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Picture yourself surrounded by the peaks of the Rocky Mountains; a pristine mountain breeze whispers across your skin, and rays from Colorado’s warm summer sunshine engulf you. You stand in the open air, perhaps holding a locally crafted beer or a crisp glass of wine. The music reverberates; sounds authored by the likes of Grammy award-winning country sensation Keith Urban, or the bluesy funk of Colorado’s own Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats.

Summer is the epicenter of Colorado’s festival season! It’s a place where your senses are stimulated by the sights, sounds, tastes and experiences embedded in our beautiful, sundrenched days and warm, star-filled nights. There are plenty of offerings from the city limits to the mountain valleys. And the collective 2017 lineup promises something for everyone: from music and bike enthusiasts to brewers, balloonists and wine connoisseurs … we even tracked down festivals for yogis!
If you’re ready for the freedom that the vibe of summer and outdoor experience brings, you don’t have to miss a beat researching and planning because we’ve done the work for you. We have compiled a list that highlights some of Colorado’s unique festivals scheduled for 2017, and captured exclusive insight from some of the state’s leading festival founders and producers.
So whether you find yourself surrounded by the peaks of Telluride or the lofty cityscape of Denver, you are bound to have a memorable experience.


Jazz Aspen Snowmass
June Experience – Aspen
“The festival that we do at the end of June is how Jazz Aspen started back in 1991,” according to Jim Horowitz, founder and curator of the elite Jazz Aspen Snowmass June and Labor Day Experiences.
The experience features four nights of headline concerts at the Benedict Music Tent in Aspen. In addition, there are multiple shows at the JAS Cafe upstairs at the Aspen Art Museum and downstairs at The Little Nell. They also host nightly complimentary Lawn Parties on the music tent grounds before the main shows, featuring live bands and an upscale array of food and beverage.
June 23 – July 1, 2017

July 1 – August 4, 2017
BRAVO! VAIL Music Festival – Vail
The festival’s 30th season features four of the world’s greatest orchestras, internationally renowned musicians and acclaimed soloists. In the breathtaking setting of the Rocky Mountains, revel in classical masterworks, soulful jazz and electrifying pops programs. Featuring residencies by four returning ensembles: The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Soloists include violinists Joshua Bell, Simone Lamsma, James Ehnes, Gil Shaham and Leonida Kavakos; cellist Steven Isserlis; trumpeter and vocalist Byron Stripling; and pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Yefim Bronfman and Inon Barnatan.

Hot Air Balloon Rodeo – Steamboat Springs
The Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Art in the Park events explore the beauty of artistry and color both on canvas and in the sky. This stunningly visual weekend brings the sleepy offseason to life in Steamboat Springs and is a celebration of summertime.
July 8-9, 2017

Telluride Yoga Festival
This four-day event is a paradise for yogis and features more than 100 different activities including yoga, meditation, music, hiking, dining, SUP yoga and more. Guests have access to more than 50 inspiring and motivating presenters contrasted by the intimate and historic venues throughout the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village.
July 20-23 |

Rockygrass Festival – Lyons
Rockygrass is the second of three events Planet Bluegrass produces annually and serves as a celebration of the town of Lyons’ strength and resilience. Originally held just 10 months after historic 500-year floods devastated the town, it is known today as one of the great traditional bluegrass festivals in the world.
Planet Bluegrass’ Brian Eyster gave us more insight into the history saying, “In 1992, the volunteer-run Rocky Mountain Bluegrass reached out to Planet Bluegrass to keep the festival alive. We found a property in Lyons along the St. Vrain River to host that event and two years later we purchased the property, known today as the Planet Bluegrass Ranch.”
July 28-20, 2017 |

Breckenridge Food & Wine -Breckenridge
Breckenridge’s Main Street Station Plaza transforms into a charming mountainside vineyard each year to host the Food and Wine Festival. Delivering a unique wine-tasting experience, you’ll find an array of varietals created by fine wineries. From the soft and smooth to the unabashedly bold, wine lovers will get more than their fair share of delicious sips.
July 29, 2017

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival – Lyons
Rounding out the three events produced by Planet Bluegrass, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival is dedicated to spending a glorious summer weekend celebrating songs and stories from around the musical and geographic world.
Brian Eyster shared that community is at the heart of the event. “I love to walk through the crowd or the campgrounds and watch this unique spirit of community,” he says. “At our festivals, there is only one single stage. Guests set up their tarps and spend the entire day sharing music, making lasting friendships with their neighbors and reconnecting with friends from past festivals. People aren’t on their phones, they’re very present, connecting with their fellow Festivarians through this communal music experience in this profoundly beautiful place.”
August 18-20, 2017 |

Vail Jazz Party – Vail
The Vail Jazz Party could be considered a maestro ushering in the grand finale of the Vail Jazz Festival and the beautiful Colorado summer season. It serves its patrons a jam-packed lineup with more than 35 headliners, who join together to play in group performances, multi-artist jam sessions, and inspiring multimedia tributes to jazz legends.
Aug 31 – Sep 4, 2017 |

Jazz Aspen Snowmass – Snowmass

Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ Labor Day Experience is nestled in the ethereal setting of Snowmass Village Town Park. This luxurious open-air event is a dance-oriented extravaganza of popular, R&B, rock, funk, blues, world, and soul music. With the spectacular Elk Mountain Range as a backdrop, this three-day experience welcomes to the stage Keith Urban andMaroon Five, among others in 2017.
Event visionary and mastermind Jim Horo-witz disclosed, “The biggest challenges over the years is what it takes to put together a stellar, world-class program of artists. We’ve managed, but clearly that’s the hardest part of what we do. It all flows from there because if the program isn’t good enough, then the people don’t come, or they don’t buy as many tickets.” Summarizing, “That really is our DNA. We are a music presenter, whether it is for 150 people listening to jazz or 10,000 people listening to Stevie Wonder. People are coming to us to hear a great musical performance.”
September 1-4, 2017 |

Telluride Blues & Brews – Telluride
Known as the festival capital of Colorado, Telluride begins to wind down its festival season with Blues & Brews. This celebration of blues, funk, jam bands, indie, rock, gospel and soul performances is paired with some of the best microbreweries in the country.
September 15-17, 2017 |


Opening Night at Central City Opera. Featured in Central City Opera’s 75th anniversary book, “Theatre of Dreams, The Glorious Central City Opera- Celebrating 75 Years.”

Central City Opera 2017 Festival
This acclaimed summer festival features Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, performed in repertory in the historic Central City Opera House, and three one-act operas with limited runs: Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace, Douglas Moore’s Gallantry, and Amy Beach’s Cabildo, performed in smaller venues in Central City. Founded in 1932, Central City Opera is the fifth-oldest professional opera company in the country, renowned for its exquisite world-class productions. Just 35 miles west of Denver in the charming mountain town of Central City, the company owns 28 Victorian-era properties, including the 550-seat jewel box opera house built in 1878. This is a must-see for opera aficionados!

July 8 – August 6, 2017

Greeley Stampede – Greeley
Greeley boasts one of Colorado’s largest and most historic summer festivals and rodeos. Dating back to the 1800’s, Greeley’s Fourth of July celebration keeps the “Yeehaw!” in Colorado’s Western culture.
June 23 – July 4, 2017 |

Global Dance Festival – Denver
Global Dance showcases Colorado’s passion for dance music annually and has grown to become one of the premiere summer music festivals statewide. After spending years at Red Rocks Amphitheater, the dance party expands its boundaries and finds a new home at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in 2017!
July 21-22, 2017 |

Underground Music Showcase (UMS) – Denver
The Denver Post Underground Music Showcase marks its 17th anniversary in 2017. It lays claim as the biggest independent music festival in the Rocky Mountain region and, more importantly, is the premiere showcase for Denver’s incredible local music!
July 27-30, 2017 |

ARISE Music Festival – Loveland
Arise boasts that it is more than a music festival, rather a movement. It is a music, yoga, activism and co-creative camping event located 65 miles north of Denver, at Sunrise Ranch. Now in its fifth year, it is proving its staying power, and this year’s lineup includes headliners Atmosphere and Ani DeFranco.
August 4-7, 2017 |

Velorama – RiNo Arts District, Denver
This three-day biking, food, music, shopping and crafting extravaganza will overtake 12 blocks of the RiNo Art District for a street party that celebrates biking culture in Colorado. Daily family-friendly festivities are offered, making this an all-ages event that promises something for everyone.
August 11-13, 2017 |

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest – Fort Collins
Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a free music festival held in historic downtown Fort Collins. Prominently featuring a Colorado-based lineup, they host a variety of genres, including a one-of-a-kind, family-centered Kids’ Music Adventure.
August 11-13,2017 |

A Taste of Colorado – Denver
One of Denver’s most delicious weekends serves up some of the state’s favorite food. More than 50 Colorado restaurants and food establishments gather in downtown Denver’s streets over Labor Day weekend to give patrons A Taste of Colorado. Combined with six stages playing live music, carnival rides, shopping and much more, this is hands down one of Colorado’s biggest celebrations of the year.
September 1-4, 2017 |

Heavenly Cuisine

in Mountain Dining & Nightlife by

A tour de force at Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa

By Monica Parpal Stockbridge

168 photo by Laurie Smith - Version 2Nestled in the basin of Ranch Creek Valley outside Winter Park, Colorado, Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort and Spa beckons visitors to indulge in a Rocky Mountain retreat. Thriving on a 6,000-acre property, Devil’s Thumb Ranch entices guests to immerse themselves in a rustic yet luxurious experience that, to a city-dweller, feels another world away.

This is especially true in winter, when glistening snow blankets the landscape with breathtaking stillness. Guests come for the world-class cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, a whimsical horse-drawn sleigh ride, or fine accommodations in a lodge or private cabin. And no visitor should miss the opportunity to dine at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, where sustainably focused, locally sourced culinary marvels await.

Step inside the western-chic Main Lodge to find Heck’s, a casual, contemporary ranch-style restaurant. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the space with sunlight, highlighting the grand, hexagonal central fireplace. Outside, a serene patio overlooks expansive views. Heck’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from a diverse menu of hearty local meats, vegetarian dishes, and gluten-free selections.

A short walk away is Ranch House Restaurant & Saloon, a comfortable fine-dining destination set in a 1930’s homestead, where many of the original furnishings still reside. Ranch House Restaurant presents farm-to-table dining and nose-to-tail cuisine at its finest, saturated in Rocky Mountain sensibility. Begin with the House-Cured Charcuterie for Two, with selections like Wagyu liver pâté, duck prosciutto, and elk bresaola. For an entrée, choose from favorites like Rocky Mountain Trout with horseradish potato cakes and crispy pork belly, Elk Filet Mignon with pear-mustard chutney, or a signature cut of ranch-raised Wagyu steak, seared to perfection and served with duck confit fries.

Behind it all is acclaimed Executive Chef Evan Treadwell, whose charismatic and generous demeanor has graced Devil’s Thumb Ranch’s dining program for nearly four years. In all, Treadwell has devoted more than a quarter century to cultivating his culinary career, beginning in California.

“California was the original hotbed of the farm-to-table movement,” Treadwell says. “So I became an expert at that. In fact, I was the crazy guy pulling vegetables out of my garden in the ‘70s.” Treadwell’s innovation and talent have earned him national recognition, including the title of Executive Chef of the AAA, Four Diamond Dolphin Bay Resort in California; Central Coast Magazine’s Iron Chef Award; and Wine Spectator Awards at Devil’s Thumb Ranch every year since 2010.

Accolades aside, Treadwell’s passion is sustainable cooking, which aligns with the ranch’s environmentally conscious operational approach.

“We at Devil’s Thumb Ranch are leaders in the sustainability movement,” he says. “We’re creating a template here, not following one.”

At Devil’s Thumb, Treadwell is pioneering a high-quality dining experience in an environmentally friendly way. He and his team source ingredients that promote the earth’s regeneration, not depletion. They serve food full of vibrant colors and nuanced flavors. And they’re working to build a barn and cattle ranch to raise their own Wagyu beef — the first known resort and restaurant to do so — supporting other Colorado ranchers in the interim. Even the drinking water comes from the owners’ own water supply.

Wagyu Beef Tartare“We are continuing to develop our sustainability aspect, and we are gaining momentum every year,” Treadwell says. “I want to commit the remaining 10 or 15 years of my career to this. It’s that important.”

As that momentum grows, so have other opportunities in Grand County. In August of 2014, Devil’s Thumb Ranch Owners Bob and Suzanne Fanch opened Vasquez Creek Inn and Volario’s restaurant on Main Street in Winter Park. Situated inside a former German guesthouse, the renovated inn and restaurant have a European-style mountain ambience — a perfect place to relax and unwind.

At Volario’s, General Manager Mitchell Fox gracefully runs the front of the house, warmly greeting visitors and hotel guests. Barman Extraordinaire Topher Hartfield leads the cocktail program, serving a variety of classic and creative cocktails alongside an outstanding wine list. Executive Chef Treadwell oversees the menu of hearty Italian cuisine, including sharable Antipasti dishes, Pizzettas, pastas, and savory Secondi Piatti. And Sous Chef Andrew Aghajanian — who began his cooking career 10 years ago under Treadwell’s mentorship — takes a leading role in the kitchen.

Prior to opening Volario’s, Treadwell and Aghajanian traveled to northern Italy to explore traditional Italian cooking techniques and bring them back to Winter Park. The result: simply-prepared dishes bursting with complex flavors, like the Bruschetta with housemade pork sausage and stracchino cheese. “This is a recipe I learned in a home kitchen in Italy, and refined for the restaurant dining room at Volario’s,” Aghajanian says.DTR_Rest_Bar

The combination of culinary training and Italian tradition provides the foundation for many of Volario’s most popular dishes, such as the Pasta Antica. This hearty eggless pasta is made with breadcrumbs instead of flour, and Aghajanian crowns the dish with a sous vide egg. “I love to use Old-World techniques and recipes, adding a modern twist or my own whimsical style,” he says.

“We wanted to use slow food techniques and preserve trends of pasta, gnocchi and aging meats that we learned while abroad,” Treadwell adds. “Our mission is to emulate our travels in Italy, bringing bright and savory flavors to Winter Park.”

Both chefs love to cook in the winter, and this season is the perfect time to plan a visit. With hearty stews, braised meats and root vegetables prepared with authentic Italian techniques, this new restaurant truly has global appeal.

“I love the altitude and the seasons here,” Treadwell adds. “And this year, I’m very much looking forward to winter.”

With this caliber of culinary talent right in their own backyard, Denver locals certainly are, too.

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