While it’s true that winter is thought of as the leading lady of Colorado attractions, summer in this state ain’t too shabby! Of course there are “the usual suspects” (hiking, biking, rafting, camping, the list goes on!) to take part in during the warm, sunny, summer months, but if you dig a bit deeper you’ll see that Colorado has an extremely rich cultural scene, as well. There are loads of music festivals within a short drive from the Denver metro area that are “not-to-be-missed” opportunities for the entire family. Here are a few of our favorite music festivals to visit this summer that boast world-class musicians in kid-approved settings with something to offer every member of the family!
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1- Bravo! Vail. Just a couple hours from Denver, the Bravo! Vail music festival brings in three of the nation’s top symphony orchestras–the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic–plus countless chamber musicians and soloists to turn the Vail Valley into a classical music haven for the summer. In addition to orchestra concerts held at the breathtaking Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (to which kids 3 and under get in free and kids ages 3-12 get in for $5 on the lawn!) and chamber music performances peppered around different venues throughout the Valley, the festival offers a ton of free events that are perfect for kids of all ages. Visit their website to check out the entire summer line up, beginning July 1st.
2- Inside the Orchestra. With a rich 50+ year history of educating and engaging the Denver community in the wonders of orchestral performance, Inside the Orchestra is an experience that is not to be missed. They host concerts and events year round geared toward Tiny Tots and families of all sizes and ages alike. The real excitement of an Inside the Orchestra performance, is how you get to experience it–concert-goers are seated on the ground with the orchestra members surrounding them in a circle. So you are quite literally surrounded with sound! Visit their website to see all of their upcoming events.
3- Aspen Music Festival. This world-renowned music festival has a calendar full of the most revered classical musicians, as well as the best and brightest, up-and-coming young musicians who study throughout the summer at the Festival’s music school. In addition to orchestral and chamber music performances around Aspen (only $5 for kids!), you will also see student musicians scattered around the town, playing free music on the streets for all to enjoy. For more information about the Festival’s family-friendly Festival for Kids events, as well as the entire summer calendar (beginning July 2nd), visit the Aspen Music Festival & School’s website.
4- City Park Jazz. For almost 30 summers, City Park Jazz has been hosting free jazz concerts in Denver’s City Park and celebrating our wonderful vibrant community at the same time! City Park Jazz concerts take place every Sunday evening for 10 weeks out of the summer. Bring a blanket and picnic and be prepared to arrive early and stay late! These jazz concerts truly define Denver summers for our family, and thousands of other Denverites, as well!
5- Colorado Music Festival. Both festival & music school, the Colorado Music Festival & Center for Musical Arts, hosts concerts in and around Boulder all summer long. The Festival brings in musicians from around the world to perform alongside their resident orchestra and offers a ton of student recitals and ensembles for concertgoers to enjoy, as well. There are also a handful of family-friendly concerts and events programmed specifically to engage young and old alike. Be sure to visit the Colorado Music Festival website to learn more about their concerts and events, as well as their amazing educational opportunities for budding musicians of all skill levels! The 2015 Summer Season begins June 26.
6- Swallow Hill Music. For almost 40 years, Swallow Hill Music has been contributing to the music scene in Denver and beyond through performances and instruction alike. They boast an impressive list of music classes for all ages as well as produce a vast array of concerts throughout the year. Of course, summer is when they really pull out all the stops. You can catch Swallow Hill-presented concerts on South Pearl Street at the Denver Botanic Gardens Four Mile Park the Clyfford Still Museum, Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities, and more! And once you’ve been inspired by the musicians they bring to the stage, you can sign up to take music lessons at one of their several locations around the metro area. And why not bring the Swallow Hill Instrument Petting Zoo to your next summer BBQ or block party?! Visit their website to learn more about this Denver music institution and how you can get involved!