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Vail’s idyllic powder-packed winters—you may have heard tell of those. But as the white stuff melts and wildflowers burst forth, the Vail Valley’s cultural scene blossoms along with them, bringing world-class entertainment to our backyard. »

The Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, the area’s warm-weather cultural pioneer, launches its 23rd season with no less an artist than internationally renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma. His visit marks just the beginning of an inspiring month of classical airs including performances by such stalwart ensembles as the Dallas Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, each of which holds a summer residency in the valley. The Bravo! season is punctuated with performances by more than 40 internationally renowned soloists and chamber musicians. At Beaver Creek, the Vilar Center for the Performing Arts hits its own high notes with performances by Grammy winners Natalie Cole, Randy Travis, Herbie Hancock, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Jonny Lang, along with a variety of other entertaining attractions.

In late July and early August, the Vail International Dance Festival takes the stage at the Ford Amphitheater with the Pacific Northwest Ballet and a variety of other top companies and dancers from around the world, beginning with a performance by celebrated tap artist Savion Glover. For more information and a complete schedule, see our feature on the contributions of the festival’s artistic director, New York City Ballet veteran Damian Woetzel.

The summer arts season comes to an end with Labor Day Weekend’s Vail Jazz Festival and its roster of contemporary stars, who jam for four days at the Marriott Resort & Spa in Lionshead. Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and guitarist Bobby Broom help headline a series of gigs that may make you wish—the promise of ski season notwithstanding—that summers in the Vail Valley never had to end.

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