Summer in Colorado Means Concerts Under the Stars, from Unexpected Gems to the Longtime Popular Jam Bands

A relaxed summer vibe brings the Colorado music scene alive. From small mountain-town parks featuring local bands to large stadium concerts headlining the hottest acts, there is no shortage of high-quality and superbly entertaining music. Coloradans have a broad taste in music, and musicians of many genres clamor to perform here. Home to one of the most astounding natural amphitheaters in the country, Colorado boasts a thriving homegrown music scene that has flourished in the last two decades. With plenty of options to choose from, here are our favorite venues to get you started. We have included price points from free to pricey and styles of music to suit all listeners. But don’t stop here. You’re sure to find more remarkable settings on your own to experience live music outdoors and soak up summer.

Discovery Park

20115 E. Mainstreet, Parker

ParkerArts.org

Celebrate summer with your neighbors at Parker Arts Free Concerts at Discovery Park Amphitheater. Located in the heart of Main Street near the Parker Library, the concert series primarily features local talent. You’ll also find fire pits for s’mores, interactive fountains for cooling off and public artwork. Bring a lawn chair and a picnic basket, or dine on fare from food trucks at select concerts.  

Denver Botanic Garden

1007 York St., Denver

BotanicGardens.org

World-class talent takes the stage at the most intimate outdoor concert setting in the area, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Denver Botanic Gardens. Your ticket to the show includes entrance into the gardens themselves. For the 2019 concert series, you can experience the special exhibit Human | Nature: Figures from the Craig Ponzio Sculpture Collection.

Red Rocks Amphitheater

18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison

RedRocksOnline.com

Nothing beats sitting under the stars surrounded by glowing, towering rocks, watching the moon rise while listening to the biggest names in music. The Jeep Summer Concert Series delivers one of the most memorable music experiences to be found. Red Rocks is also host to Yoga on the Rocks, Film on the Rocks, The Colorado Music Hall of Fame and biking/hiking trails aplenty.  

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

530 S. Frontage Road E, Vail

GRFAVail.com

Each Summer, the Vail Valley Foundation hosts an array of entertainment at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Enjoy the Hot Summer Nights Free Concert Series, internationally renowned Vail Dance Festival and Whistle Pig Headliner concerts while taking in views of the majestic Rocky Mountains. Covered assigned seating and general admission lawn seating, as well as concessions and full bar, are available.

THE CALENDAR

July 4

Blues Traveler, Leftover Salmon

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Blues Traveler will play an Independence Day show for the 25th year for this annual Colorado tradition. Special guests include Colorado jam-grass band Leftover Salmon and singer-songwriter Jackie Greene.

Tickets: $39–$65

July 8

The Mavericks and Los Lobos 

Denver Botanic Gardens

Self-described Mexican American band Los Lobos and their eclectic blend of styles perform with the genre-bending, category-defying music of The Mavericks.

Tickets: $74–$79

July 11

Woodshed Red

Discovery Park

Hailing from the Colorado Springs area, this high-energy band performs music inspired by bluegrass, blues, funk and rock spanning eras of music both old and new.

Tickets: Free

July 16

Norah Jones

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Nine-time Grammy Award winner Norah Jones brings her beguiling vocals and a musical blend featuring jazz, vocal pop, bluesy country and folk to Denver. This tour is a return to her piano-driven roots.  

Tickets: $49–$99

July 18 

Conjunto Colores

Discovery Park

Specializing in “salsa dura” (hard salsa), Conjunto Colores emphasizes strong percussion and horns over vocals. Just try to keep your hips from swaying.

Tickets: Free

July 25

Buckstein

Discovery Park

“I don’t like country music but I like you.” Buckstein hears that frequently. The 6-foot-4-inch bass-baritone’s music is reminiscent of Trace Adkins and Toby Keith.

Tickets: Free

July 26–Aug. 10

Vail Dance Festival

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

Created in 1989, this annual two-week event features both performance and educational elements and has established Vail as a premier summer dance destination.

Tickets: $23 and up

Aug. 1

Boogie Machine

Discovery Park

Decked out with giant hair and custom retro-style costumes, Boogie Machine is a four-piece ’70s disco tribute band playing all your favorite disco-era hits with a taste of funk and rock.

Tickets: Free

Aug. 13

John Hiatt

Denver Botanic Gardens

A skilled storyteller and keen observer of life’s twists and turns, John Hiatt delivers an all-acoustic set of songs both new and old. He is joined by San Francisco’s Logan Ledger.  

Tickets: $68–$73

Aug. 14

Steve Miller Band

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

A presence on the music scene for 50 years, Steve Miller crafted a brand of pop that is smart, polished and irresistible.

Tickets: $65–$199

Aug. 14

Lionel Richie

Red Rocks Amphitheater

One of the world’s bestselling artists of all time, Lionel Richie has been entertaining audiences for more than five decades.

Tickets: $59–$299

Aug. 19

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

Missouri bred, Denver-based Nathaniel Rateliff and his Night Sweats blend influences of folk, Americana, and vintage rhythm and blues into a sound uniquely theirs.

Tickets: $55–$89

Aug. 27

One Republic with Colorado Symphony Orchestra

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Each summer, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra performs with a mainstream band.  

Tickets: $49–$149

Sept. 2

Bon Iver

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

2012 Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album Grammy Award winner Bon Iver brings its American indie music to Vail.

Tickets: $89–$119