Festival season has begun and chances are you’ve started contemplating lineups, schedules and activities to determine the best fit for you. We hear a lot about national music festivals year-round–Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, etc–but let’s not forget about the unique variety right here in our home state. With the incredible music scene here in Colorado it’s only expected that there will be some legendary performances across the state this season. Whichever festival you decide to attend, be sure to make these performances you absolutely can’t miss.

Riot Fest

Jake Bugg

When: September 2-4; Schedule TBA 

Where: National Western Complex, Denver

The Low Down: Jake Bugg is an incredibly talented English musician–and making him all-the-more incredible is the fact that he’s probably younger than you. Somehow combining elements of inconceivable charm with an undeterminable haunting feeling, this unique alt-rock artist evokes a spectrum of emotions with his voice. While performing Bugg makes it seem as if he isn’t even trying as he conquers multiple guitars and fluidly adapts his voice to a live audience. If you’ve never listened to the twenty-two-year-old be sure to check out the video above for Broken–a single from his debut album which was recorded at the age of eighteen.

The Misfits

When: September 2-4; Schedule TBA 

Where: National Western Complex, Denver

The Low Down: As of the publishing of this article, The Misfits are scheduled to play their first show together in over three decades this summer right here in Denver. This historical reunion is bound to be a punk celebration for the books. The band will likely be sporting their original makeup, leather and horror personas–at least we can only hope so. Be sure to arrive early as this reunion is no joke and the show is expected to be their largest ever.

Fitz & the Tantrums

When: September 2-4; Schedule TBA 

Where: National Western Complex, Denver

The Low Down: I can honestly say without a doubt that the live performances of Fitz & the Tantrums will never disappoint. The large ensemble really knows how to create a notoriously high-energy crowd-pleasing performance. Often combining theatrical aspects, instrumental solos from drums to brass, and heavy crowd involvement, this is one show you should not miss at this years Denver’s Riot Fest.

Divide Music Festival

Miike Snow

When: Evening of Sunday, July 24

Where: Winter Park

The Low Down: Returning after over a four-year-break, this three-headed band with a one-man name will be playing the Divide Music Festival in a time-slot between Blondie and the Fray. At this point, purchasing a ticket for the festival is your best bet at having the opportunity of seeing the Swedes–their US tour is scarce and many shows are sold out. Check out their phenomenal third pop album iii available now.

Vertex Music Festival

Robert DeLong

When: August 5-7; Schedule TBA

Where: Buena Vista

The Low Down: Fans of electronic music–this is an absolute must. Regardless of your opinion on the sounds of DeLong, his live performances are impressive and incredible. You’ll often find the artist running around the stage using Wii and Xbox remotes as DJ pads simultaneously singing some catchy tune into the mic. Put on your face-paint and dancing shoes for this wonderful nerdy electronic set.

Alabama Shakes

When: August 5-7; Schedule TBA

Where: Buena Vista

The Low Down: For those of you that missed Alabama Shakes’ mesmerizing Red Rocks performance last summer, here’s your chance to catch them while they’re back in Colorado. Front-woman Brittany Howard aka Thunderbitch can frequently be found challenging her vocals often leaving the crowd breathless. Guaranteeing a variety of southern alt-rock songs that you can dance to or cry to, the Alabama Shakes should never be missed. Check out debatably one of their best live songs–Gimme All Your Love– above while imagining the live power of Howard’s incredible pipes.


When: August 5-7; Schedule TBA

Where: Buena Vista

The Low Down: If you’re still sobbing over Odesza’s headlining Red Rocks show selling out in the blink-of-an-eye, don’t worry because they’ll also be playing at Vertex Music Festival this summer. Boasting a mesmerizing light show with heavy percussions and live brass, these Seattle natives really know what they’re doing in the world of live-music. Be prepared to groove to their ambient tracks and get lost in some awe-inspiring visuals.


Son Little

When: Saturday, July 2 at 7:45 p.m.

Where: Festival Main Stage – Snowmass Village, Aspen

The Low Down:  Whether you’re familiar with Little or just plan on attending Wanderlust, this is one up-and-comer who truly deserves your time. Son Little has a voice often reminiscent of Frank Ocean and Leon Bridges that he combines with elements of southern blues, soul, gospel and rock-n-roll. With skillful guitar playing and a voice that could effortlessly send chills down your spine, prepare to be impressed.


Flying Lotus

When: July 29-23; Schedule TBA

Where: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City

The Low Down: Hands down, Flying Lotus has one of the most visually appealing light projections in live music right now. Tweaked to perfection with his beats and staccato electronic music arrangement, it’s the perfect complement to his genre. I would hope to expect just that and more from him at BassCenter this year.

Underground Music Showcase


When: July 28-31; Schedule TBA

Where: Denver; Location TBA

The Low Down: Poliça truly is a hidden gem that should be greatly anticipated by anyone attending the Underground Music Showcase this summer. The band is highlighted by the female singers beautiful ambient auto-tuned vocals creating a truly unique sound. Accompanied with energetic percussions from two drummers, instrumentation variety from synths to brass, and a groovy bass, this is live indie-alternative at its finest.

Arise Music Festival


When: August 5-7; Schedule TBA

Where: Sunrise Ranch, Loveland

The Low Down: Having studied composition and violin since the age of eight, this musician has turned his orchestral talents into something so much more. Performing primarily instrumentally, Govinda incorporates violin and mellow instrumentations with drum-and-bass creating a really unique bollywood-esque sound. Sometimes mellow, sometimes danceable, this show should be an entertaining theatrical showcase with worldly dancers and cosmic visuals.

Sonic Bloom

Bonobo (DJ Set)

When: June 16-19; Schedule TBA

Where: Hummingbird Ranch, Spanish Peaks Country

The Low Down: World-renowned Bonobo is one of the two headliners for the 11th annual Sonic Bloom Festival. Though a DJ set and not an ordinary performance, expect an amazing time from this one as Bonobo is renowned for his perfectly crafted orchestration of music. Blending electronica with brass, strings and the occasional vocalist, his music very well could be one of the inspirations behind Odesza.

Com Truise

When: June 16-19; Schedule TBA

Where: Hummingbird Ranch, Spanish Peaks Country

The Low Down: Com Truise has gracefully dived into the genre of ambient electronica, and greatly succeeded in doing so. Expect to see this DJs name on a successful headlining tour in no time, especially considering his heavy summer festival presence and slot on tour opening for legendary STRFKR. Sure, his set might not be thrilling with smokescreens and lasers, but his music is great to groove to and his light coordination hits the spot.