Summer is quickly fading but there are still a few great music festivals coming to Denver before the leaves start falling, including the Down in Denver festival at Larimer Lounge this weekend. Many music festivals generate ticket sales by booking well-known headliners, but Kitty Vincent, Marie Litton and Michael Trundle, the co-creators of the Down in Denver festival, have taken a different approach – booking exciting new talent from around the city. You may not have heard of most of the artists performing, but that’s what this festival is all about – giving unrecognized talent the chance to shine.
The Down in Denver festival represents the spirit of Denver’s music scene in every way. The creators, who have been a part of the local music community for almost two decades put a special kind of care and consideration into organizing this festival. This is their own community they’re advocating for. It’s a community that’s been deeply affected by an inability to perform for the past year. That was one of the driving factors behind the Down in Denver festival.
“The pandemic has been rough. It’s been especially rough on performers and those in the arts,” said Vincent. “We can’t do those jobs from home, so many musicians and artists rely on collaboration as a means for creation. That’s pretty hard to sustain when we aren’t allowed to be in the same room as other people. I know some bands broke up during the pandemic, and others lost members — It’s been a struggle for a lot of people. I think having the support of a community around you is vital for performers.”
Surprisingly, although live music is coming back to Denver at an exciting pace, lesser-known artists have been struggling to find good gigs. The return of live music is a double-edged sword. On one hand, more people are coming to shows than ever before and the demand for live music is massive. On the other hand, venues across the city are embracing this opportunity by reserving spots for as many big artists as possible, leaving less room for smaller acts. When the Underground Music Showcase (UMS) lineup dropped, and many acts that have traditionally played the mainstay were left off, the idea for Down in Denver took off to give a chance to those without many chances to continue to gain the exposure they need to build an audience.
The diverse lineup will feature a wide range of sounds and genres, from femcore and ambient post-rock to shoegaze and synth-pop. The more traditional sounds of indie-folk and alternative rock will also make an appearance with bands like The Mssng and Zealot. Diversity is at the heart of the Down in Denver festival, as Vincent explained:
“We wanted an interesting variety [of performers], some scene veterans, some folks just starting out, some people you maybe haven’t heard of but should. We have a couple of bands debuting at the festival, and we’re excited about that. We also wanted to make sure we were doing our best to ensure different people were represented – women, the queer community, people of color, etc.”
Located at RiNo’s iconic Larimer Lounge, the festival will begin Saturday, September 4, and go through Labor Day, September 6. To accommodate the impressive lineup of 50 local artists, there will be two stages – the Howl Stage and the Further Stage. Additionally, Larimer Lounge’s newly renovated patio space will be utilized for a classic Labor Day barbecue on Monday while DJs like Funk Hunk and provide the jams for you to celebrate your day off with great food and even better music.
The Down in Denver festival is a true representation of Denver’s inclusive music community. With a diverse range of local artists and a great venue, it’s the perfect way to spend your holiday weekend.
Tickets for each day of the festival are available here. Down in Denver located at 2721 Larimer St, Denver, 80205 will run Saturday, September 4 – 6 from 1 p.m. – midnight Saturday and Sunday and 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday.