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Summer Living Is Easy With Free/Low-Cost Concerts And Films | Print |  E-mail

By Don Preziosi

Enjoying the multitude of entertainment options summer presents does not need to strip your wallet down to the fibers from whence it came.


CAROLYN WONDERLAND'S FAN BASE INCLUDES BOB DYLAN AND ASLEEP AT THE WHEELS' Ray Benson among many others. The mutli-instrumentalist (guitar, lapsteel, mandolin, trumpet), genre-bending blues belter joins six other bands at Blues & Brews on South Pearl Street, Aug. 9.

Whether traveling solo, with friends or with a brood in tow, you can let the good times roll and still have a few bucks left for some food and drink to replenish for the next event.

From Four Mile Park’s Shady Grove to the stunning grandeur of Red Rocks, from S. Pearl St. to Stapleton, youngsters, oldsters and those edging in either direction can partake in a panoply of free and low-cost music and films awaiting your attendance all summer long.

So pack up your buds and a bite to eat, and brace yourself for another season of summer fun in the Mile High City.

South Pearl Street

2014 Summer Music Festivals

in the 1200 block of S. Pearl St.

     For the eighth consecutive year, the merchants of South Pearl Street invite blues and bluegrass lovers near and far to sample an impressive roster of “tasty bands and full bodied music” at a pair of concerts to be held in the cozy confines of the 1200 block of S. Pearl St., between Buchtel Blvd. and Louisiana Ave. (Simplify parking, and minimize your footprint on the surrounding neighborhoods: take light rail, walk, or ride your bike. And bring a chair!)

     The season kicks off on Sat., June 14, luring bluegrass aficionados to the area for BrewGrass, a mixture of hot licks and cold beers presenting Colorado in a fine light in both categories. Then, on Sat., Aug. 9, all sectors of the blues spectrum will be represented as Blues & Brews brings another strong musical lineup to the South Pearl stage.

     Concerts run from noon-10p.m., and welcome all members of your tribe (but no pooches, please). This year’s admission charge is a still affordable $5. Once inside, you’ll have the chance to purchase a variety of microbrew beers as well as some downright tasty festival eats. All shows will take place rain or shine.

     For information, visit SouthPearlStreet.com.

June 14



Packway Handle Band • White Water Ramble

Miner • Milk Drive

Finnders & Youngberg • Acoustic Mining Company

August 9

Blues & Brews

Bob Margolin Band • Carolyn Wonderland

Young Ancients • Erica Brown & The Frails

Lionel Young Band • Eef & The Blues Express

The Roustabouts

Southwest Movies

Skyline Park, Arapahoe St. at 16th St. Mall

     Thanks to Southwest Airlines, you can spend a pleasant summer eve engrossed in eight family-friendly flicks, screened Saturdays at dusk at Skyline Park, downtown on Arapahoe St. at the 16th St. Mall. Admission is FREE, lawn chairs, blankets and picnic treats are welcome, as are leashed, well-behaved canines. Allow some time to noodle around downtown to see what’s cooking before settling into a relaxing movie night. Info: visit denver.org/things-to-do/denver-holiday-events.

June 21, Saving Mr. Banks • June 28, Finding Nemo

July 5, Frozen • July 12, Monsters University

July 19, Father of the Bride • July 26, Fly Away Home

Aug. 2, Gravity • Aug. 9, Man of Steel

Bike-in Movies

Civic Center Park, Colfax & Broadway

     Cruise into the Bike-In Movie Series in Civic Center Park; a couple of free outdoor flicks were confirmed at press time, with a few more hopefully in the offing. Bike racks are provided, but the evenings are open to those utilizing any form of transport; moviegoers will be wow’ed with a 40-foot screen and on-site gourmet food trucks (or bring your own gourmet feast) – films begin at dusk. The series is produced by the Civic Center Conservancy and Denver Parks and Recreation. Info/up-to-date schedule: civiccenterconservancy.org.

Thur., July 24, American Flyers • Fri., Sept. 5, Office Space


District 10 Summertunes

Fillmore Plaza • Cherry Creek North

     Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, in conjunction with the Cherry Creek North Business Improvement District, Swallow Hill Music and other fine sponsors will host several welcoming events on Fillmore Plaza between 1st and 2nd Ave., through the summer months. Bring your chair and a blanket, plus snack if you’re concerned about a blood sugar plunge. All are free; info: email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 720-337-7710.

     June 15 • noon-3p.m.

Ice Cream Social & Colorado Symphony Ensemble Concert

(plus face painting & balloon animals for kids)

July 13 • 7p.m.

Trout Steak Revival (bluegrass)

Aug. 10 • Dusk

Film on Fillmore • Pitch Perfect



Levitt Pavilion Denver

Ruby Hill Park • W. Florida Ave. at S. Platte River Dr.

     A unique partnership between the City and County of Denver and the national nonprofit Levitt Pavilions, Levitt Pavilion Denver (construction will begin next year) will be Denver’s next great outdoor concert venue. Beginning in 2016, Levitt Pavilion Denver will provide 50 free concerts a year featuring local, national and international musicians, emphasizing creative and diverse programming. With its location in the long-undervalued Ruby Hill Park, the new venue will become the seventh Levitt Pavilion, joining cities such as Pasadena, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Arlington. Each year, Friends of Levitt Pavilion Denver (FLPD) will produce 50 free concerts ranging from acclaimed, emerging talent to seasoned, award-winning artists.

     To introduce Denver residents to the Levitt program, Friends of Levitt Pavilion will host a pair of events the first week of July – one as a fundraiser, the other being the first free community concert under the Levitt Denver banner. For details on either event, visit levittdenver.org or call 303-578-0488.


July 1 • 5-9p.m.

Sounds of Levitt: Gala At Ruby Hill Park



Alpha Schoolmarm Orchestra • Ark Life

(tickets from $150 include dinner and cocktails

– visit levittdenver.org/sounds for details)


July 2 • 6:30-9p.m.

Free Community Concert



Playing For Change

(pre-concert drum circle for all ages)

University of Denver Family Summer Concert Series

     Join the fun as University of Denver celebrates its sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) with a series of free, open-air concerts. Bring your blankets, lawn chairs, picnic, family and friends to enjoy a sultry summer evening on the stunning University of Denver campus. Concerts held Sundays and Thursdays on the Campus Green, between Evans Ave. and Asbury Ave., just south of the Ritchie Center athletic complex. Info: du.edu

Stage Concerts

July 24 • Pan Nation Steel Orchestra • Aug. 14 • Denver Municipal Band

Aug. 21 • City Sky (bluegrass) • Aug. 28 • Jason Klobnak Quintet (jazz)

Lamont School of Music Summer Carillon Recital Series

     This unusual summer series highlights the 65-bell Williams Carillon located in the golden spire of the Ritchie Center athletic complex, at the southwest corner of Buchtel and University Blvd. Cast in 1999 by Royal Eijsbouts Bellfoundry in The Netherlands, it’s the eighth largest carillon in North America by number of bells. Carillonneurs hailing from Chicago to California will bring their substantial talent to DU’s bells. The best listening space is the courtyard at the south end of the Ritchie Center. All the free recitals take place Sunday evenings at 7p.m., and will be played rain or shine. Sit in the bleachers, or bring a chair, a picnic supper and enjoy! Info: Lamont Concert Line, 303-871-6412.

June 22 • Jeremy Chesman (Springfield, Missouri)

July 6 • Carolyn Bolden (Denver, Colorado)

July 20 • Hunter Chase (Chicago, Illinois)

Aug. 3 • Brian Tang (Berkeley, California)

Aug. 17 • Carol Jickling Lens (University of Denver)

Stapleton Under The Stars

Film & Concert Series

Founders Green Amphitheatre, E. 29th Ave. at Stapleton Town Center

     Founders Green comes alive throughout the summer months with a Concert Series spotlighting top-notch local musicians on Saturdays starting at 6p.m.; Movie Nights on Fridays beginning at dark; and live theatrical performances each month throughout the season. Admission is free to the general public. Grab a blanket or chairs, some sustenance for your clan, and head over to 29th Ave. & Quebec St. on The Green. No reservations necessary. Information: stapletoncommunity.com.

Live Music

June 21 • Hazel Miller Band • July 5 • Under A Blood Red Sky

July 19, Beer Festival & Concert

featuring Matt Nasi Band &  The Austin Young Band

Aug. 2 • Jeff Brinkman BandAug. 23 •Dotsero

Theater Series

June 6-7 (7p.m.) & June 8 (4p.m.) • Aurora Fox presents: Drowsy Chaperone

July 11-12 (7p.m.)The Three Leaches presents: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Aug. 14-16 (7p.m.) • Colorado Shakespeare Festival presents: The Tempest

Movie Nights

June 13, Despicable Me 2 • June 27, Gravity

July 25, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Aug. 8, The Butler • Aug. 29, Frozen

City Park Jazz

Bandstand by City Park Pavilion on Ferril Lake, E. 17th Ave. & Steele St.

      City Park Jazz heads into its 28th season with a great lineup of free Sunday concerts in the park. Spanning 10 weeks across June, July and August, the collection of local musicians in this year’s roster crosses cultures, styles and genres in a way that reflects Denver’s rich musical and cultural diversity. More than a quarter century ago, a small group of neighbors thought it would be great to bring neighborhood folks together for an evening of family, friends, music and community fellowship. CPJ continues to be organized and managed by volunteers.

     Rain or shine, all shows are held at the City Park Bandstand, 6-8p.m. Concert-goers are encouraged to bring a blanket and picnic – no glass bottles allowed – and food trucks will be on site with good eats for sale. Nonmotorized and public transport take pressure off the surrounding neighborhoods (the park is closed to vehicles on Sundays, and BikeDenver provides safe storage during concerts; bring your own lock).The Museum of Nature & Science garage and parking lots are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Info: visit cityparkjazz.org or call the hotline at 303-744-1004.

June 1 • Hazel Miller Band • June 8 • Lynn Baker Quartet

June 15 • Ritmo Jazz LatinoJune 22 • Tribute to Freddie Rodriguez

June 29 • Gumbo Le FunqueJuly 6 •SuCh

July 13 • Dave Watts Ensemble of Deepness • July 20 • Dexter Payne Quintet

July 27 • Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band featuring Erica Brown & Merrian Johnson

Aug. 3 • Chris Daniels & The Kings w/Freddi Gowdy


A BLANKET, A PICNIC, A WARM SUMMER NIGHT AND FREE MOVIES UNDER THE STARS. Can life get any better? From Skyline Park to Stapleton, from Cherry Creek to Red Rocks, there’s plenty to choose from for all ages. Above: Monsters University, showing July 12 at Skyline Park.

The Coors Light South Platte RiverFest

Confluence Park – 15th St. & Little Raven – LoDo

     Denver’s premier urban RiverFest, set for Sat.-Sun., June 28-29 at Confluence Park will include free stand-up paddleboard lessons and demos, rafting, yoga, kayaking, tubing, free music all day, a water stewardship expo area, chances to meet professional stand-up paddleboarders, a world-class beer garden, lavish festival eats and drinks and more. And you can leave your car at home – just stroll or roll into Confluence Park via the Cherry Creek or Platte River bike paths.

     RiverFest benefits The Greenway Foundation, a non-profit organization working for  more than four decades to reclaim, restore and revitalize the South Platte River and its tributaries in Denver and adjacent towns. These efforts have led to the construction of over 100 acres of riverside parks, 100+ miles of interconnected greenway trails, and the elimination of over 250 sources of direct pollution into our urban waterways.

     RiverFest is sponsored by Coors Light, REI, Confluence Kayaks, and Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan. Information: visit greenwayfoundation.org or call 303-455-7109.

Saturday, June 28

Noon, The Royal Aces • 2p.m., Selasee & the Fafa Family

4p.m., The Belle Jar • 6p.m., Rob Drabkin • 8p.m., Oakhurst

Sunday, June 29

Noon, Zen Mustache • 2p.m., Hazardous Matthew

4p.m., Chadzilla and the Asteroids

Denver Municipal Band

Free Parks Concerts

     Denver Municipal Band, our city’s longest-running musical organization, returns for its 121st season of free musical performances. Under the direction of Gerald Endsley, the band will mix performances by the full 40-piece Concert Band with the smaller DMB Jazz Band, Brass Quintet and other ensembles.

     Due to new Denver Parks and Recreation permitting procedures, the full DMB schedule was not available at press time. Other concerts in Washington Park, 715 S. Franklin St., all on Sundays at 7:30p.m., are confirmed for July 13, 20 & 27, and Aug. 3 & 10; programs TBA. For a complete and up-to-date recorded schedule, call 303-322-8608 or visit dmamusic.org/dmb.

July 4          11a.m.           Washington Park Boathouse, 715 S. Franklin St. • DMB Brass

July 4        7:30p.m.       Washington Park, 715 S. Franklin St. • Concert Band

                                 4th of July Patriotic Festival

Shady Grove Picnic Concerts

Sponsored by Swallow Hill Music

Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St.

    Swallow Hill’s 2014 Wednesday evening series will fill the Shady Grove with folk, bluegrass, blues, rockabilly, Middle Eastern and country music, with historic Four Mile Park built in 1859, providing a perfect backdrop for an early evening picnic in the fresh summer air (no glass containers or pets, please). For details on individual performers and general Swallow Hill info, call 303-777-1003 or visit swallowhillmusic.org. All shows begin at 6:30p.m. Walk-up tickets only: $7 for Swallow Hill members/seniors, $10/nonmembers; $2/children under 12. Bike over to Four Mile – and you’ll receive member pricing for admission throughout the 2014 season.

June 11 • Clay Kirkland/Al Chesis & the Delta Sonics

June 18 • Jonny Barber & The Rhythm Razors

June 25 • Katie Glassman & Snapshot

July 2 • Jeff Scroggins & Mara LevineJuly 9 • Tallgrass

July 16 • Wendy Woo & Rebecca FolsomJuly 23 • Rocky Mountain Jewgrass

July 30 • Harry Tuft & Dick Weissman • Aug. 6 • Giddyup Kitty

Aug.13 • Marrakech Express • Aug. 20 • Southern Exposure

Denver Concert Band

Free Parks Concerts

     The Denver Concert Band is a group of 90 volunteer musicians who have an undeniable love for music, and an eclectic sound ranging from jazzy Sinatra stylings and Mozart concertos to a rousing march or even bluegrass rave-ups. Audiences know they should expect something new and different every concert, which makes DCB performances fun for everyone. For a full schedule, visit denverconcertband.org. Free, unless noted.

July 4     noon                 Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St.

                                    (fee for Four Mile Park admission; concert is free)

July 19   6p.m.                 Clement Park, W. Bowles Ave. at S. Long St.

                                    Denver Municipal Band Wind Festival

Sept. 7   4p.m.                 Washington Park, E. Mississippi Ave. at S. Franklin St.

                                    The Goddard School Children’s Concert


Independence Eve Concert & Fireworks

Civic Center Park, Colfax & Broadway

     The 5th annual Independence Eve Celebration, Thur., July 3, 8p.m., highlights a free patriotic concert featuring MIX – CU Denver’s award-winning a capella group; The Hazel Miller Band; and the Denver Municipal Band; an inventive light show illuminating the City & County Building; and a stunning fireworks finale. Lawn seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis; blankets or low-rise concert/beach chairs are encouraged. Attendees are welcome to bring picnics; concessions will also be present on-site. Civic Center is easily accessible by light rail, bus, bicycle or the 16th Street free MallRide, and use of public transportation is encouraged. Parking is available at nearby surface lots and parking garages.

     Produced by the Civic Center Conservancy and City and County of Denver, the 2014 Independence Eve Celebration, presented by Anadarko, is made possible by: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Denver Arts & Venues, VISIT DENVER and other sponsors.

     Info:civiccenterconservancy.org or call 303-861-4633.

Lowry Wine Walk & Concerts

Lowry Town Center, 2nd Ave. and Quebec St.

        These events are presented by the Lowry Town Center Merchants Association and the Lowry Community Master Association. For information, visit lowrydenver.com.

June 7, 6-10p.m. Wine Walk & Concert featuring Funkiphino

(wine walk 6-8p.m. – $20 – concert is free, 7-10p.m.)

July 18, 5:30-9p.m. Concert In The Park featuring the 17th Avenue Allstars

(free ice cream and kids fun)

Mondays At Infinity Park

Infinity Park, S. Cherry St. at E. Kentucky Ave., Glendale

     The Village of Glendale has created a first class athletic/entertainment venue in the heart of their little kingdom just east of Colorado Blvd. Monday Movie Madness is back, showing six family classics, old and new, on the rugby stadium big screen. New this year, Infinity Park has partnered with Brigand Pictures to add an Independent Filmmaker Short Film Contest, with the six finalists’ short films showcased immediately prior to each Monday Movie, starting at 7:45p.m. Grab the kids, a picnic, blankets and chairs, and enjoy a warm evening under the stars. Admission is free; movies begin at 8p.m. (gates open 7p.m.); and alcohol and pets are off limits. Info: infinityparkatglendale.com.

June 9, Frozen • June 23, The LEGO Movie

July 7, Big • July 21, Mary Poppins

Aug. 4, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactoryAug. 18, The Princess Bride

Film On The Rocks

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison

     There may be a more impressive venue for music and movies under the stars, but we don’t know where that would be. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket and dress for the vagaries of summer nights in the foothills. Doors open at 6:30p.m. with music at 7p.m.; movies start at dusk. Tickets are $12.25 general admission (higher on show day) and can be purchased from Denver Film Society at denverfilm.org or at Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax Ave. Day-of-show tickets – if available – will be sold at Red Rocks box office. VIP packages ($37 and up) include transportation and close-in seating.

June 10, Fight Club (bands: Flashbulb Fires, FaceMan)

June 16, Labyrinth (bands: Grizfolk, Total Ghost)

June 24, This is Spinal Tap (band: School of Rock USA)

July 1, The Fast and The Furious (band: The Yawpers, Native Daughters)

July 8, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

(bands: Boy & Bear, Inner Oceans)

July 29, Pitch Perfect (bands: Tracksuit Wedding, The Messers)

Aug. 25, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (bands: Chimney Choir, Jesse Manley

Sept. 2, Big Lebowski (bands: The Congress, Tyler Lee Holter)

Yoga Rocks The Park

Sunken Gardens Park, Bannock St. at W. 9th Ave.

     Yoga Rocks the Park – which started in Denver seven years back and has spread to 20 U.S. communities – brings live music and yoga to Sunken Gardens Park, 9a.m.-noon, select Sundays through Sept. 28. Registration opens at 9a.m. for the 75-minute all-levels yoga flow class (with live music/DJ – beginners WELCOME) starting 9:30a.m. Yoga Rocks, led by different instructors each session, tops off each gathering with a Wellness Vendor Village; it’s a great way to learn about and support local businesses and community wellness innovators. Camp YRP, an interactive kids yoga program for ages 3-10 (starts a few minutes before 9:30 adult class, and ends a few minutes after the blessed savasana!) allows parents grown-up time to devote to their practice. Camp is led by skilled children’s yoga instructors. Face painting, hula hooping, free snacks and other surprises are in store for kids this summer, along with a headstart on a lifelong yoga practice. Adult tickets cost $15 per session in advance, and $20 on event day; kids tickets are $10, or two for $14 for families with multiple young yogis. Tickets available at yogarocksthepark.com/denver.

June 8 • Heather Lindemann & Tracey Lanham (music: DJ Solomoon)

June 22 • Laura Wade Jaster & Sarah Russell (music: DJ Sundragon)

June 29 • Angie Arnold & Sara Cook (band: Shaman’s Dream)

Aug. 17 • Christen Bakken & Katy Rowe (band: Luke Williams)

Aug. 24 • Jackie Casal, Kylie Larson & Channing Grivas (band: Roger Pressman)

Sept. 7 • Free Day, Lisa Richards (music: DJ Orpheus)

Sept. 21 • Patrick Harrington (band: Kofi Togo Company)

Sept. 28 • Gina Caputo (music: DJ Drez)

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