How to Experience the Thriving Music Scene of Dillon, Colorado
What makes your favorite music sound even better? (Hint: It’s not a trick question.) There’s just something magical about experiencing live music from the shores of a gigantic alpine lake, looking up at the craggy peaks of the Gore and Tenmile ranges. There’s plenty to do during the day in Summit County, but once the sun starts to set, you’ll want to unwind with a show. Thanks to its stunning surroundings, the music scene in Dillon, Colorado is more exciting than ever.
It All Starts at the Amphitheater
The Dillon Amphitheater is the centerpiece of the Summit music scene. The newly modernized venue got a major facelift in 2017, making the amphitheater better suited to host festival-type events and attract a wider variety of acts with bigger green rooms and more storage. After a public comment process to determine the amphitheater’s future, the town decided to improve its accessibility, including the restroom facilities.
Despite its improvements, the Dillon Amphitheater retains its small-town feel—the venue still hosts free concerts, in addition to paid shows. Major efforts were also made to ensure that the new venue didn’t obstruct views of the amphitheater’s natural surroundings.
The plans to attract big names to Dillon are already working. The 2018 Amphitheater season this year will feature two nights of local legends String Cheese Incident, playing their first show in Summit County since 1999 on July 17 and 18. Musical fans won’t want to miss Broadway’s Wicked Divas with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, which will feature Broadway veterans performing songs from Wicked and more than a dozen other shows. The special Sunday night show will be held on July 29.
The amphitheater also will continue hosting its free concert series on Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., starting on June 29 with a performance by the Nacho Men. Other highlights throughout the summer include The Samples on July 6, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic on July 28 (which features a community celebration of the grand re-opening of the venue), and the reggae band the Original Wailers on August 17. These free evening shows have wine, beer, and food available as a complement to the music—and it’s hard to beat the sunset views of Lake Dillon while enjoying the performances.
On Wednesdays in the summer (from June 27 to Aug. 29, except for the 4th of July), the amphitheater hosts Dance Nights starting at 6 p.m. Start with some country line dancing instruction before the party gets started. Several local taverns also regularly host live music, including the Goat, the Snake River Saloon and Steakhouse, and Ten Mile Music Hall in Frisco. (Cover charges on those events vary.)
Beer + Music
Colorado is known for its craft beers, and connoisseurs can try the cream of the crop at the Lake Dillon Beer Festival in June. Head to the Marina Park Pavilion to try dozens of Colorado microbrews, all to benefit the non-profit Colorado Brewers Guild. There’s live music throughout the event, and food is available for purchase on-site.
The Dillon Farmers Market is among the best in Summit County. Local vendors have their wares on display on Lodgepole Street from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday from June to September. Pick up everything from local honey to Palisade peaches to handmade goods. Best of all, you can catch live music from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. each weekend. The 2018 Farmers Market entertainment lineup is already set.
The Lake Dillon Arts Festival now includes two events, one each in July and September. The juried art show showcases work ranging from traditional to abstract to contemporary, including stoneware, woodworking, jewelry, ceramics, sculpture, painting, and photography. There’s something on hand for music lovers, too: Visitors can meander through the festival to the soundtrack of live guitarists Skanson & Hansen.
Get the Party Going with Affordable Music
Looking to hear some tunes on a rare night when there’s not live music playing somewhere in Dillon? Head to Affordable Music, the town’s beloved local record and instrument store. It may be many miles from the nearest metropolis, but Affordable Music is one of the few independently owned music shops that still sells vinyl records (as well as tickets to big-name events like the String Cheese Incident show), so true music lovers can find what they’re looking for. You’ll also find new and used instruments for sale, and knowledgeable proprietor Gary Koenig can point visitors in the right direction.
Written by Emma Walker for RootsRated Media in partnership with Town of Dillon.