From Mile High to Monolith, breaking down Denver's summer music fests

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The Mile High Music Fest returns to Dick's with Tool, Widespread Panic and the Fray.

With so many music festivals to fill up your summer and drain your pocketbook, we put together a handy rundown of Denver's fests, in order of their appearance on your calendar. Which are you looking most forward to? What should concertgoers know about each? Use the comments section below -- and enjoy the summer.

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Built to Spill headlines this year's Showcase.
Westword Music Showcase
Dates: June 13
Venue: Numerous bars, clubs and an outdoor stage along South Broadway.
Lineup: Built to Spill, A Place to Bury Strangers, Cursive, The Fluid, Meese and a huge number of local bands in every genre imaginable (okay, maybe no Tuvan throat singers ... we think).
Crowd/Vibe: With a diverse lineup and affordable price (see below), expect anyone and everyone from indie scenesters to your grandma to make it down to catch a few bands.
Logistics: Pretty easy. Take a bus down, drive down and park a few blocks away, grab a cab, whatever.
Price: $9.33 presale, $20 day of show.
More intel at musicshowcase.westword.com.

Electric Daisy Carnival
Dates: June 13, which should be a lovely night to dance under the stars.
Venue: Arapahoe County Fairgrounds in Aurora. They aren't kidding about the carnival part - there will be a ton of carnival rides to help you vomit.
Lineup: Paul Van Dyk, James Zabiela, Infected Mushroom, The Crystal Method, Dieselboy and others across most every genre of dance music.
Crowd/Vibe: The dance music crowd, so lots of very beautiful girls, mostly underage. Lots of dudes with pointy hair or shaved heads. And what's with all the pacifiers and glowsticks?
Logistics: Apart from getting out to the sticks where it's located, the logistics are fine. It's a trek out there, but there's plenty of parking and room to dance.
Price: $50 general admission, $150 VIP plus fees.
More intel at www.electricdaisycarnival.com.

Global Dance Festival

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Last summer's Global Dance Fest brought these such lasses to Red Rocks.
Dates: July 18, so it will be hot during the day, but it should cool off at night once things get rolling.
Venue: Red Rocks. It's beautiful, although tromping up and down those stairs gets old pretty fast.
Lineup: Sasha, John Digweed, Benny Benassi, John Debo, Markus Schulz, Alex Gold and lots of local DJ talent.
Crowd/Vibe: Young, but with lots of hot girls lots of dudes wearing visors and twirling glowsticks.  
Logistics: The drive up to and back from Morrison can be a pain, the parking lots are forever away from the stages and you're going to spend a week's earnings to buy a couple of beers. So, pretty much the norm for any show. Also, kids: drink enough water so you don't fry your brain, mmkay?
Price: Starting at $42.00, up to $300 for the VIP treatment. Plus (say it with me now) the usual fees.
For more info visit www.redrocks.com.

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Denver's The Fray headlines the Mile High Music fest on Sunday night.
Mile High Music Fest
Dates: July 18-19. It's the height of summer, so expect to sweat away several pounds.
Venue: The Fields at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Lineup: Tool, The Fray, Widespread Panic, Incubus, G. Love and Special Sauce, Gogol Bordello, lots more.
Crowd/Vibe: This one seems firmly aimed at the mainstream, with a little hint of jam-band goodness thrown in for good measure.
Logistics: Plenty of parking, although a bit of a hike from car to stage in what will likely be a gnarly heat.
Price: Single Day tickets run $90, two day passes will set you back $162.50 and there are VIP packages that run up to $1,250 for the high rollers.
Find more online at www.milehighmusicfestival.com.

Denver Post Underground Music Showcase
Dates: July 23-26, so it will be hot and dry. Unless it rains.
Venue: 25 venues in the Baker district (South Broadway)
Lineup: TBA, but expect a wide variety of music from 205 or so acts covering indie favorites, punk stalwarts, singer-songwriters and other Denver-friendly flavors from the national and local scenes. Last year they had a comedy stage and a Tetris tournament, so variety is the key word here.
Crowd/Vibe: Should be a nice variety of fans across all demographics, given the locations, abundance of all-ages venues and relative affordability. Last year it topped 6,000 people; this year should be even bigger.
Logistics: It's South Broadway, so logistics should be a breeze. Plenty of "official" food and drink options are promised, but if you don't fancy them, you can wander a couple blocks and grab some Arby's or whatever.
Price: TBA. Last year it was $20 for two days, so maybe it is safe to assume it is $40 for four days this year? [ed note: the UMS is $20 for four days]
For more info visit www.theums.com

Mile High Blues Festival
Dates: August 8-9
Venue: Mile High Marketplace at I-76 and 88th. It's a farmer's market! It's a flea market! It's an antique mall! It's a blues venue!
Lineup: Joe Bonamassa, Rick Estrin & the Night Cats, Reba Russell, John Hammond, Eden Brent, Bernard Allison, Curtis Salgado, Jimmy Thackery, Ryan McGarvey, Delta Sonics.
Crowd/Vibe: Lots of grizzled old dudes that love the blues, lots of privileged white guys that listen to recordings from very poor black men on very expensive stereos to better hear the heartbreak they can never understand.
Logistics: If you don't drive, getting to I-76 and 88th Avenue could be a real bitch, but if you do, they promise it's just "minutes away from Denver." Blues are a relatively niche crowd, so it shouldn't be quite the nightmare some of the bigger festivals are - we hope.
Price: $25/day or $40 for both days in advance. $30/day at the door. Preferred seating runs you $50/day, VIP is $100.
For more info visit www.milehighbluesfestival.com

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Nas Rocked the Bells last year, and will do the same in '09.
Rock the Bells
Dates: August 9
Venue: Red Rocks.
Lineup: Hip-hop heaven. Highlights include Common, Ice Cube, Nas & Damian Marley, The Roots, Busta Rhymes, Big Boi, Tech N9ne and a ton more
Crowd/Vibe: Blunts, baggy-ass jeans and backpackers.  
Logistics: See Global Dance Fest.
Price: $58.50 general admission or $158.50 VIP, plus Livenation fees.
Find more online at www.guerillaunion.com/rockthebells.

Warped Tour

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The Warped Tour just might rock Invesco more than the Broncos this year.
Dates: August 9
Venue: Invesco Field: It's not just for football!
Lineup: Punk and punk-friendly bands including Bad Religion, Flogging Molly, Less Than Jake, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and about a bazillion more, including local faves 3OH!3.
Crowd/Vibe: Punks, or what's passing for them these days. Lots of young'uns sporting sweet Hot Topic gear.
Logistics: It's Invesco, so getting in and out shouldn't be a problem, at least in theory. Expect some security hassles and long lines for everything.
Price: $33.50, plus Ticketmaster fees.
Find more online at www.warpedtour.com.

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Hurry to Urban Outfitters now for your 2009 Monolith uniform.
Monolith
Dates: September 12-13. It's a little late in the year for a festival, which could mean it's pleasantly cool - or that it rains and you freeze your ass off.
Venue: Red Rocks.
Lineup: Massive, with more than 40 acts on multiple stages. The lineup is still being rolled out, but expect a selection of indie rock, hip-hop and electronic hotness including the already announced Girl Talk, Dandy Warhols, The Walkmen, Method Man and Redman.
Crowd/Vibe: Have you seen the website lookatthisfuckinghipster.com? It's gonna look like that. Hot girls in tight pants, scruffy dudes in tighter pants and a lot of ironic headger and eyewear.
Logistics: See Global Dance Fest.
Price: $49.50 for a one-day ticket.
Find more online at www.monolithfestival.com.


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