Summer in Boulder is for music, and the summer of 2019 is really bringing out the big guitars. This year, you can see everyone from Norah Jones to Tenacious D, the String Cheese Incident for days (literally, the band has a multi-day gig) and unique shows, like OneRepublic playing with the local Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
You’ll have plenty of chances to catch local talent, too, like Boulder County a cappella band Face, and big bands like Big Head Todd and the Monsters, which has Boulder roots.
A highlight every year is the Dead & Co. show at Folsom Field. This year, the band plays July 5-6 for two nights in a row, and packed around these shows you’ll also find pre-parties and after-parties at various music venues.
Of course, not all notable performances are flashy and you can find impressive shows at small venues across town, from coffee shops to breweries and bars.
But when looking at the bigger venues in and around town — Red Rocks, the Fox Theatre, the Boulder Theater and the Chautauqua Auditorium — here’s a quick glance at some of the highlights you don’t want to miss this summer.
Red Rocks Amphitheater
From classics like Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross and Lyle Lovett, to fun tribute bands like Killer Queen (a tribute to Queen), to a three-day show by the String Cheese Incident, Red Rocks will be rocking the rocks this summer.
Other bands we’re excited to watch: Widespread Panic, OAR and Gregory Alan Isakov (he has Boulder ties, too).
In addition to music at Red Rocks, throughout the summer, you will find Yoga on the Rocks events (just what it sounds like: huge group yoga classes on the stairs of the theater) and movies show on a big screen under the stars. There are even a few Barre on the Rocks classes this year, which follow a ballet barre-style format (a booty burner, especially if combined with some laps up and down the stairs). Then in September, there’s the SnowShape Winter Fitness Series.
Red Rocks also occasionally hosts stand-up comedians and other special events.
Here’s a look at what the next few months will bring to Red Rocks:
24- Stevie Wonder
25- Death Cab for Cutie
26- Kacey Musgraves
28-30- Widespread Panic
3- Zeds Dead
4- Blues Traveler with Leftover Salmon
5-7- The Avett Brothers
9- Dirty Heads
10- Face Vocal Band
11- Louis The Child
12- The Motet and Galactic (16+)
13- Cody Jinks
14- Pink Martini
15- Lyle Lovett
16- Norah Jones
17-18- The Head and the Heart
19-21- String Cheese Incident (You can get a three-day pass if you want to attend all three days.)
22- Diana Ross
23- Killer Queen – Tribute to Queen
24- Trampled By Turtles
25- Tenacious D
26-27- Tedeschi Trucks Band
28- John Prine with The Colorado Symphony
29-30- Chris Tomlin
31- Peter Frampton
1- Weird Al Yankovic
2-3- My Morning Jacket
4- Gregory Alan Isakov
10- Alison Wonderland
11-12- Joe Bonamassa
13- Judah and The Lion
14- Lionel Richie
15- Shakey Graves
16- John Butler Trio with Yonder Mountain String Band
17- Slightly Stoopid
18-19- Govt Mule
20- The Piano Guys
21-22- Nathaniel Rateliff
23- 1964 the Tribute
24- Reggae on the Rocks: Rebelution
26-27- OneRepublic with The Colorado Symphony
28- Josh Groban
29- Joe Russo’s Almost Dead
1- Kidz Bop Live!
2- Amos Lee
3- Bon Iver
4- Gary Clark Jr.
5- The Wood Brothers
6-7- Sound Tribe Sector 9
8- Dark Star Orchestra with Electric Hot Tuna
9- Die Antwoord
10- Mark Knopfler
11- Old Dominion
12- Alison Wonderland (yes, again)
13-15- Greensky Bluegrass (You can get a three-day pass if you want to attend all three shows.)
16- Worship On The Rocks
17- Jason Isbell
19- Big Wild
21- The Revivalists
23- Greta Van Fleet (wraps up the last day of summer)
The Fox Theatre
The Fox, located on University Hill in Boulder, tends to draw bands for the college crowds and the best up-and-coming musicians you really should try if you want to be in the know. The Fox is also a great place for an after-party when the Dead & Co. show wraps up in July. Both nights feature fun shows to extend the festivities later into the night.
One Fox highlight in August is the FMQB Triple A Conference free outdoor concert series running on the Hill Aug. 7-9.
The concert series, presented by radio stations 97.3 KBCO and FMQB, bring a long list of performers to town for free shows. Some, like Death Cab for Cutie on Aug. 7, are already “sold out” (as in tickets are gone), but you can still find seats for the rest, including Soak + Hiss Golden Messenger; Keane + Citizen Cope + Jade Bird; Big Head Todd and the Monsters and more.
Here’s a look at some shows on the books at the Fox this summer:
26- Yak Attack
2- Aaron Lee Tasjan
3- Shred Is Dead + Tula
5- Kitchen Dwellers Pickin’ On the Band – Dead & Co. after-party
6- Cycles + Flash Mountain Flood – Dead & Co. after-party
10- Rose Hill Drive (plays Led Zeppelin)
11- Big Something
12- Tedeschi Trucks Band
13- Bound For Peaches (Tribute to the Allman Bros. Band + Tedeschi Trucks Band), feat. members of Lotus, Eminence Ensemble, Envy Alo, Skyscraper, Legato, Genuine Reverie, Boulder Sound Lab and Mountain Rose.
20- Bob Schneider
24- The Deer
25- Orchard Lounge
26- Butcher Brown
30- The Dip
31- Hayes Carll
5- An Evening With Mountain Man
7- Soak + Hiss Golden Messenger, Death Cab for Cutie (sold out), as part of FMQB 2019 (free outdoor stage)
8- JD Simo + Charley Crockett, Keane + Citizen Cope + Jade Bird (FMQB 2019)
9- Neal Francis + Wilder Woods, Big Head Todd and the Monsters + Pete Yorn + Willa Amai, feat. Linda Perry (FMQB 2019)
10- Corrosion of Conformity
15- Slim Wednesday ft. Jojo Hermann of Widespread Panic
22- 40 Oz. to Freedom (Sublime tribute band)
23- Cris Jacobs
24- Kessel Run (3 year anniversary)
30- An Evening With Kronen, Collusion and Bathing Lagoon
31- Chewy & Bach (unofficial Griz after-party)
14- Jimmy Herring and the 5 of 7
20- Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
The Boulder Theater is the Fox’s sibling stage in downtown, and while the Fox has your after-party, the Boulder Theater’s got your Dead and Co. pre-party, with Shakedown Street and Nick Gerlach. OK, the Boulder Theater has more after-parties, too, including one with Ghost Light and another with the Marcus King Band; that one’s sold out, though.
The Boulder Theater has some fun family-friendly shows this summer, including music by the Beatles for kids. Then head to the Beatles vs. Elvis Showdown later in the month and decide who was the better artist.
Here’s a look at some of the Boulder Theater’s summer offerings:
4- Dead & Co. pre-party – Shakedown Street and Nick Gerlach perform 3/29/90
5- Ghost Light (Dead & Company after-party)
6- The Marcus King Band (Dead & Company after-party, sold out)
3- An Evening With Leo Kottke
7- Arturo Sandoval
10- Shane Smith & The Saints
11- The Music of the Beatles for Kids
15- John Butler Trio
16- Beatles vs. Elvis – A Musical Showdown
17- Asleep at the Wheel (with Bonnie & the Clydes)
6-7- Dark Star Orchestra (part of the three-day Red Rocks bundle)
8- Al Di Meola & Band: Across the Universe 2019-2020
15- The Music of Reggae for Kids
20- Polo & Pan – Caravelle World Tour
21- Explosions in the Sky (20th anniversary tour)
The Chautauqua Auditorium draws all kinds of stage performances, from speakers to musicians. Because it’s located in the heart of the Colorado Chautauqua, with historic cabins that visitors can rent when visiting Boulder, it’s an especially popular venue for travelers. But make sure you get tickets early, because locals love the auditorium, too.
Chautauqua has shows for all ages, such as The Music of Phish for Kids. Boulder’s thrilled about Melissa Etheridge in July and the Indigo Girls in August. Bruce Hornsby will also take Chautauqua’s stage in August, among many other talented performers.
Here’s a look at some of what Chautauqua will offer this summer:
24- Tommy Emmanuel and David Grisman
29- An Evening with Chris Botti
21- The Music of Phish for Kids
23- The Gipsy Kings ft. Nicolas Reyes & Tonino Baliardo
27- Joey Alexander (with the Annie Booth Trio)
30- Crown the Empire – Rage Fest with Attila (with Veil of Maya)
31- Suzanne Vegta (with Siobhan Wilson)
6- An Evening With Jake Shimabuker and Trace Bundy
8- An Evening With Melissa Etheridge
13- An Evening With Robert Cray
15- An Evening With Michael McDonald
29- Toots & the Maytals
5- Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
9- Indigo Girls
12- An Evening With Taj Mahal Quartet and Marc Cohn, ft. special guest vocalists Blind Boys of Alabama
17- An Evening With Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
22- The California Honeydrops
25- An Evening With Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot
26- An Evening With Jose Gonzalez
28- An Evening With Steel Pulse
30- The Milk Carton Kids
16- An Evening With Boz Scaggs