Summertime in Colorado is synonymous with sunshine, craft brew sipping and the acoustic sounds of string band music. And with its line-up of upcoming music festivals, Planet Bluegrass, the renowned local organization behind year-round concerts and festivals throughout the state, is offering up an exceptional menu of musical talent and excitement in the coming summer months.
As Planet Bluegrass Vice President of Communications Brian Eyster notes, bluegrass music was born in the mountains of the southeastern United States, making Colorado’s quintessential mountain settings the ideal playground for bluegrass artists and musicians. A community-centric, outdoor-friendly genre, bluegrass blends perfectly with Colorado's ethos of openness while its energy speaks to the active and vibrant culture of the state. Meld all these factors, and you have music festival nirvana and an upcoming season of sounds that can’t be topped.
Telluride Bluegrass Festival
When: June 20 – 23, 2019
Where: Town Park in Telluride, CO
Headliners: Sam Bush Band, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Punch Brothers, Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, Gregory Alan Isakov, Jim James
- Telluride Troubadour Singer-Songwriter Contest
- Telluride Band Contest
It’s not often that a music festival boasts a sound and style so wholly its own that it becomes a sub-genre in and of itself. Yet this year marks the 46th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival, a gathering of artists and music lovers steeped in history, tradition and progressive musical talent unique to the bluegrass scene. With a line-up that blends Grammy-winning talent, local legends and up-and-coming artists, this year’s festival promises to be a celebratory homage to all its most inimitable elements. From returning artists on the Telluride House Band who have thrilled festival-goers for decades to younger generations of acoustic musicians already making a name for themselves as bluegrass legends, this is a cornerstone festival that’s not to be missed.
“I celebrate three holidays…Thanksgiving, Christmas and Telluride!” – Chris Thule of Punch Brothers
When: July 26 – 28, 2019
Where: Planet Bluegrass Ranch in Lyons, CO
Headliners: Sam Bush Band, Punch Brothers, Del McCoury Band, Earls of Leicester, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, The Lonesome Ace Stringband
- A special set featuring the musicians from O Brother, Where Art Thou? performing as The Soggy Bottom Boys
- Introduction of Che Apalache, a bluegrass-inspired quartet from Buenos Aires, Argentina
The backbone of Colorado’s bluegrass tradition, the RockyGrass Festival is celebrating its 47th year this July. With a history rooted in the very first introductions of bluegrass music to the state, this festival remains unique in its commitment to upholding the soulful acoustic sounds of traditional Colorado bluegrass, meaning the electrical instruments will be scarce and the picking will be sublime. From steadfast local bluegrass legends to exciting new international artists, this festival remains as can’t-miss as ever.
“RockyGrass… the midsummer Rocky Mountain Rendezvous. A devoted crowd of bluegrass music enthusiasts, they bring out our best. It’s the highlight of my summer!” – Peter Rowan, musician
Rocky Mountain Folks Festival
When: August 16 – 18, 2019
Where: Planet Bluegrass Ranch in Lyons, CO
Headliners: The East Pointers, The Small Glories, Ben Folds, Violent Femmes, Ani DiFranco, Mandolin Orange, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Kira Small
- Songwriter Showcase featuring ten artists to open the festival
When assembling the line-up for the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, there are a few traits that the artists and songwriters have in common. They’re all irreverent. They’re all influential. And they’re all wildly creative. A gathering focused on bringing together a wide variety of musicians from across musical genres, this festival is a celebration of unique artists and sounds, from horn-driven bands to folk-punk and more. Now in its 29th year, the festival attracts artists from around the world, including several Canadian bands in this year’s line-up, and promises to be a multi-day musical experience like no other.
“It’s a great community, there are great people, it’s a great vibe and there’s great music. You have something special here.” – Sufjan Stevens, singer-songwriter