10 music festivals to travel to hear in the western United States
Ten events across Intermountain West, ranging from country to jazz, bluegrass to electronica.
Utah music fans can enjoy an impressive array of acts and artists across the state, whether they’re performing in a big venue or attending a festival or concert series.
For fans looking to go a little further, there are also options in neighboring states of Utah. Some of them are in expensive ski resorts, like Aspen or Telluride, and you have to factor in transportation, accommodation, and food, just like you would on any vacation.
Here are 10 options for those who want to incorporate music into their summer vacation.
pure imagination • Prescott, Arizona, May 21 • In its first year, this one-day festival promises to “bring diversity of sounds and cultures to a scenic and inspiring outdoor setting,” namely Watson Lake, north of Phoenix. The eco-friendly festival features programming that crosses genres, including rock band Dawes, rapper Talib Kweli, country star Wynonna Judd and blues/R&B performer Fantastic Negrito. Tickets and information available at pureimaginationfestival.com.
country jam • Grand Junction, Colorado, June 23-25 • Some of the biggest names in country music are featured at this event, including Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw and Eric Church. For passes and other information, visit countryjam.com.
World Dance Festival • Denver, July 15-16 • Held at Empower Field at Mile High (home of the Denver Broncos), this festival bills itself as the “largest annual Rockies summer music festival in the United States”. It’s a collection of live dance music, food trucks, carnival rides and more. Artists include Vintage Culture, Champagne Drip and Blossom. For more information, visit globaldancefestival.com.
Telluride Jazz Festival • Telluride, Colorado, August 12-14 • The small mountain town of San Juan, Colorado hosts festivals for many disciplines — bluegrass in June, a world-famous film festival around Labor Day , the blues in mid-September — but we’re highlighting its jazz festival because, unlike some others, you can still get tickets to this one (as of this writing). This year’s headliners include jazz composer Terence Blanchard, singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, trumpeter Chief Adjudah (formerly Christian Scott) and pop-soul singer Yola. Tickets and information available at telluridejazz.org.
JAS – Jazz Aspen Snowmass • Aspen, Colorado, September 2-4 • Event, which aims to “preserve jazz and related forms of music,” enters its 30th season with a sensational lineup of musicians over Labor Day weekend , including Leon Bridges, Black Pumas, Chris Stapleton, Zach Bryan, Stevie Nicks and Little Big Town. Visit jazzaspensnowmass.org for information and tickets.
Montana Folk Festival • Butte, Montana, July 8-10 • Some of the artists scheduled for this event include Haitian collective Lakou Mizik, rockabilly artist Chuck Mead, Cape Breton Celtic band Beólach, Kathak dancer Fara Yasmeen Shaikh and many more. ‘others. The event is outdoors and free; visit montanafolkfestival.com for more information.
Electric Daisy Carnival • Las Vegas, May 20-22 • The grandfather of electronic dance music, this festival fills the T-Mobile Arena (NHL Golden Nights home) for three days and three nights — with headliners such as Alesso, David Guetta, DJ Snake and Zedd. Ticket information is available at lasvegas.electricdaisycarnival.com.
Schellraiser Music Festival • McGill, Nevada, June 2-5 • A new event on the calendar, this festival brings together 31 bands for four days in the small town near Ely, while raising funds to restore the Nevada Northern Railroad. The lineup includes artists such as alt-country band Old 97, alt-blues band Houndmouth, country singer Nikki Lane, alt-country singer Shannon Shaw and indie rock band Broncho. Tickets and information available at schellraiser.com.
iHeartRadio Music Festival • Las Vegas, September 23-24 • Another big weekend at the T-Mobile Arena, this festival — now in its 12th edition — continues to bring together the biggest names in music. This year’s lineup includes Lauv, Willow, Big Time Rush, 5 Seconds of Summer and Avril Lavigne, but expect a few surprises. For tickets and information, go to iheart.com/music-festival.
Blues and ABQ beers • Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 29 • The all-day event at Sandia Resort & Casino features a host of blues musicians — and (as the name suggests) beers, ciders and spirits from dozens of beverage manufacturers. For more information, visit http://www.abqbluesandbrews.com/.
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