The ten best summer music festivals in Colorado
A Colorado summer can be short, but there are plenty of ways to make it sweet, especially if you pack it with as many festivals, road trips and patios as possible. We've picked out ten music festivals sure to give you the flavor of the state's musical offerings -- everything from the EDM of Global Dance to the jam bands of Mammoth Fest. If you want truly homegrown talent, head to our own Westword Music Showcase on June 21 (featuring over 140 Colorado bands) or the Underground Music Showcase the month after that.
You can find plenty more advice for ways to spend the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day in this year's Westword Summer Guide, which is in this week's issue of the newspaper.
Snowmass Mammoth Fest
Snowmass Town Park, Snowmass
Expect your mandolin-carrying and bearded friends to depart Denver en masse in June for Mammoth Fest, because a few of their hippie idols will be playing -- nay, jamming! -- in Snowmass. Leftover Salmon, Chris Robinson (of Black Crowes and YouTube ranting fame), Les Claypool (of Primus and almost-played-for-Metallica fame) and a few others are on the bill.
Greeley Blues Jam Festival
Island Grove Arena, Greeley
Who knew that Greeley knew how to get down? Folks like Tab Benoit, apparently. Benoit, one of the co-headliners of the Greeley Blues Jam Festival, is a Louisiana legend known for traditional, "swamp blues"-type music. He's joined by fellow Louisianan Marcia Ball, a fixture on New Orleans's blues scene, and the Phantom Blues Band, whose time spent as Taj Mahal's backing band speaks to its prowess.
Westword Music Showcase
Multiple Golden Triangle locations
The Westword Music Showcase brings headliners 2 Chainz and Diplo to its twentieth installment. Both are capable party-starters -- the former has more than one song that your grandma in Littleton will hear the crowd shouting along with. But the main stage, which also features Cherub, Man Man and King Khan and the Shrines, is just one very small part of the festival. It's still mostly a celebration of Colorado music, and more than 140 local bands will play sixteen stages in the Golden Triangle neighborhood. Among them are fearless hip-hop band Wheelchair Sports Camp, garage-rock instigators Thee Dang Dangs and nationally renowned cellist and songwriter Ian Cooke.