Big Sam's Funky Nation has the crowd on its feet at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater's Hot Summer Nights.

Image: Zach Mahone

Concerts By The Creek

Every Wednesday at 6 p.m. throughout summer, families converge on Creekside Park in Beaver Creek Village and gather on a lush green lawn around a bright green gazebo to listen to live folk and old-timey music, simultaneously serenaded by the resort’s namesake water feature. The best part? An on-site playground populated with little ones who redefine the notion of swing music.

When it is:

June 27; July 11, 18, 25; Aug 1, 8

Where it is:

Creekside Park, Beaver Creek Village

What it costs:

Free

Who goes there:

Acoustic-music lovers looking for a laid-back crowd

More info:

beavercreek.com

Vail Summer Bluegrass

Old-timey finger-pickin' finds a home at the tent raised in its honor in Arrabelle Square four Wednesdays throughout the end of June and the month of July in Lionshead Village. Bluegrass bands from around the country jam out to a packed house of après-hikers, with this year’s Fourth of July performance by Horseshoes & Hand Grenades (best enjoyed with a pint of local craft brew by the same name) set to bring down the house.

When it is:

June 27 (River Whyless & Buffalo Commons, 6 p.m.), July 4 (Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, 12:30 p.m.), July 11 (Tyler Childers, 6 p.m.), July 18 (Everyone Orchestra, 6 p.m.)

Where it is:

Arrabelle Square, Lionshead

What it costs:

Free

Who goes there:

Crowds of dancing locals and hikers fresh off the mountain

More information:

vailbluegrass.com

Whistle Pig Vail

The latest addition to the valley’s summer festival lineup? Whistle Pig Vail, a mountain music collaboration between the Vail Valley Foundation and music industry magnate AEG, which, as of press time, is rocking the valley with news of the festival’s first headliner: Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, and a promise of more music to come.

Where it is:

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

When it is/What it costs:

June 16 (Dispatch, 6:30 p.m., $49.50–$85), June 19 (Robert Plant, 8 p.m., $69–$214)

Who goes there:

Young locals and Front Rangers who’ve never been to Bravo! but want to experience the same venue with a rock band instead of a philharmonic orchestra

More information:

grfavail.com/whistlepigvail

And if you’re a gambler ...

After a multi-year hiatus, the Colorado Classic (the Centennial State’s version of the Tour de France) makes a return to Vail (on Aug 16 & 17), and Whistle Pig is planning back-to-back concerts on each night of the event. As of press time, event organizers were mum about who might be providing the entertainment, but it’s a good bet that Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater will be the place to be once the sun sets on the first two stages of America’s toughest road race.

Peter Frampton at the Vilar.

Image: Zach Mahone

Vilar Summer Concert Series

It's been 20 years since Beaver Creek’s Vilar Performing Arts Center opened its cozy 530-seat venue to performers from around the world, and the concert hall is honoring the occasion for six nights (at 8 p.m.) in July and August by booking Grammy-winning talent like Amos Lee, Dwight Yoakam, and the Psychedelic Furs. A perfect refuge to avoid evening Colorado thunderstorms—and soak in some tunes.

When it is/What it costs:

July 6 (Chris Botti, $98), July 26 (Dwight Yoakam, $85–$115), July 28 (Amos Lee, $68–$88), Aug 3 (Tower of Power, $49–$69), Aug 5 (the Psychedelic Furs, $58), Aug 17 (Josh Turner, $68–$98)

Where it is:

Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek

Who goes there:

Glammed-up music lovers looking to spend a night out on the town

More information:

vilarpac.org

And if you want to impress your date ...

Start the evening with a pour of Opus One cab from the mechanized (and temperature-controlled) wine dispenser paired with tapas (especially Devils on Horseback: bacon-wrapped dates and goat cheese in a balsamic reduction) at the Met (themetbc.com). before wandering over to the show.

Hot Summer Nights

on Tuesday nights, the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater shifts musical gears from classical to classic rock and funk, with bands like the Motet and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe—among many, many others—headlining free concerts that, once the pints poured at the concession stand kick in, often evolve into a venue-wide dance party, sometimes including the stage. After the music ends, concertgoers migrate over to Bridge Street, where an after-party jams all night long.

Whether you’re coming from the East or the West (Vail), forgo fighting for a coveted spot in the Vail Village parking structure and cruise the bike path along Gore Creek to the amphitheater (and let the venue’s free, on-site bike concierge handle the parking). You—and your bike—can always hitch a ride back on the bus at the end of the night. 

Where it is:

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

When it is:

Tuesdays (June 26; July 3, 10, 17, 24; Aug 14, 21, 28)

What it costs:

Free

Who goes there:

Young locals and seasonal workers looking to let down their already let-down hair

More info:
vvf.org

And if you’re looking for a free evening concert with a somewhat less-ebullient local crowd ...

Showdown Town, the Town of Eagle’s weekly free summer concert series staged in the bandshell on the great lawn at Eagle Town Park Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m., featuring an eclectic mix of hip-hop, blues, reggae, rock, and funk bands from around the state and across the country (eagleoutside.com); and similar events in Minturn (Thursdays at 6 p.m. at Little Beach Park; minturn.org) and Avon (Avon Live, July 11, 18, 25, 5 p.m.; Aug 1 at 5:30 p.m., at Nottingham Park; avon.org)

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