Top Artists, Iconic Venues + Seasonal Music Events Hit High Notes for Denver Visitors
DENVER (Thursday, May 21, 2015) - Some of the nation's most beloved musicians will take the stage at a variety of unique Denver events this summer, including Memorial Day Weekend's free "Denver Day of Rock," Zac Brown Band playing the first-ever show on Coors Field and the Red Rocks Summer Concert Series at the nation's No. 1 outdoor music venue. In addition to these marque music events, several festivals and lineups of mile high proportions pepper the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
"Tour buses had been bringing the best musicians to Denver long before the Beatles took stage at the Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre in 1964," said Richard Scarf, president & CEO, VISIT DENVER. "The residents and visitors to this city appreciate all forms of music and all types of venues, making Denver more than a regional draw, but rather a music destination. It not only hosts the world's biggest stars, it's also a magnet for up-and-coming talent, alternative musicians and artists of every category."
Coming up on its 75th anniversary in 2016, Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre annually churns out a lineup of sell-out-worthy performances and 2015 is no different, securing more than 100 concerts featuring every genre from pop (Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith) to rock & country (Neil Young, Wilco and Tim McGraw), from alternative (Decemberists and Avett Brothers) to top EDM shows (Bassnectar and Pretty Lights). Yoga, fitness and film events fill in nearly every day in between life performances, so visitors have a daily reason to visit the 70-million-year-old monoliths that flank the amphitheatre stage.
Memorial Day opens the summer musical lineup with Denver Day of Rock just off the 16th Street Mall. The free event, held Saturday, May 23, 2015, on five stages throughout downtown Denver features 25 artists, great food trucks, Denver craft brews and a number of local retailers. Mat Kearney and St. Paul & The Broken Bones headline this year's event.
The neighborhood LoHi Music Festival just north of the downtown core brings a variety of great local talent to the stage, Saturday, June 13, 2015, including The Malah, Infamous Stringdusters and Hot Buttered Rum.
The Westword Music Showcase, June 20, 2015, welcomes Flume, The Black Angels, MisterWives, Robert DeLong, Wave Racer, Roadkill Ghost Choir plus more than 100 local bands and artists still to be announced. Colorado is home to internationally renowned experimental bands, pioneering folk artists, Grammy winners and on most nights in Denver, just about any kind of show is available, from bluegrass to hip-hop to hardcore punk.
Ushering in the July Fourth weekend, three-time Grammy winner and multi-Platinum artist, the Zac Brown Band, will play the first-ever Coors Field concert. The country music group brings its "Jekyll + Hyde" tour to Denver on Friday, July 3, 2015, for one show only.
East Colfax, which has seen a live music boom in the last few years, is looking to join the list of Denver's many neighborhood music events with the first-ever Bluebird District Music Festival. Its initial 2015 lineup will bring A. Tom Collins, Dragondeer, and the Blue Rider, among others, to Goosetown Tavern, Southside Bar Kitchen, Park House, Park House Outdoor Stage, Lost Lake Lounge and Bluebird Theater from July 10-12, 2015.
July 23-26, 2015, brings the Underground Music Showcase (UMS), Denver's premier indie music festival, now in its 15th year. The UMS is known not only for its focus on local talent and the local community, but also for the diversity and high-energy performances. This year's incarnation showcases more than 400 local and national act performances, across 4 days, in nearly 20 venues including headliners STRFKR, DIIV and Tennis. The Underground Music Showcase and VISIT DENVER have collaborated on a new music video series, "Denver Sounds," highlighting local Denver bands performing in iconic Denver locations from storefronts to museums. The initial launch of the series on May 18, 2015, included three videos: Ian Cooke performing at Denver Museum of Nature and Science, The Spells rocking at Casa Bonita, and Julie Davis & Joseph Pope serenading at Ironwood boutique. Three more videos will be released before the start of UMS: One will feature The Yawpers at Rockmount and another features Kittie Crimes inside the D&F Clock Tower and Jilly FM at Denver Beer Co Canworks. The host of the series is Julia Mendiolea, a member of Inner Oceans.
Now in its 11th year, Riot Fest & Rodeo comes to Denver again Aug. 28-30, 2015, with all performances at the National Western Complex. Early bird tickets are now available, and the lineup will be announced in June.
New Venues, Same Landscape
A modern take on a 1940's supper club, where the art of music, drinking, and dancing collide, RiNo's Nocturne celebrates America's rich cultural heritage through the art of hospitality, and the idea that when combined good food, underground jazz music, and cocktails are greater the sum of their parts.
In the downtown corridor, Ophelia's Electric Soapbox is a new restaurant-bar-music venue sandwiched between Larimer and Lawrence streets. Ophelia's, which opened in April 2015, now occupies a large portion of the historic Airedale building, which first opened in 1889 as Kopper's Hotel and Saloon. The venue's history is slightly more risqué than its drink menu, but the racy wall art is a nice reminder of the building's backstory.
The Syntax is becoming a staple for the hipster South Broadway crowd, with Washington Park (Wash Park) corporate professionals rubbing elbows with Baker neighborhood artists. The Syntax: Physic Opera is a place for blue collar creatives, where the working artist and musician post-up, sit back, drink off their tap and eat from their gardens. Thursday through Saturday, they offer 3 to 4 local indie bills, and every night they offer different entertainment: Tuesdays are a Songwriter's Open Mic; Wednesdays the Comedy Open Mic with Denver comics working-out new material, and every Thursday features live jazz after supper.
Colfax, the longest business street in America, is also considered the "wickedest" due to the number of live music venues, bars and clubs along its' 26 mile stretch. 1 Up on Colfax is a newer venue known most days for arcade games and music performances, most of which welcome guests 18 and older.
Classic venues still welcome music aficionados, just with a few more feathers in their caps. The Fillmore Auditorium stands at Colfax and Clarkson was completed by 1907. The Fillmore Auditorium has risen to be one of the most prominent forces in the Denver music scene, hosting a number of concerts by big names such as Rise Against, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Umphrey's McGee, Marilyn Manson, Nelly Furtado, Joss Stone, James Blunt, Erykah Badu and Five Iron Frenzy. The Ogden Theatre, three blocks west on Colfax, was built in 1919 by the same designer of the Bluebird Theater. Originally hosting live performances such as weekly organ recitals, dances, lectures and vaudeville acts - most notably, the legendary Harry Houdini - by 1937, it had been converted to a movie theater that featured everything from the classics to the avant garde. In the '80's it also featured the cult movie classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Today, the theatre found its niche and has become Denver's premier concert venue featuring approximately 150 concerts per year. The Ogden Theatre is an official Denver landmark and a national historic landmark.
Two hours outside Denver in Rye, Colo., the Sonic Bloom Festival amplifies the blossoming local electronic music scene and has garnered national attention for its curated lineup of international artists. Held June 18-21, 2015, the musical festival also features performance and installation art, live painting, yoga movement, and speakers and workshops.
The 2013 floods of Colorado demolished many venues, stores and homes in Lyons, Colo., but the rain didn't wash away this city's heart. Their passion for bluegrass is back with a rebuilt venue for The Rocky Mountain Folk Festival, Aug. 24-26, 2015. Sujan Stevens opens the festival, just an hour outside downtown Denver.
Enjoy the Classics
Look no further than Denver for Broadway theatre, opera, dance, symphony and original theatrical productions inside the second largest performing arts campus in the nation, the Denver Performing Arts Complex. And at the other end of the 16th Street Mall, turn-of-the-Century warehouses in LoDo have been transformed into bars, breweries, nightclubs and music clubs, making it one of the most lively and historic neighborhoods in the nation.
For an off-beat art fix, Denver's top museums stay open after traditional hours with programs including "Untitled Final Fridays" at the Denver Art Museum featuring comedians, live music and inspiring installation art, while the Museum of Contemporary Art-Denver's rooftop bar livens up with jukebox classics, local spirits and a spectacular view of the sunset every weekend.
Red Rocks isn't the only place to see concerts under the stars. Denver Botanic Gardens, City Park and Civic Center Park host unbelievable musicians throughout the summer months.
To learn more about Denver's diverse music scene, go to VISITDENVER.com.