Colorado’s Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley hills are literally alive with the sound of music this summer with more than 125 musical performances scheduled and unique music and hiking and music and dining packages available. For much of the summer, there are concert series six nights a week.
With 44 events offered by Crested Butte Music Festival, 27 bluegrass and country western concerts at I-Bar Ranch in Gunnison and 54 free outdoor performances through weekly concert series in Gunnison, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, there are options for all ages and musical tastes. Plus, there are numerous opportunities to enjoy live music during several festivals and at Crested Butte Center for the Arts throughout the summer and fall.
Crested Butte Music Festival
The 2013 Crested Butte Music Festival (CBMF) will feature more than 160 performers in concert halls, churches and stunning mountain homes and on outdoor stages in Crested Butte and Gunnison from June 30 – Aug. 11. Over the six weeks, top-notch performances will be offered in a wide variety of genres from opera and symphony to bluegrass and gypsy jazz. There are several concerts and educational opportunities to involve kids throughout. Visit www.crestedbuttemusicfestival.com to review a full schedule and to purchase tickets. For more information, call (970) 349-0619.
• The first week is filled with Americana including an American Songbook performance by Ron Earl & friends on June 30, a free outdoor patriotic concert by Boston Brass on July 4, and Bluegrass In Paradise from July 1 – 7 that includes a Kids Camp, 10 bands performing on the weekend, and free bluegrass workshops.
• Benjamin Wallfisch will conduct the Festival Symphony Orchestra during the popular Have a Beer with Beethoven on July 11, “An Evening of Mozart and Mendelssohn” with special guest pianist Alexander Schimpf on July 14, and the Celebration fundraiser in conjunction with an aerial show by Eight Count Entertainment on July 20.
• Opera In Paradise runs from July 16 – 29, including Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” presented July 24, 25, 27 and 28 with performers from The Metropolitan Opera and throughout the country conducted by David Stern. There also will be several performances by the festival’s Marcello Giordani’s Young Artist Program and the Children’s Opera Chorus and a special appearance by tenor Marcello Giordani.
• Gypsy Jazz In Paradise has expanded to three days this year, Aug. 9 – 11, with Ben Powell as host. International String Trio, The Gonzalo Bergara Quartet and The New Hot Club of America are featured guests for events such as concerts, a brunch and workshops.
• Six home soirées, offering the ultimate in intimate performances in beautiful mountain homes, will feature American String Quartet, opera performers led by Met bass-baritone and Festival Opera Director Keith Miller, Two Man Gentleman Band, The Junior Mance Trio, Takács Quartet and Marcello Giordani.
• The free Divine Family Young People’s Concerts series on four Saturday mornings will have kids asking for more with Jambo on July 13, Keith Munslow on July 20, the children’s version of “Pirates of Penzance” on July 27, and Story Pirates on Aug. 3.
I Bar Ranch Concerts – Gunny Grass, Bluegrass Tuesdays, Country Western Thursdays
Located east of Gunnison, the picturesque I Bar Ranch returns to the scene this summer as a concert venue for a new bluegrass festival and Tuesday and Thursday night concert series.
Gunnison has long ﬂirted with the idea of hosting a bluegrass festival and now it’s happening with Gunny Grass on June 28 – 29. The Friday evening lineup runs from 5:30 – 11:15 p.m. and features Stray Grass, Simpler Times Bluegrass, White Water Ramble and a local act to be announced in the near future. Saturday launches with a gospel set at 10 a.m. followed by instrument contests and workshops for guitar, mandolin, fiddle and banjo from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Concerts begin at 12:30 p.m. and run until 11 p.m. with New Folk, Lost Nation, Bruce Hayes & the Ragged Mountain Ramblers, John Stickley Trio, Blue Canyon Boys, The Grant Farm on tap.
Gunny Grass is family friendly with activities such as kids’ music camp classes, a square dance and arts and crafts booths. There are various pass options available, and children ages 11 and under are admitted free but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Camping and food vendors will be available on-site, and a bluegrass express bus will run between I Bar Ranch and downtown Gunnison.
Bluegrass also will be the focus on Tuesday nights with Burgers and Bluegrass Summer Concert Series that runs from June 11 – July 30. Simpler Times Bluegrass, Bruce Hayes & The Ragged Mountain Ramblers, Rapidgrass Quintet, Jenny Hill & New Folk, 18 Mile Radius, Mahogany Splinters and Frontcountry are among the bands on the schedule. Gates open at 5 p.m. and concerts run until 10 p.m. Local Parker Pastures burgers and other grilled items and beverages will be available for purchase.
Thursday nights will be devoted to a Classic Country Music Series, a nod to the area’s rich Western heritage and running from June 20 – Aug. 15. The lineup includes Bob Livingston, Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, Michael Martin Murphy, Michael Hearne & South By Southwest, Mike Blakely, The Bellamy Brothers and Dean Dillon. Gates will open at 5 p.m. with a cash bar followed by a traditional barbecue dinner served by the local 5B’s BBQ at 6:30 p.m. and music at 7:30 p.m.
For more information and to purchase tickets for all of these events, visit www.ibarranch.com.
Free Outdoor Concerts
Great bands from around the country, mountain backdrops and laid-back, family friendly atmospheres provide the foundation for outdoor concert series on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings in Gunnison, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte this summer. Check the websites listed for concert lineups.
Fridays @ 5 & Sundays @ 6 , Gunnison
Kick off the weekend right with live music every week in the Gunnison Arts Center’s outdoor courtyard on Fridays at 5 p.m. The series runs from June 7 – Sept. 6, with seating provided.
Sundays @ 6 is scheduled for June 2 – Aug. 25 at Legion Park, where concertgoers can enjoy cool summer evenings and outstanding music by local and visiting musicians at 6 p.m. Bring picnics, lawn chairs and blankets. For information, call (970) 641-4029 or visit www.gunnisonartscenter.org.
Alpenglow, Crested Butte
Every Monday evening at 5:30 p.m., from June 24 – Aug. 12, locals and visitors of all ages will convene on the lawn of Town Park to enjoy the talents of top-notch entertainers performing on Crested Butte Center for the Arts’ outdoor stage. Some picnic with gourmet spreads and others kick off their shoes and dance the day down. Pack a picnic or buy tasty treats onsite and bring lawn chairs. Visit www.crestedbuttearts.org or call (970) 349-7487 for more information about this 20th annual series.
Live! From Mt. Crested Butte
There is an upbeat tune to Wednesday evenings from July 10 – Aug. 28 at Live! From Mt. Crested Butte, which runs from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Presented by the Mt. Crested Butte Town Center Community Association, the series is held at the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort ski area on the Red Lady Stage and surrounding lawn. Visit www.livefrommtcb.com as summer draws near for details or call (970) 349-2217.
Pedal n’ Groove, Mt. Crested Butte
Twilight chairlift tickets are free at Crested Butte Mountain Resort on Friday nights for Pedal n’ Groove from June 21 – Aug. 30. From 4:30 to 7:00 p.m., riders can board the lift and check out Evolution Bike Park trails and hikers or sightseers can take a ride to the top. Local bands will perform on Elevation Hotel & Spa’s 9380 deck, where food and drink specials will be available. For more information, go to www.skicb.com.
The Town of Mt. Crested Butte is offering free tent camping for Crested Butte Music Festival’s Bluegrass In Paradise starting July 5 at 5 p.m. with checkout by 10 a.m. on July 8. Potable water, port-a-potties, a community fire ring and free transportation to and from the concert venue only five minutes away will be available. Concert-goers should reserve space online at www.bluegrassinparadise.com.
One of the best wildflower hikes in the state, the West Maroon Pass route from Aspen to Crested Butte, is being combined with gypsy jazz for an Aug. 9 – 11 package offered by Crested Butte Music Festival (CBMF). Aspen to Crested Butte Hike/Gypsy Jazz In Paradise includes a 11-mile moderate hike over West Maroon Pass led by Colorado Backcountry, shuttle from the trailhead to the newly renovated Nordic Inn in Mt. Crested Butte for a two-night stay, a concert by The Gonzalo Bergara Quartet on Saturday evening, a chairlift ride and brunch at the mid-mountain Uley’s Cabin featuring a performance by New Hot Club of America, and transportation back to Aspen. The cost is $525 per person, based on double occupancy. A minimum of six participants and maximum of nine is required. For more information, visit www.crestedbuttemusicfestival.com or call CBMF’s ticket office at (970) 349-0619 or the Nordic Inn at (800) 542-7669.
Combine a great concert with mouthwatering barbecue and a chance to meet Richie Furay during Crested Butte Center for the Arts’ Tour de Forks on July 3. Richie Furay served as the formidable writer, guitarist and vocalist of the pivotal rock group Buffalo Springfield. Buffalo Springfield fans will recognize familiar tunes, and Furay’s own songs such as “Kind Woman” and “A Good Feeling to Know” continue to be some of the most recorded in classic rock. Purchase a VIP ticket for $150 that includes the dinner at a private mountain home, meet and greet, and concert. General admission to the 7 p.m. concert is $40. Go to www.crestedbuttearts.org or call (970) 349-7487.
Vacation Packages & Visitor Information
To save on flights, hotel rooms, vacation packages, car rentals and more, call the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association reservation hotline at (888) 559-0841 or go to http://book.GunnisonCrestedButte.com. For destination information, call (800) 814-8893 or visit www.GunnisonCrestedButte.com.
About Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colorado
Nestled in a valley with nearly two million acres of pristine, mountainous wilderness, Gunnison-Crested Butte has a prime location in southwest Colorado. Winter sports enthusiasts know the area for its world-class alpine skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ice fishing and more. Fair-weather activities include mountain biking, hiking, wildflower and wildlife viewing, climbing, boating, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, camping and horseback riding. Year-round visitors enjoy distinctive restaurants, locally-owned shops, stimulating cultural opportunities and festivals galore ranging from the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival and Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days to Crested Butte Bike Week and Gunnison Car Show weekend.
Along a 31-mile stretch of wide-open vistas and stunning scenery, visitors can explore Gunnison, Almont, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte and connect with the quaint and historic burgs of Pitkin, Gothic, Tin Cup, Marble, Powderhorn and Crystal, also located in Gunnison County. Gunnison and Crested Butte, both founded in 1880, are known for their Victorian-era charm, friendly Western hospitality and free-spirited nature. Almont is a fishing, rafting and rock climbing mecca, and the resort village of Mt. Crested Butte is home to renowned Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Visitors also can explore Curecanti National Recreation Area, home to Colorado’s largest body of water, and the nearby Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Gunnison County is part of the West Elk Loop and Silver Thread Scenic & Historic Byways.
Gunnison-Crested Butte is conveniently located in southwestern Colorado, a scenic 4-hour drive from Denver via U.S. Highway 285 or a 3½ hour drive from Colorado Springs on U.S. Highway 50. Air service to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) for the 2013 summer/fall season is provided by United Airlines with direct flights from Denver (DEN).