

-Mirna 

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Resounded With Resistance Of Current Political Happenings

By: Riley Ann

Woody Guthrie would have rolled in his grave this weekend, not in disdain, but in delight had he heard the music at this year’s Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in the hills of Lyons, Colorado. In the spirit of Woody, along with Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and so many others, the music of Folks Fest was charged with political messages, the call for solidarity, and the stand for social justice.

The crowd at Ramy Essam's set.

The crowd at Ramy Essam's set.

The festival opened with the Songwriter Showcase, and Heather Mae stole the show with two of her original songs truly about the times, one she introduced as, “my kind of love,” and for the other, she addressed the significance of what happened in Charlottesville. After winning, she shared on her music Facebook page, “I performed ‘Wanderer,’ my song about being queer. I performed ‘Stand Up,’ my song about fighting discrimination. I asked the audience to stand with me and join the cause.” And stand they did. She had the festival grounds filled with people standing and singing along, many with tear-filled eyes. You can watch her chilling music video for “Stand Up” here.

Heather Mae.

Heather Mae.

Heather Mae offered more insights into her performance, saying, “With everything that’s going on right now, what a waste it would be if I didn’t say something and use this opportunity to show that we can’t stay silent anymore. I chose my songs that weren’t necessarily the best for competition, but they were perfect for this platform. The mission I’m on right now is to make music that matters and that makes people think, and I feel like it was really heard, and that’s the most validation I’ve ever felt. It’s like the universe is saying, ‘Good job, kid, keep writing the music you’re writing’ and I feel a lot of gratitude for that.” With her winning performance, Heather Mae earned a one-hour slot on the main stage at next year’s Folks Festival. In the meantime, you can keep an eye on her tour schedule via her website.

Rhiannon Giddens.

Rhiannon Giddens.

Later that evening, Rhiannon Giddens lit the stage on fire with her performance, ignited with the stories of despair, fury, and hope in her latest album Freedom Highway. She opened with a rock version of “Spanish Mary,” a tune she co-wrote with Bob Dylan that’s dripping in satire about imperialism in the name of the Catholic Church. She left the audience on the verge of tears with “At the Purchaser’s Option,” a song she wrote after finding a 19th-century ad about a 22-year-old slave woman’s baby for sale. She left listeners breathless with her tune “We Could Fly,” a song based on the African-American folktale about the people stolen from their homelands as slaves who lost their wings. Rhiannon is a force of nature onstage, and her music has earned its rankings as modern classics, songs that will be forever immortalized in the canon of folk music. You can hear more of her first-hand insights in her NPR interview here.

Ramy Essam.

Ramy Essam.

In the tradition of Sunday morning spiritual sets at Planet Bluegrass festivals, Ramy Essam, the unassuming singer/songwriter who became the voice of the Egyptian Revolution, opened the day with a riveting set. Though he sang mostly in his native Egyptian-Arabic dialect, he introduced his songs in English. The subject matter spanned from honoring the strength of women and girls who fought in the revolution, many of whom were jailed and tortured, to making fun of the police, an agency Ramy described as being corrupt and dangerous in Egypt, and many of his songs challenged tyrant leaders and their wrongdoings. Despite singing in a language very few attendees knew, people began joining his refrains by the end of almost every song. The crowd also sang along with his cover of John Lennon’s “I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier.” At one point, Ramy proclaimed to the audience, “Music is the most powerful peaceful weapon we have.” His set concluded with a chant-like refrain begging for peace “for just one day.” Instinctively, the audience sang along, linking arms as they stood together in unity.

Dave Rawlings.

Dave Rawlings.

While the main stage was filled with outstanding performances, spanning the high-energy acts like The Revivalists and Lake Street Dive, the introspective meditations of Elephant Revival and Gregory Alan Isakov, the down-home tunes of Dave Rawlings Machine, and everything in between, the through line of the festival resonated with resistance. Nearly every performer mentioned the need for solidarity, peace, acceptance, resistance, attention to social justice issues, or, in the lighthearted case of Korby Lenker, putting politics aside momentarily with family in “Let’s Just Have Supper.” In the spirit of the folk music tradition, this year’s Folks Festival was truly of and for the people.

Gregory Alan Isakov.

Gregory Alan Isakov.

You can stay tuned for next year’s Folks Festival lineup at the Planet Bluegrass website here. If it is anything like this year’s lineup, it’s one you won’t want to miss.

View our full photo gallery from Folks Fest 2017 here

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Brought Together Artists & Fans For Four Days Of Awesome

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s annual four day music festival The Underground Music Showcase rocked South Broadway last weekend. We crawled the strip, ate nothing but pizza, and almost refused to sleep in the name of good music. Here are some of our favorite things about this year’s festival:

The Bands

Of course we went to as many shows as possible and of course most of them really rocked our socks off. But here we’re going to be shameless and first tell you about the killer acts who played our packed official day party.

Xavier Provencher & Sean Culliton of Retrofette.

Xavier Provencher & Sean Culliton of Retrofette.

BolderBeat & KGNU combined forces this year to bring you Brunch with a Beat at The UMS, which was five hours of sugar and synth by some of Colorado’s most promising electro acts.

Greg Laut of Whiskey Autumn.

Greg Laut of Whiskey Autumn.

Mirror Fears kicked things off with her industrial goth pop, Church Fire kept things movin’ with their Crystal Castles-esque electronic primal therapy, and DéCollage wrapped the front of The Irish Rover in Mylar and swept the stage with their avant-garde pop. Retrofette’s synth stylings followed, and created a massive dance party full of hip-shaking & flash tattoos. Whiskey Autumn’s indie synth pop closed the show; their unreleased track "Birds That Flew" had many whistling along to its chorus. And in between sets, DJ Erin Stereo crushed sweet beats. We gave away tickets to upcoming Future Islands and Thundercat shows, and we passed out donut lollipops, which many showgoers expressed they hoped were laced with weed (they were not kidz).

As for the rest of our UMS:

Anthony Ruptak.

Anthony Ruptak.

Our first official set at UMS 2017 was at Hi-Dive on Thursday with Anthony Ruptak, who started us off with amazing tunes from his new record Don’t Let It Kill You, and even streamed a Facebook live anti-Trump vid from the stage. Punk rock.

Ishka Phoenix of Ghost Tapes.

Ishka Phoenix of Ghost Tapes.

Ghost Tapes were a funky, neo-soul standout at Skylark; frontwoman Ishka Phoenix had the crowd melting as she delivered tasty R&B sounds from her ice cream microphone.

Ben Pisano of Corsicana.

Ben Pisano of Corsicana.

Corsicana gave us tasty indie tunes while we nommed hard on an Illegal Pete’s burrito, which was the only non-pizza item we allowed ourselves for sustenance. The four-piece are playing a couple of big Colorado shows with Hippo Campus this month, so make sure to roll to those.

Chris Scott & Chris Kimmel of OptycNerd.

Chris Scott & Chris Kimmel of OptycNerd.

OptycNerd describe themselves as “eclectro indie pop hop sexy time,” and well, we wish we’d written that ourselves. Their sexy time at Hi-Dive was enjoyed.

Zola Jesus.

Zola Jesus.

Zola Jesus brought her dark, operatic vocals to the main stage; Red Fang spouted the classic rock stoner jams they’re known for to a headbanging crowd.

What is cooler than wearing glow-in-the-dark face paint? Glow-in-the-dark guitar strings- DUH. Motion Trap had ‘em at their Rover set on Saturday, and they played their electro sonic disco tunes to a packed house that boogied with them from start to finish.

Mic Carroll of All Chiefs.

Mic Carroll of All Chiefs.

All Chiefs kept us out of the rain at Hi-Dive with their indie rock vibes, Evan Holm & The Restless Ones kicked up some folky soul at Gary Lee’s Motorcycle Club, and GALLERIES played a heartfelt tribute show celebrating the life of late Denver music prodigy Kyle McQueen.

The Outfit.

The Outfit.

Rock’n’roll’s The Outfit played their final set ever at 3 Kings Tavern on Friday to a mosh-ready, beer-heavy crowd who were clearly sad to see them go.

Rebecca Williams of The Savage Blush.

Rebecca Williams of The Savage Blush.

The Savage Blush had a killer psych rock-dripping set at the main stage, Slowcaves brought us chill wave surf rock sounds, and Dragondeer managed to blues rock us almost straight through a downpour, though they had to cut their set a bit short when the rain just about flash-flooded the festival parking lot in true Colorado fashion.

Esmé Patterson.

Esmé Patterson.

Brent Cowles revived a soaking crowd with “Cold Times” when the sun came back out, Esmé Patterson slayed her evening dream rock set with unreleased music and a touching tribute with Kitty Crimes to the late Tyler Despres, and Benjamin Booker crowd surfed his way right into Colorado’s heart, closing out the main stage of the festival Sunday evening.

The Booze

Dewar's Whiskey Emporium.

Dewar's Whiskey Emporium.

Breckenridge Brewing was a main sponsor for The UMS this year and we sipped many an Avalanche by the main stage throughout the fest. Dewar’s had what felt like a tiny house made for drinking with free smells and scotch eggs. It was delicious and why you would have wasted your tongue on any other mixed drink in the hot sun and the pouring rain is beyond us.

The Bunny

Yeah. This one.

Yeah. This one.

Mixed Up Gifts’ pop up shop on South Broadway had some sweet merch for sale from Sacred Bones Records and a creepy night light if you’re in the market to wake up afraid of the dark only to find Jason lurking in your bathroom. But best of all was their bunny, who tried to coerce festival-goers into the shop while eerily reading children’s books through the window.

The Budz

No, not that kind you typical Denverite. Overall, we had a rad time at The UMS this year, and we highly encourage you to check out all the bands we mentioned, all the acts we live-interviewed with Zach Dahmen, and any of the performers on the local lineup in general. Because if there’s one thing we came away with after four days of music-hopping insanity, it was with community- from the performers themselves, to the UMS staff and volunteers, to the eager ticket holders bouncing from show to show hoping to find their next favorite band- Denver came out to support its own. Whether we were playing beach volleyball in the artist tent during a downpour or running from the main stage with our best budz to get back to Broadway for a set (those smarter ones took the Meow Wolf bus), this weekend really showcased you- the local music supporter. And for that, we and apparently Governor Hickenlooper, thank you.

Check out our full photo gallery from The UMS here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.
 

Recapping RockyGrass: The Changing Face of Bluegrass

By: Riley Ann

Festivarians flocked to the 45th annual RockyGrass Festival this past weekend at Planet Bluegrass, and it celebrated the evolution of bluegrass in all of its facets. In the era of the folk renaissance in America, the first RockyGrass was held in 1973 and featured first-generation bluegrassers like Bill Monroe (the “father of bluegrass”) and Lester Flatt in addition to acts like Country Gazette that were part of the budding newgrass movement. A lot has changed since 1973, when 3-day tickets were only $12 and Bill Monroe himself was involved in starting the first RockyGrass (more about the history here). And yet, in the spirit of blending first-generation traditional bluegrass alongside newgrass of the time, this year’s RockyGrass held true to their own tradition.

Sam Bush.

Sam Bush.

What is notable at this year’s festival was the striking number of young faces on stage. In fact, eldest of all the instrument contest winners is only 21 years old. And yet Sam Bush was only 21 when he took the stage with The Bluegrass Alliance for the very first RockyGrass in 1973, which is evidence of young blood continually being drawn into the scene and sustaining the tradition through the decades.

Odessa Settles.

Odessa Settles.

What is notably different about more recent Rockygrasses, especially this year’s, is the growing representation of women on stage. Friday’s lineup included Colorado native Bevin Foley of Trout Steak Revival, Laurie Lewis with her band including renowned fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves along with special guest and Colorado native Courtney Hartman of Della Mae. Saturday featured powerhouse band leaders Melody Walker (winner the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association’s Vocalist Momentum Award) with her band Front Country (nominated by IBMA as 2017’s Emerging Artist of the Year award) and followed by Becky Buller (nominated by IBMA at 2017’s Fiddler of the Year and by The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America as 2017’s Songwriter of the Year award) as well as Odessa Settles performing with Jerry Douglas and Edgar Meyer. Sunday featured clawhammer banjoist Allison de Groot alongside Bruce Molsky in the Molsky Mountain Drifters as well as the all-female band and 2016 nominee for the IBMA Emerging Artist award Sister Sadie. Aside from the main stage, Denver-based Ginny Mules left the crowd roaring in a standing ovation during the band contest at the Wildflower Pavilion, and they won third place in the finals.

Tatiana Hargreaves with Laurie Lewis.

Tatiana Hargreaves with Laurie Lewis.

Although female representation is far from being equal, the bluegrass scene has come a long way despite its sexist reputation, like Alison Kraus being angrily told, “Girls can’t play bluegrass,” as she disclosed in the documentary High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music, one among countless other similar anecdotes of female bluegrass musicians in the book Pretty Good for a Girl.

Del McCoury.

Del McCoury.

While so many new faces are entering the scene, some have become iconic staples, and the return of Del McCoury, Sam Bush, and Peter Rowan along with newgrass favorites like The Infamous Stringdusters rounded out the festival to mix in the old with the new, giving something in the realm of bluegrass for everyone to enjoy.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

Although this year’s RockyGrass has passed, you can still get your festival on for Folks Fest, which is happening in just a couple weeks from August 18th-20th. This year’s lineup includes Gregory Alan Isakov, Lake Street Dive, The Revivalists, Rhiannon Giddens (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops), The Wailin’ Jennys, Josh Ritter, Elephant Revival, Dave Rawlings Machine, and more. You can still get single-day and three-day tickets here.

View our full photo gallery from RockyGrass 2017 here.

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Old Traditions in New Times: CROMA Festival Echoes History

By: Riley Ann

In the heat of summer, hundreds of people from the East and West Coasts and beyond gathered in the hills outside Berthoud, Colorado to celebrate the traditions of Old-time music and dance.

A jam at the CROMA 2017 merch table.

A jam at the CROMA 2017 merch table.

The Central Rockies Old-Time Music Association (CROMA) celebrated its 8th annual festival at Parrish Ranch, and while for some, barn dances and pre-World War II fiddle tunes may seem anachronistic in 2017, this property offers the perfect environment to stop time and celebrate these traditions. In fact, that’s exactly what the property was established for over half a century ago.

The late 1950s were more than ice cream socials, Elvismania, and record parties. It was one of the contemporary heydays of Old-time music and square dancing. Competitive square dancing was serious business for some, and in 1958, Vaughn Parrish built a barn on his ranch specifically for square dancing. People flocked in from across the United States (even beyond the border from Canada) to spend a week or two practicing their square dancing skills. Many of them competed in square dance competitions throughout the nation.

Terry Parrish, the current owner of Parrish Ranch and son of Jean & Vaughn.

Terry Parrish, the current owner of Parrish Ranch and son of Jean & Vaughn.

Today, Vaughn’s son Terry runs Parrish Ranch and is thrilled to host the annual CROMA fest as well as weddings, camping outings, and other special events throughout the year. At the Friday night barn dance, Terry stepped up to the microphone and shared, “My mother and father would be so happy to know that this festival happens on their property. It’s exactly what this place was built for.” The crowd cheered, and Terry even joined squares throughout the night, laughing and chatting with attendees, which included ticket-holders alongside the festival’s performers.

This year’s festival brought various scholars and performers of Old-time from across the nation, predominantly the Ozark and Appalachian regions of the United States, to offer diverse programming throughout the weekend.

Callers and cloggers: Phil Jamison & Dot Kent join the New Smokey Valley Boys for a number.

Callers and cloggers: Phil Jamison & Dot Kent join the New Smokey Valley Boys for a number.

Phil Jamison, author of Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance and professor of mathematics and Appalachian music and dance at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina, taught a workshop on flatfoot dancing (also known as clogging). He shared how not only Old-time music, but also flatfooting and square dancing, have rich African-American roots, and how those traditions merged with European and new innovative styles in the time to create a rich tradition that’s truly American.

The Ozark Highballers had a friend join their show for some flatfooting.

The Ozark Highballers had a friend join their show for some flatfooting.

Kim Lansford and Aviva Steigmeyer (of Preservation Guitar Company and performer with the Ozark Highballers) shared the histories and nuances of ballads and led a sing-along in a workshop before performing a set together on stage.

The New Smokey Valley Boys had callers; flatfooters Dot Kent and Phil Jamison join them.

The New Smokey Valley Boys had callers; flatfooters Dot Kent and Phil Jamison join them.

The New Smokey Valley Boys offered a workshop on fiddle/banjo duets, a common means of instrumentation for house parties when, as fiddler Andy Edmonds described, “They’d throw all the furniture out in the yard and have the fiddler and banjo player face each other knee to knee in the doorway between two rooms, and each room would have a caller, so they’d have two different dances happening, but everyone could hear the same music.”

Jesse & Emily.

Jesse & Emily.

Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller offered several workshops, spanning duet singing, fingerstyle guitar, and West Virginia fiddling in addition to performing sweet, heartbreaking, and foot-stomping duets.

The Saturday night cakewalk was a hit. The music stopped just in time for this festival-goer! 

The Saturday night cakewalk was a hit. The music stopped just in time for this festival-goer! 

With over 30 workshops, daily main stage performances, nightly barn dances, kids’ programming, and community meals (a Thursday potluck and a Sunday morning pancake breakfast), this year’s festival continued to expand upon the quaint beginnings of the CROMA into one of the best festivals in Colorado, and arguably the best Old-time festival in the nation.

Aviva Steigmeyer & Roy Pilgrim of the Ozark Highballers join in on the festival dancing.

Aviva Steigmeyer & Roy Pilgrim of the Ozark Highballers join in on the festival dancing.

While you count down to next year’s festival in 2018, you can keep up with CROMA’s barn dances, fundraisers, and other special events on their website and by signing up for their newsletter. Dances throughout the front range can be found here, which also includes the Westminster dance, the only regularly scheduled dance that mixes squares, contras, reels, and circle dances.

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Westword Music Showcase 2017 Had Denver's Golden Triangle Dancing In The Streets

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Last Saturday, Westword Music Showcase returned to Denver’s Golden Triangle for its 23rd year of festing. From local bands to the evening’s headliners, the entire day brought together the Denver community for great performances and enough Coors Light to quench the thirst of musicians and audience members alike.

The Revivalists at Westword Music Showcase.

The Revivalists at Westword Music Showcase.

The festival took place both on the designated event grounds where attendees flocked to the Coors Light & Mike’s Hard stages, and in surrounding bars and venues, where a majority of the local bands played. Headliners this year included Shakey Graves, The Revivalists, and Cut Copy. The main festival area hosted lounge seating by VIE Vaporizers, booze tents sponsored by Coors, Mike’s Hard, Milagro Tequila, and Reyka Vodka, and even a Mary Jane-friendly bus advertising Denver pot-stop tours.  

Edison.

Edison.

We started the day bouncing between some of the festival’s venue spots after catching Denver darlings Edison on the main stage. The usual trio played as a four-piece for the day, and put on a great set with Sarah Slaton’s strong storytelling and plenty of good Americana vibes. We caught Bison Bone getting everyone grooving over at #VYBE, and later caught Kissing Party there handing out tambourines to the crowd and getting everyone to tap along to their catchy pop tunes.

Television Generation rocked out over at Stoney’s Main, with quite a crowd for an earlier-in-the-day set. They’re definitely an indie rock band to catch live and keep your eye (and ears) on. The Lollygags were playing simultaneously at Stoney’s South, where their classic rock sounds had the audience dancing.

YaSi, who played with both a DJ and drummer behind her over at City Hall Amphitheatre, was one of our favorite sets of the day. She commanded attention with her strong vocals, and kept it by getting fans to groove right along with her. Big J. Beats later took the stage, looping guitars in with his beats after announcing, “This is actually the first time I’m doing all of this live.” Well done Big J. 

We rolled back to the main festival area during COIN, who brought an indie-pop flare to what was a pretty perfect 70-degree summer day. Shortly after, we jumped over to Bob Moses at Mike’s Hard Stage. The New York electronica duo actually played as a trio with a drummer for this show. They were fresh off their Electric Forest performance, and kept a crowd who was clearly there for them jumping around. 

The Revivalists. 

The Revivalists. 

The Revivalists, a New Orleans bred rock’n’roll seven-piece, packed the Coors Light stage next, and did just as their name implies, reviving and revamping the entire spirit of the day with what was an incredibly high-energy set. There wasn’t a soul in sight who wasn’t singing along with them on their recent radio hit “Wish I Knew You.” Frontman David Shaw jumped between the stage and the crowd throughout the band’s show, engaging everyone around him in the group’s stellar performance.  

Cut Copy.

Cut Copy.

Australia’s Cut Copy were next, and played their psych electric tunes just as the sun set, cruising festival-goers into the early evening over tasty electro vibes.  

Shakey Graves.

Shakey Graves.

Which brings us to the last set of what was ultimately a great day of shows: Shakey Graves. Though originally from Austin, TX, Shakey Graves has spent a fair part of his life in Colorado, even remarking during his performance how the band’s recent hit “Dearly Departed” (which features Esmé Patterson) was actually written in Boulder, CO prior to a Fox Theatre performance. He delivered a boot-stomping Americana set to close out the night for what was by far the largest crowd of the day, and his smiling and dancing soon caught on with the crowd, who were swaying and forming dance circles as he played.  

What magic will next year’s Westword Music Showcase hold? It’s safe to say we already can’t wait to find out after their successful 2017 festival. Check out our full photo gallery of the event here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Announces Second Round of Artists

The Underground Music Showcase 2017 just announced their second round of artists for this year's festival! Additions include: Headliner Zola Jesus and artists like Bad Licks, Chocolate Diamond, Dear Rabbit, Decatur, Edison, HERESTOFIGHTIN, The Hollow, innerspace, The Kinky Fingers, Ned Garthe Explosion, Retrofette (we should mention here we're premiering something awesome from this band this Friday), Sleepy SunSIR, Sugar Skulls & Marigolds, Sur Ellz, Treehouse Sanctum, Turvy Organ, & more! Make sure to get your tickets for the July 27th-30th festival in the heart of Denver here. And see our previous story for initial lineup announcements at our original announcement link.

Reminiscing on last year's UMS? Peek back at our coverage of 2016:

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Initial Lineup Has Arrived

By: Hannah Oreskovich

The long-awaited and highly anticipated Underground Music Showcase 2017 lineup has arrived. With headliners Benjamin Booker, Red Fang, & Esmé Patterson, this year's fest will take place July 27th-30th. Colorado’s Bandits, Britt Margit, This Broken Beat, Bud Bronson & The Goodtimers, Brent Cowles, The Burroughs, Chloe Tang, CITRA, Coastal Wives, Colfax Speed Queen, Corsicana, déCollage, Dirty Few, Dragondeer, Wolf van Elfmand, Evan Holm & The Restless Ones, Gasoline Lollipops, Get Along, Jilly.FM, Joseph Lamar, King Cardinal, Last of the Easy Riders, Loretta Kill, Mawule, Modern Leisure, One Flew West, The Other Black, Povi, RL Cole, The Savage Blush, Silver and Smoke, SIXXXD, Slow Caves, SYCDVK, Television Generation, The Velveteers, Whiskey Autumn, Whole Milk, Wildermiss, and Yasi are just some of the acts on the bill we've featured in the last year, so needless to say, we're stoked on this lineup. And there are more artists still TBA!

Stay tuned for more UMS info and get ready to join us on Denver's South Broadway for one of our favorite events of the summer! Tickets here.

Reminiscing on last year's UMS? Peek back at our coverage of 2016:

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

If The Cold Don't Kill Ya, The Music Will Save Ya: My Winter Wondergrass 2017 Experience

By: Mirna Tufekcic

If you didn’t know, Winter Wondergrass took place in Steamboat Springs this year. I don’t know about you, but I don’t necessarily think, “Oh fun!” when I think of February nights outside on a mountain freezing my ass off just to hear some live music. But I sucked it up and ventured out this year to see what the hype was all about. As it turns out, WWG is absolutely fun and yeah, you are pretty much freezing cold the whole time. But there was a lot of string picking, a lot of banjo bangin’ and mandolin shredding, and a lot of beer and whiskey drinkin’ people having a blast.  

On the first night of the festival, people seemed a bit unsure and disoriented, as though they too were wondering what compelled them to come to an outdoor music festival in the middle of winter with temperatures dropping down to, yeah, just about zero degrees. I eased into it by heading for one of the three heated tents on the festival grounds. Gipsy Moon was scheduled to play at the Soapbox Tent, so I prepared myself for a musical journey around the globe while standing in three layers of clothing. They played two sets, so I stuck around for both and kept warm. For the final stretch of the first night I made my way to the main stage for Leftover Salmon. It was my first time seeing them live and I gotta say these dudes are a lot of fun to watch as they made sure to keep people moving.

I couldn’t feel my fingers after taking a few pictures in the photo pit during their set, so I went looking for heat. Right by the SmartWool Tent, there were a couple of propane fire pits, so I posted myself there, still able to see the main stage. You know what’s really cool about a freezing winter music festival? You’ll make room around the fire for your fellow freezing music lovers, meet their acquaintances, and realize you all probably met somewhere in a past life.

Saturday was freezing. It snowed the entire day and night, making for a very winter wondergrass- I mean wonderland- vibe. I got to the festival in time for happy hour beer tastings and Grant Farm on the main stage. I hung out sippin’ some Oskar Blues watching the main stage from the sidelines when my old friend Taj walked by. We chatted for a bit and he told me to check out The Deer, who were playing at the SoapBox Tent in a few minutes. He manages the band, as it turns out. Desperately wanting to find warmth again, I made my way there. The Deer started to play and I wasn’t disappointed. They call their music “transcendental Texas folk.” They’re from Austin, TX and though their lead vocalist Grace Park could front an indie band with her style, she was sandwiched between a mandolin player, Noah Jeffreys, and an upright bassist, Jesse Dalton, which brought the bigger picture back into focus. And that picture was of course bluegrass.      

Mimi Naja. 

Mimi Naja. 

Fruition played the main stage in the afternoon that day, by which time the snowfall gained momentum, crowding the space with fat snowflakes all around. It made for a cozy Fruition set, and by cozy I mean really cold but magical. My girl Mimi Naja (vocals/mandolin/guitars), greeted us on the mic, “What’s up Colorado! You guys are crazy!” And the band proceeded to rock out with all of us freezing fruity freaks.

After Fruition’s set, it was time to warm up a little. The Lil’ Smokies played a short set at the Soapbox Tent, so I hurried over there. Their mando was loud and clear. The crowd could barely move from all the bodies packed in, but I think everyone was in need of heat. Andy Dunnigan, the band’s main vocalist and dobro player, got the crowd going, and people swayed, heating up the tent even more.

Saturday evening rolled around quickly, and it was time for a short interview with Ben Morrison of The Brothers Comatose. They played two consecutive sets at the Pickin’ Perch Tent and I got to chat with him between them.

“We love to see the crowd get comfortable enough to get down and have a great time. It’s more fun that way,” said Ben, after I acknowledged that The Brothers Comatose are known for putting together sets resembling house shows. He went on, “My brother Alex, who’s the banjo player in our band, and I grew up with our mom and her band rehearsing in our living room. We would sit and watch, enamored at the beautiful harmonies they produced. That’s where we got our inspiration to play.”  

Ben Morrison.

Ben Morrison.

Alex and Ben didn’t really listen to bluegrass until later in life. In fact, they played punk rock when they started a band as teenagers. So what changed?

“It’s easier when you don’t have to carry a huge amp and drums and shit. There’s no room for that,” Ben laughed, and then added more seriously, “But really what I realized was that I liked to play the acoustic guitar anytime I was writing a song. And my parents always said I needed to learn to play a song on an acoustic guitar before playing it on an electric.”

We ended our chat with an update on the band- The Brothers Comatose are releasing a bunch of new videos and a mini documentary on the recent Horseback Tour they did back in September, and they’re working on some new music with yet to be revealed big names in the bluegrass music world.

Fruition.

Fruition.

The rest of my Saturday night involved finding the fire pit, chatting with the friends from another life, and then heading back to the condo for a hot tub session to defrost. Most of my crew, however, went to the late night afterparty shows that featured some of the main acts at the festival. I attended one of those on Sunday night.

Sunday was a bluebird, clear skies, mimosas-all-day kind of day, for me anyway, since I didn’t have a ski pass. I got to the festival right in time for The California Honeydrops, who played the main stage as the sun warmed up everyone’s spirit. It was beautiful and hopeful. Then the sun set and it turned back to freezing cold again. But it was ok because we had music to warm us up. Oh, and whiskey, lots of whiskey. I think next year (if I dare go) I’ll dress up as a St. Bernard and carry a barrel of whiskey around my neck.     

Ungloved hands are risky at WW.

Ungloved hands are risky at WW.

Elephant Revival hit the main stage next. The thing about the elephants is that they’re magical and they’ll suck you right into their fairytale. Their music is so airy and spiritual that you can’t help but stop and listen. The only problem with stopping at an outdoor music festival in freezing temperatures is that you get get- you guessed it- cold. By the end of Elephant Revival’s set, I found myself in the Jamboree Tent with Dead Horses hoarding the heat vent. It was the coldest night yet.

Railroad Earth closed the final evening of Winter Wondergrass on the main stage, but I was too scared of losing my recently warmed body heat to make it out there. Instead, my friends and I rode the gondola to Thunderhead to check out The Infamous Stringdusters’ afterparty. We were met with a warm, crowded room of festive folk. Feet were stomping, music was grassy and people were jolly. It was a great way to end the festival. The final songs of the night at Thunderhead had the Stringdusters playing with Mimi and Jay from Fruition, Andy Dunnigan from Lil’ Smokies and a few others. It was a celebration: we had all made it through yet another wonderful Winter Wondergrass, snow and all.

The author, prior to adding more layers. 

The author, prior to adding more layers. 

PS: Did I mention the festival was sold out this year? Yeah- people seem to really love bluegrass in the winter.  

Get tickets to Winter Wondergrass in Tahoe, which happens March 31st-April 2nd here.

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival Announces Initial Lineup For 2017

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Last year, we brought you some exclusive coverage of Colorado’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival, both behind the scenes & in the crowd. John Prine, Dave Rawlings Machine, Emmylou Harris, Greensky Bluegrass, Houndmouth, and Leftover Salmon were some of last year’s standout performances, and Telluride’s famous fest has more magic up its sleeve for 2017.

Life at 2016 Telluride. Photo Credit:   Riley Ann

Life at 2016 Telluride. Photo Credit: Riley Ann

Today, initial lineup announcements were made for what will be the fest’s 44th year. Headliners include Sam Bush Band, Brandi Carlile, and Dierks Bentley with The Travelin’ McCourys. See the rest of the initial announcements on this year’s bill below, and get more info on the fest and tickets here.

Telluride Bluegrass 2017 Initial Lineup Announcement:

Sam Bush Band
Brandi Carlile
Dierks Bentley with The Travelin’ McCourys
Telluride House Band featuring Sam, Bela, Jerry, Edgar, Bryan & Stuart
Dispatch
Yonder Mountain String Band
Greensky Bluegrass
Bela Fleck & Chris Thile
Elephant Revival
Punch Brothers
Hot Rize
Peter Rowan
Jerry Douglas Band
Tim O’Brien
Chris Thile
Sarah Jarosz
The East Pointers
Fireball Mail

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Riot Fest & Rodeo: The Music Festival That Knows How to Keep It Real

By: Sierra Voss

The final day of Riot Fest had my feet beginning to ache in my boots, my skin reppin’ a not so healthy I-have-been-in-the-sun-for-over-24-hours kinda glow, and a thin layer of sweat forever coating my body. Riot Fest is not for the weak-hearted. On the last day, energy levels were high, perhaps even higher than Saturday’s. A quiet buzz filled the air in anticipation for the night's headliners: The Original Misfits and NAS.

Bleached.

Bleached.

Sunday’s overall lineup was actually epic. I started my day off with girl punk band, Bleached, and these ladies were true crushers. They rocked and ripped their set on the Hoffman Stage. Bassit Micayla Grace was a forever stream of headbanging and hair flips, while lead singer, Jennifer Francis Clavin, slowly crawled to the edge of the stage to get as close as she could to her audience. After Bleached, I popped over to the Rock Stage to catch 2 Chainz. Thirty  minutes into his set time, he still hadn’t taken the stage, so I bailed. I am not into artists that makes their audience wait. I don’t care who you are, it’s lame. Bad Religion took the Riot Stage in the late afternoon, just as the day was cooling off and the sun was starting to make its way down the sky. Fans gathered, singing along with every word of their classic set.

Bad Religion.

Bad Religion.

This year’s Riot Fest was a pretty crazy mix of rock and hip hop culture. The last four sets I caught were a perfect representation of the dynamic diversity of music and people that Riot Fest wrangled up for this year’s rodeo:

Tyler, the Creator.

Tyler, the Creator.

Tyler, the Creator, a big up and coming hip hop artist, had a very subtle rock vibe integrated into his craft. As I looked around at the audience glazin’ up at him, I saw a unique mixture of humans. Some repped NAS shirts while others sported studded and patched jean jacket vests, but all were singing and dancing along to his set.

Sleigh Bells.

Sleigh Bells.

The band Sleigh Bells, were similar to Tyler, representing a perfect mixture of vibes for this year's crowd. At it’s core, SB are a rock band, but they have subtle hip hop flares throughout their tunes. And I have a big ole girl crush on Sleigh Bells’ lead singer, Alexis Krauss. She is all the things and is definitely worth catching for a live show.

Rowdy at the Rodeo.

Rowdy at the Rodeo.

The night ended with two historic performances: The Original Misfits, reunited for the first time since 1983, rocked the Riot Stage, while NAS dropped dirty beats on the opposite side of the festival grounds at the Rock Stage.

Misfits Only.

Misfits Only.

Whoever created the lineup for the fest this year was pretty crafty. I truly was not expecting to be as into this festival as I ended up being. But there I stood, at the end of day three, as the dust settled into the festival grounds around me, loving all the bands that had taken the four stages throughout the weekend and having met some pretty incredible festi-goers. Riot Fest has an authentic vibe about it: no crazy light shows, no weird heady worlds or attractions, and no BS. It’s a festival with solid rock and hip hop artists in a pretty stripped down setting, filled with festival goers that are ready to rock. This was one rodeo I’m glad I didn’t miss.

See more Riot Fest photos on our Facebook.

-Sierra

All photos per the author for BolderBeat. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Riot Fest Has It All: A Day of Rap, Hip Hop, Punk, Rock, & More

By: Sierra Voss

Yip Yip! Alright Rioters, day two was hotter, dustier, and way rowdier than Friday. The Hoffman Stage’s coliseum seats were filled with festi-goers seeking shade and sippin’ on some cherry lemonade. Festival artists were even posted up in the arena seats throughout the day, including singer Judith Hill, spotted taking it easy with her friends, while watching Danny Brown's set.

Highlights from Saturday’s Line-Up:

Danny Brown.

Danny Brown.

Danny Brown- Michigan rapper who had the freshest shoes at Riot Fest, hands down. Their red wings popped out in a sea of black combat boots and white vans.

People Under The Stairs. 

People Under The Stairs. 

People Under The Stairs- The classic West Coast hip hop group delivering fresh beats and performances since 1999.

The Dandy Warhols- I was having serious flashbacks to listening to The O.C soundtrack , and it was amazing. Piano player Zia McCabe knows how to get at the tambourine. She was crushing it, sporting red marks all over her leg where she was slappin’ that bad boy.

Against Me!

Against Me!

Against Me!- Punk veterans. “Thrash and Reel” was not played, and you could tell the crowd was disappointed, but besides the absence of that classic tune, they crushed.

Billy Talent.

Billy Talent.

Billy Talent- Surprise band of the day. These red-shirted Canadians ripped on the Rock stage. The lead singer from Against Me! dropped by to catch their set as well, and was seen posted up on the side of the stage throughout their performance. Favorite trait of Billy Talent was frontman Benjamin Kowalewicz spitting all over the stage every other lyric. Truth: it rained down on me while shooting in the pit… and I was into it.   

Vince Staples.

Vince Staples.

Vince Staples- With his incredible voice, unique and powerful lyrics, and sick beats, Staples was still somehow one of the most mellow performances that went down on Saturday.

Sleater-Kinney.

Sleater-Kinney.

Sleater-Kinney- SK stood out as not only one of the few female bands at the festival, but also, as one of my top five performances. These women were born to crush. I stood in the pit, watching the front row fans cry, look up to the sky, close their eyes, and put their hands over their hearts singing along to every word. Yeah. That epic.

Life at the Freak Show Tent.

Life at the Freak Show Tent.

One additional highlight of the day was heading over to the freak show tent, because who doesn't want to watch people put drills through their face and eat fire?

I left Riot Fest and literally had to wipe a layer of dust off of my body, and deal with the fact that had accidentally accomplished a legit farmer's tan. It’s no joke out there: you gotta have tough skin, and this festival no doubt pulls in a rugged group of festi-goers. But that’s the Riot Rodeo for yah.

See more Riot Fest photos on our Facebook.

-Sierra

All photos per the author for BolderBeat. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.