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.

Cisco The Nomad On The City's Gentrification: Denver First, Always

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Cisco the Nomad is Denver born and bred, and proud of it.

“I grew up all over town. My parents split up when I was really young so my dad lived in Central/West Denver, from between Alameda to Federal and Federal to Evans, and my mom moved to Lakewood. I spent the time split between them.” the hip-hop artist told me recently from a SketchFam member’s living room.

“I went to all private schools,” he smiled, “I went to The Colorado Academy for middle and high school with the wealthier kids in town, but I took the public bus three hours to get to that school!” he laughed, “And I wasn’t always comfortable bringing those kids home.”

Cisco The Nomad.

Cisco The Nomad.

Outside of class, Cisco the Nomad, whose birth name is Clay Edwards, spent a lot of time riding around the streets of Denver, and getting to know the city on an intimate level.

“My dad’s a bus driver so I spent a lot of time riding the bus and writing poems about the city. Rapping for me started as poetry. I’ve always identified as a writer more than a musician.” he smiled.

Still, music has always been in his roots.

“My dad’s a percussionist so he was a drummer before I was born. He drummed with Kevin Dooley. I grew up around music and started doing musical theater when I was young and playing saxophone.” he added, “Now I purely do vocal work.”

Edwards showing us a track from his upcoming mixtape.

Edwards showing us a track from his upcoming mixtape.

After high school, Edwards found himself at Colorado College studying theater arts. It was at this point he became more serious about laying down tracks.

“When I got to college, I got serious about recording. My friend Mamoun and I started SketchFam- a collective of beat makers, visual artists, and multiple people across states bringing these talents together.” he explained.

From there, he and friend Henri Katz went on to form Lounge Records, a Denver-based DIY label with a strict focus on Denver artists.

“I put Denver artists first. I am constantly scouring this city for emcees, for talent. I want artists to know that they can launch from here. You don’t need to pull a Trev Rich and go to Atlanta. You don’t need to move to Los Angeles. We’ve got it right here for you. Let’s capitalize on the millions of people who are here.”

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However, Edwards agrees there need to be more performance spaces for hip-hop artists to launch from in Denver. Many venues have shuddered due to the gentrification of recent Mile High neighborhoods.

“I want Denver to be itself- the amount of time and work people have put into this city should shine. I was heartbroken when The Gypsy House Cafe closed down. It was a spot where young poets hung out in Denver. There was coffee, hookah. All of a sudden that spot disappeared and became like an imported sushi place or something. You can’t just expect the soul of a place to grow back in a year. If you take it, it’s gone. And that matters to me. I want artists to come here and exist, but Denver needs to define the artistic hub that lives here. People from New York shouldn’t be coming here and defining that.”

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The authentic culture of Denver is important to Edwards, and I couldn’t help but wonder what he’d see now taking the same bus ride he did as a child.

“Something like ‘RiNo’ is a bunch of bullshit. Why not call it ‘Five Points’? Why rebrand it? Why divorce it from its history and change it from its history? To make it more palatable for who? Why does everything gotta be two-syllables and end with an ‘o’? Who decided this was the identity of the city? Especially growing up where I’m from. It’s so plastic what they’re doing and how they’re marketing it- as a trendy fun place to move- when really [RiNo] is a warehouse district. I don’t see why we need to rebrand a city when people are already coming here anyway. The opportunity isn’t going to go away by calling ‘Five Points’ ‘Five Points’. ‘SoBro’ is South Broadway, ‘LoDo’ is Lower Downtown, The Highlands are just North Denver. I don’t need a LoHi. This isn’t a fast casual restaurant where you can pick your neighborhood like Chipotle options.”

Edwards isn’t alone in feeling this way. Denver’s gentrification has been a hot issue in recent years as more and more locals find themselves forced out of neighborhoods they grew up in and surrounded by corporate chains in place of local joints.

“There’s going to be a point where people who move here look to the city for what it is- for its culture- and that shouldn’t come from people who move here. That should come from Denver and from the people who have lived here.” Edwards told me.

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Edwards now calls a space on 14th and Federal home, where he lives with producer, guitarist, and collaborator Sherman. The two have recently been working together, with others from SketchFam and Lounge Records, to try and expand Denver’s hip-hop scene. Though a lot of this is happening DIY in people’s living rooms and basements, Cisco thinks this can change.

“I want to create space for Denver arts. As the city is expanding and transplants are coming in, there is a point we have to decide who gets to be the tastemakers and I think those should be Denver people. I’m sick of cultural transplants coming into the city and defining this city.”

Cisco is also working on his music, a mixtape called Starter Pack, which will drop later this year. It will be mostly acoustic hip-hop jams, some of which Cisco has already started to play live.

“When I hit the stage, I try to have an all-encompassing sort of presence. I want people to leave there feeling like church- like they’ve done something spiritual together.” he smiled.

Cisco also agrees there are plenty of Denver artists building the local hip-hop scene just like he is.

Edwards with some local members of SketchFam.

Edwards with some local members of SketchFam.

“I love Sur Ellz. Kid Astronaut. Yasi. And they’re not always getting the attention they deserve.” he said.

It is these artists- and others- that Edwards feels should be defining the Denver hip-hop sound.

“I think the way people speak out here is different. Denver’s sound is more lyrical- I think poetry is a huge influence in the Denver scene. I want to bring out a Baroquian lyricism- excessive, everywhere.”

But to Edwards, the issues of a redefined Denver go far beyond the local hip-hop scene, the broader music scene, and the neighborhoods he has watched change.

“I want Denver’s disenfranchised to have a certain amount of voice in the city. And if it’s not in politics and it’s not in real estate, then it damn well better be in the arts.” Edwards exclaimed.

“Denver first always. No matter where I go.”

Keep an eye out for Cisco the Nomad’s upcoming mixtape, which drops this week hereand keep up with his live performance schedule through Facebook.

-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.

Dive Into Groovin' Hip-Hop Tunes On Our 'Welcome To It' Playlist

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Wanna groove? Then dive into ‘Welcome To It’ right meow. We promise you won’t be able to sit still.

Deca opens our hip-hop Spotify Playlist tunage this month, with tracks by Nas, Qbala, J. Cole, No Name, Trev Rich, and of course, Tribe Called Quest. Tastemaker Sierra Voss has thrown in some lip-lickin’ numbers into this one.

Trev Rich per Sierra Voss for BolderBeat. 

Trev Rich per Sierra Voss for BolderBeat. 

Make sure to follow us on Spotify for continued tunage, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our Contact page and do it! Welcome to it.

-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.

Colorado Hip-Hop Culture Taking Over Boulder House This Friday

By: Hannah Oreskovich

After Trev Rich’s recent Denver performance, it’s clear that Colorado hip-hop culture is thriving. This Friday, March 31st, the takeover continues with a slew of talented Colorado performers spittin’ for you live at Boulder House. The event, put on by Black Nation Management and The Denver Clone Store, will have you bumpin’ all night while sippin’ specials from Snova Vodka.

Watch AP’s official video for “Dead Weight”:

Denver’s Anthony Porch, better known as AP, who you may remember from Trev Rich’s Ogden show, will share Friday’s stage with Reve Kallel and Dylan Montayne. This will be a big show for AP since he just announced last week he’s on the verge of releasing some dope new music. Dee Langston, Looney Ando, Boulder’s DJ JaryMane, and Boulder’s DJ David Devine are also on the bill, rounding out the night with bangin’ beats.

Check out DJ JaryMane’s “Still Life”:

We were told to expect “a bevy of rhymes, progressive beats, and dynamic performances,” so don’t miss out on this event! We’re giving away four tickets on our Instagram, so roll there for your chance to win! Full event info and tickets here.

-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.

Trev Rich Blows The Door Open on Denver's Hip-Hop Scene

By: Sierra Voss

Rapper Trev Rich has blown open the door on Denver’s hip-hop scene. All eyes are now on the Mile High City’s hip-hop community thanks to Rich’s announcement in 2016 of signing with Cash Money Records (Drake, Nicki Minaj, Young Money). Denver has already been spotlighted in the national music scene with breakout artist like Nathaniel Rateliff, The Lumineers, and now, rapper Trev Rich has also made this shortlist.

Watch Trev Rich’s music video for “Gossip”:

Last week, Trev Rich took the stage at The Gothic Theatre, wrangling up all of his fans, friends and family from far and wide to celebrate his musical journey thus far. Trev has a reputation of being a genuinely happy dude who knows how to rhyme, and his performance was true to form. The venue was packed and buzzing as the night's openers took the stage, which included sets by Squizzy DJS featuring DJ Squizzy Taylor + DJ Hollywood Cook + DJ KDJ Above, Trayce Chapman, and Povi.

Trev sang hits off of his most recent mixtape, including popular favorites like “Flex Sumn.” He worked the entire stage, backlit by an LED screen which displayed an array of graphics behind him with short video clip interludes between songs. Standout graphics included drone images of Denver’s cityscapes and Rich’s classic portrait from the cover of his 2016 album To Make a Long Story Short.

Rich’s set was short but fierce, marked by explosions of fog and vocal tags including the classic airhorn sound. Fans ate it up, dancing and singing along as he crushed through his set. Trev Rich ended the show by inviting a fan up onstage to take the mic as he smiled, “I know she knows every word to this one!” His charisma during his performance and his involvement with the crowd proved this is an artist who has the spirit needed to represent Denver hip-hop and take it to the national level.

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We can’t wait to see what's up next for this talented Denver artist.

Keep up with Trev Rich here.

-Sierra

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.