Festival Season in Colorado Springs

    Whether you’re looking for raucous or relaxing, city or country, cultured or crazy, Southern Colorado has a festival for you this summer. Here’s your guide to some of the region’s standouts.

    Sonic Bloom
    Sonic Bloom. Photo by Eric Allen Photo.


    Colorado College Summer Music Festival
    June 4-24 | Colorado Springs
    Renowned musicians—including Grammy-nominated Carol Wincenc, one of the biggest names in the flute world—gather for 26 concerts in three weeks. Styles include classical, chamber, contemporary, even children’s in venues around the region.

    Sonic Bloom
    June 15-18 | Hummingbird Ranch (near Rye)
    An EDM (electronic dance music) jam like no other, this fest is free-spirited, funky, homegrown and multicultural all in one. Festivalgoers can choose from basic admission, VIP and glamping options. Sonic Bloom Academy, including yoga and permaculture classes, starts June 11.

    Bands in the Backyard
    June 16-17 | Vineland
    Catch Thomas Rhett, Academy of Country Music Male Vocalist of the Year, at this three-day fest of rock and country. Plus performances from Billy Currington, Old Dominion, Sonny Mackenzie and more including Colorado’s own Kory Brunson Band. Camp for the whole weekend, or make the trek from nearby Pueblo.

    High Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival
    July 6-9 | Westcliffe
    Nationally-renowned bluegrass performers set against stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Hosted by Dry Branch Fire Squad and The Sons and Brothers Band, the 2017 lineup includes Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys, The Stray Birds, The Glade City Rounders and many more.

    Spanish Peaks Music Festival
    July 14-15 | La Veta
    Headlined by Aaron Watson, this country fest includes performances from the likes of Triple Nickel, Exit West and Charley Jenkins, plus on-site camping and a barbecue and chili cook-off.

    Blues Under the Bridge
    July 29 | Under the Colorado Avenue Bridge, Colorado Springs
    The Blind Boys of Alabama take center stage at the 11th Annual Blues Under the Bridge Festival. Also playing this year are Bob Corritore and Big Jon Atkinson, the Paladins, Erica Brown with Movers and Shakers, plus local favorites the Sugar Sounds. Train whistles howl along in the unique bluesy setting.

    Sports & Recreation

    Courtesy of FIBark. Photo by Chris Miller

    June 15-18 | Salida
    Spend Father’s Day at America’s “oldest and boldest” whitewater festival. FIBArk stands for “First In Boating the Arkansas,” but there are also bike and running races, a parade, live music, beer garden and a retrieving event for your crazy river dog. Don’t miss the Hooligan Race, open to anything that floats except boats.

    Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Fan Fest
    June 23 | Colorado Springs
    Celebrate the Race to the Clouds and get revved up with the competitors as they prepare to charge the summit of Pikes Peak. The downtown Fan Fest features live entertainment, motorcycle exhibitions, vendors, a beer garden and firefighter chili cook-off. ppihc.com/fan-fest

    Royal Gorge White Water Festival
    June 23-24 | Cañon City
    Three words: boats, bands, beer. Expect all manner of fun on the Arkansas River, from whitewater sports to kids activities to a rubber ducky race down the river. Catch the train or take kayaking lessons.

    International Dragon Boat Festival racers
    International Dragon Boat Festival. Photo courtesy of GWM Dragon Boat.

    International Dragon Boat Festival
    Aug. 26 | Memorial Park, Colorado Springs
    Join or form a team and prepare to paddle. Celebrate Chinese culture and sport based on a 2,500-year-old tradition of dragon boat racing. There’s also music, food, entertainment and other water festivities.

    Arts & Culture

    June 8-11 | Valdez
    Colorado’s regional Burning Man. Actual burning depends on fire restrictions, but you can count on art, music, camping, revelry and self-expression.

    Pikes Peak Celtic Fest
    June 16-18 | Memorial Park,Colorado Springs
    Don your kilt and celebrate all things Celtic with bagpipes, Irish dancers, fish and chips, Guinness beer, whiskey and Scotch tastings, and even fireworks. Join the Braveheart 5K and Highland Games, such as the caber toss and ancient clach neart, or stone throw.

    Fort Carson Freedom Fest
    July 1-2 | Iron Horse Park, Fort Carson
    Celebrate Independence Day and show your support for America’s servicemen and women. Events include the Rod Benders Liberty Edition Car Show, the Color Fest Run Liberty Edition, games, food, music and fireworks.

    Native American Intertribal Powwow
    June 10 | Mortgage Solutions Financial Expo, Colorado Springs
    Celebrate Native American history and culture with drums, singers dancers, art and artisans, and full regalia. Also included are a live birds of prey exhibit by HawkQuest, Aztec dancers and Native American food, such as Navajo tacos and fry bread.

    Springs Spree
    June 11 | America the Beautiful Park, Colorado Springs
    A day of fun, food, music, arts and adventure (did we mention free admission?) make this local event a community celebration. Register for the 5K, and then spend the day.

    Colorado Renaissance Festival
    Weekends June 10–July 30 | Larkspur
    A merry tradition with jousting, turkey legs galore, artisans offering everything from swords to stained glass, and themed weekends including wine, dance, romance and Mardi Gras. Find discount tickets at King Soopers, but be prepared to spend more after admission.

    Donkey Derby Days
    June 23-25 | Cripple Creek
    Pushing 90 years old, the Wild West Triple D celebrates Western shootouts, donkey rides and, of course, the donkey race itself. Catch a melodrama and pancake breakfast, and enter your furry companion in the dog show. Admission is free.

    dancers coming to green box arts festival
    METdance. Photo by Ben Doyle.

    Green Box Arts Festival
    July 1-9 | Green Mountain Falls
    Green Box mixes high country charm with big city culture in seminars, classes, concerts, performances and art. This year features internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro, who will create two light-based landscape installations. Plus, the tradition of exceptional dance residency continues featuring Houston’s METdance.

    Pikes Peak Art & Music Festival
    July 1-2 | America the Beautiful Park, Colorado Springs
    Beyond booths of arts and crafts, come to this fest for live music, delicious food, artist demos and hands-on activities. Free admission and parking.

    July 8-9 | Downtown Colorado Springs
    The LGBTQ celebration includes a parade downtown and live music, entertainment, food and games in America the Beautiful Park. July 8 is family day with fun activities for kids of all ages.

    Colorado State Fair
    Aug. 25–Sept. 4 | Colorado State Fairgrounds, Pueblo
    Older than the Centennial State itself, the fair is an institution, with five live music stages featuring the likes of ZZ Top, a rodeo, carnival rides, stock shows, kids activities and all the state fair food you can stomach.

    Commonwheel Labor Day Art Festival
    Sept. 2-4 | Memorial Park, Manitou Springs
    The large arts fest draws statewide artists offering everything from fine oil paintings to outdoor steel sculpture to handmade fabric goods. Sample plenty of food vendors as well.

    Victor Celebrates the Arts
    Sept. 2-4 | Victor
    Watch art created live as en plein air works are created outdoors by dozens of on-site painters. The Quick Draw event pushes artists to create on the spot, improv-style.

    Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off
    Sept. 2-4 | Memorial Park, Colorado Springs
    Of the 50 hot air balloons that take to the skies each morning, watch for the few who accept the challenge to dip their baskets in Prospect Lake after takeoff. Daylong festivities include skydiving demonstrations, wakeboarding exhibitions, stand-up paddle boarding, live entertainment and beer gardens. The balloon glow is particularly photogenic, starting at dusk Saturday and Sunday.

    What If … Festival of Imagination & Innovation
    Sept. 9 | Downtown Colorado Springs
    Come celebrate and explore new ideas and interactive experiences centered around creativity and innovation. Expect art, science, music, invention, business, entrepreneurship and fun for all ages.

    Food & Drink

    Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival
    June 3 | Memorial Park, Manitou Springs
    Here’s your chance to sample home-grown vino. Enjoy generous tastings from 30 Colorado wineries, paired with food vendors and live entertainment. Designated drivers get in free.

    Colorado Brewers Rendezvous
    July 8 | Riverside Park, Salida
    Raise a few along the banks of the Arkansas River, but pace yourself. More than 75 Colorado breweries will pour over 300 types of brews. Pair them with food vendors’ fare and live music.

    Fiddles, Vittles & Vino
    July 30 | Rock Ledge Ranch, Colorado Springs
    Mix live bluegrass music—this year from the likes of The Quebe Sisters and The Wooks—with wine samples and fine cuisine from two dozen Colorado Springs restaurants, and you get the foodie staple FVV. Proceeds go to Rock Ledge Ranch to further their agricultural programs.

    Vino and Notes
    Aug. 5 | Downtown Woodland Park
    Sip wines from over 20 Colorado vineyards to the sounds of live jazz from featured performers Max Wagner and Tony Exum Jr. Proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity of Teller County. Make it a weekend and hit the Mountain Arts Festival and Critterfest too.

    Springs Beer Fest
    Aug. 5 | America the Beautiful Park, Colorado Springs
    This big draw boasts more than 120 beers from 55 craft breweries, including some out-of-state heavy hitters like Lagunitas and Firestone Walker. There are plenty of eats from Springs food trucks and restaurants, plus vendors and live music. The earlier you buy tickets, the better the discount, and an early access ticket gets you in an hour before the rush.

    Steers and Beers Brew Fest
    Aug. 26 | Antlers Hotel, Colorado Springs
    Sample from hundreds of brews and spirits, from locals to the likes of Stone Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Just try and stay on the mechanical bull. The VIP Experience gives early access to special whiskeys, beers and firkins not available to the general attendees. Designated drivers required.