Might 2021 marks the turning level for concert events, occasions, and festivals in Denver
May always seems to bring good news for the beleaguered arts and culture scene in Denver, which finally has enough stability to see more than a few feet (or months) ahead.
The big operators of venues have increased the number of viewers weekly after a relaxed state and municipal guidance. Some hope to return to full pre-COVID capacities next month. The Red Rocks Amphitheater, which climbs from 6,300 to its typical capacity of 9,500 people on June 21, is the beacon.
Yes, there are vaccinations, changed health rules, and other annoying issues that need to be considered. But can we only acknowledge how beautiful this moment is? City Park Jazz is alive. Levitt Pavilion and Red Rocks are already home to thousands. Ribbon clams and parks fill with dance, opera and theater.
“We’re excited to see the state open up,” said Deborah Jordy, executive director of SCFD, the seven-district tax district that funds hundreds of arts and culture nonprofits. “Cultural organizations in the seven counties are able to involve more of the community in face-to-face events.”
Jordy and her cohorts hope to update their popular day-off calendar soon. For the latest information, see scfd.org/find-culture/free-days. Here’s a curated list of other encouraging cultural news this week, led by reopened venues and recurring (or new) events through September.
Swallow Hill Music
People’s Institution Swallow Hill Music is bringing in-house shows back to its home base (71 E. Yale Ave.) this fall and producing the previously announced “Evenings al Fresco” this summer at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Also encouraging: the return of the Shady Grove Picnic Series, a carefully booked music showcase Four Mile Historic Park (715 S. Forest St.). The park itself is a neat gem with the oldest building in Denver, a working farm, and one of the city’s best Independence Day celebrations. Shady Grove runs through August. After that, most of the Swallow Hill concerts return to the cozy Daniels Hall and Tuft Theater. fourmilepark.org or Swallowhillmusic.org for timetables and tickets.
The butterfly pavilion
Westminster Butterfly pavilion – the world’s first accredited invertebrate zoo – is known for many little things, but its main attraction is Rosie the tarantula, a Chilean visitor from the Atacama Desert. Kids and their freaky parents can pet them again starting May 28th, when the pavilion starts offering discounted ticket packages for Rosie Returns with a Rosie plush toy. (There is no need to petting Rosie, however.) The Butterfly Pavilion is also extending its hours to 9 am-6pm and, although recommended, is dropping reservation requirements from May 28th. 6252 W. 104th Ave. in Westminster. butterflies.org
Lakewood Cultural Center
Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra offers one of the newest and best examples of the hybrid live / virtual concert, with its performance on June 6th at Lakewood Cultural Center. The “Basie, Blues and More!” The program, directed by Art Bouton and Drew Zaremba, will be broadcast live along with a performance in the theater on 470 S. Allison Parkway in Lakewood. Visit lakewood.org/tickets for more events, including the jam-packed center Sounds exciting! Series.
Silverthorne Arts Stroll
The City of Silverthorne yearly Art walk The series will return to the Blue River Trail on June 20, July 25, and August 22, from noon to 3 p.m., city officials said. As with many art walks, it’s all about local artist vendors and fun perks – in this case, live music, food, and drinks. silverthorne.org
The historical 19th Street Bridge Lower Downtown (on 19th Street and Platte Street) was a popular place for free concerts that gather downtown residents and visitors. It returns as an open-air stage Summer sessions in Riverfront Park Series. The free, family-friendly monthly events begin on June 24th and last through September. They provide food, adult drinks, and on-site art exhibits. Visit riverfrontparkevents.com for the unannounced lineup.
Juneteenth Black Pride
Teased a few weeks ago, Denver for the first time Juneteenth Black Pride Events take place next to Five Points’ Juneteenth Music Festival – and just a week before the centre’s Denver Pride 2021 events. Produced by YouthSeenThe free festival, which supports the mental health and safety of LGBTQ youth in color, includes a “Gospel Brunch Drag Show” with original “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Bebe Zahara Benet, a rooftop radio broadcast at The Drop 104.7- FM, the “Strange Fruit of Black Excellence Ball” in the Denver Botanic Gardens, in a quiet disco, on club nights and much more. Detailed information on the events from June 17th to 20th at youngseen.org and blackpridedenver.com.
Boulder International Film Festival
As Denver Film’s sell-out Film on the Rocks franchise demonstrated, beautiful outdoor venues (in their case Red Rocks) make for magical performances. The Boulder International Film FestivalThe event will officially take place from June 24th to 27th in one of these buildings – Boulders Chautauqua Auditorium – with the local premiere of director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s “Summer of Soul” (… or if the revolution could not be televised) . “It’ll be preceded by a green carpet gala, followed by more open-air cinema on the Boulder High football field (takeaway events), a virtual version from June 24th to July 3rd, and limited-capacity indoor shows at Century Theaters. The list is published on biff1.com.
Anythink Backyard Concert Series
Thorntons Anythink Libraries offer free programs year round, but we’re glad they do Backyard concert series, which was forced to go virtual for 2020, remains intact. This year’s free, family-friendly program, which returns to Anythink Wright Farms next month, includes The Reminders (June 11th), SuperMagick (July 9th), and Bison Bone (August 13th). Concerts are also broadcast on Anythink’s Facebook and YouTube accounts. 5877 E. 120th Ave. in Thornton. anythinklibraries.org
Denver Children’s Museum on the Marsico campus
Extended playing times in Denver Children’s Museum on the Marsico campus have been arriving regularly for the past few weeks – now updated to run Wednesday through Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. But perhaps the best news is the addition of Sunday hours starting in June, effectively doubling the popular spot’s weekend capacity. Reservations for sessions from June 2nd to June 13th have been opened this week at mychildsmuseum.org/safer-play
Museum of outdoor art
Greenwood Village Museum of outdoor art will open its newly renovated Marjorie Park with a free, family-friendly celebration from 12pm to 4pm on June 12th. The 2 acre park with more than 40 works of art features ongoing music, arts and fitness events throughout the summer with local foods available for purchase. Registration is required at moaonline.org/events. Regular hours and a new membership program will return soon, officials said. The park is on the north side of Fiddlers Green Amphitheater at 6331 S. Fiddlers Green Circle in Greenwood Village.
Denver pride The organizers had previously announced a limited return in 2021 for June 26th and 27th, with individual “Pride Hubs” being used for the postponed PrideFest in Civic Center Park. But we only recently got details about the Pride 5K on June 26th at Cheeseman Park and the Coors Light-sponsored Virtual Denver Pride Parade (applications at denverpride.org/pridefest/parade). Event Producer The Center on Colfax also features music, food, movies, children’s events, pool parties and more in venues like JCC Denver, Center for Colfax, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, You FilmCenter of Denver Film and Hamburger Mary. New this week: The center has canceled the reservation requirements for all events. Visit denverpride.org for more information.
The ride festival
Tellurides Ride Festival goes the way of other events that have spread their appearances over a few days and several venues. This year’s mountain-friendly lineup includes Warren Haynes, Rival Sons, Citizen Cope, Matt Berninger (of The National), Donavon Frankenreiter, Big Something, Black Pistol Fire, and others. The festival will take place in seven locations in downtown Telluride from July 2-11, according to the organizers. rittfestival.com
A taste of Colorado
Like Denver Pride, 2021 A taste of Colorado will disintegrate into smaller, geographically separated parts for reasons of safety and public comfort. The 38th event this year typically draws hundreds of thousands to the area around Civic Center Park and will focus entirely on Denver food and local artists in various locations around the city center from September 4-6. The Downtown Denver Partnership has given restaurateurs, wall painters, and musicians until June 1 to apply for the event. The schedule and participants will be published at atasteofcolorado.com.
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