Just call Summer 2018 the summer of beer and music. Or, it’s the summer of beer and music in Durango, anyway. From the free Concert in the Park series at Buckley Park to the rad shows coming through Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College – hello, The Wailin’ Jennys and Asleep at the Wheel, anyone? – there will be plenty of music to go around.
Oh, and plenty of beer. Whether it’s the Summer Brew Beer and Music Fest at Purgatory or the Pine River and San Juan Brewfests, if beer is what you’re after, this summer’s festivals come bearing it.
There are tons of other entertainment options out there this summer, if beer and music aren’t your thing (though they should be). Ol’ Paula Poundstone will be tickling funny-bones, Fiesta Days will be fiesta’ing, or you can pan for gold at the Gem and Mineral Show. Whatever your vice, this summer has it, so go ahead and start makin’ your plans. Just make sure you invite us out every once in a while, OK?
June 15Paula PoundstoneCommunity Concert Hall, Fort Lewis College, 7:30 p.m., $25.20 to $34.00, durangoconcerts.tix.comWhen it comes to comedians, you’d be hard-pressed to find another one like Paula Poundstone. She’s ruled the stand-up stage for decades, thanks to her dry, quick-on-the-draw style and love of interacting with the crowd. She has a disarming, unexpected style to her stand-up, and that rapid fire wit has earned her a place on many a stage, from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to a spot on the weekly NPR comedy news show. Host Peter Sagal has called her “the funniest human being I have ever known. Everything she does, thinks, or says is hilarious.” So do yourself a solid and snag some tix to Paula’s show at Fort Lewis. Your funny bone, and abs, will thank you.
June 28The NomsBuckley Park, 5:30 p.m., freeLucky you. You get to check out The Noms, the Albuquerque-based band known for blending just about every style to concoct a harmonic rock sound all their own. And you get to do so for free, thanks to the Concert at the Park series, which runs throughout the summer at Buckley Park. These guys are a little bit country, a little bit blues, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, and a whole lot of soul. You don’t want to miss this one. Trust.
June 30Summer Brew Beer & Music FestPurgatory Resort, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., $15, purgatoryresort.com/events/summerbrew/State 38, J. Calvin’s Funk Express, and Elder Grown? Yes, yes, and double yes. That lineup is great, but things get even better when you take into consideration that those bands will be playing at Purgatory’s Summer Brew Beer & Music Fest, which means there will be copious amounts of cold golden ale at your fingertips WHILE these bands play.
Beer garden tickets are only $15 bucks, and there are only 300 of them to go around, so you should grab them. All. Now.
July 4The Cannondolls at Rochester HotelRochester Hotel, 5 p.m., freeAll-girl Americana is awesome. (So is alliteration), and you can catch that all-girl talent at the Rochester Hotel on the Fourth of July, when The Cannondolls, and their ripe harmonies, take the stage. And you can do it all fo’ free. What a win. As a bonus, The Cannondolls will also be playing at Buckley Park for free on the same day.
July 5AfrosonicsBuckley Park, 5:30 p.m., freeIf you’re looking for original, Afrosonics is where it’s at. The band mixes a healthy dose of African and American rhythms with a vibrant backing of guitar, drum, dance, chant, and keyboard fusion. And what we mean by that is that you haven’t heard anything like this before. Afrosonics pulls from all of the world music, from Caribbean, funk, jazz and blues, to other regions far across the globe. Their sound is the epitome of fusion, no label needed. Check them out for free dollars at Buckley Park. You won’t regret this life choice.
July 6Gem and Mineral ShowLa Plata County Fairgrounds, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., $2 for adults, kids under 15 in the company of an adult are free, durangorocks.org.Do you like shiny things like the glitter-loving crab from “Moana”? Well, then you’re in luck, because the Gem and Mineral Show at La Plata County Fairgrounds features all things shiny, from rocks and gems to pearls, minerals and beads. Come dig for (slightly buried) treasure at the vendor booths while your kiddos pan for gold or learn about gems and minerals. Your glittery wrists will thank you.
July 7Music in the MountainsLocations vary, times vary, runs through July 29, ticket prices vary by event, musicinthemountains.comMusic in the Mountains is a massive summer music festival featuring top-notch musicians that not only entertain, but educate and interact, making this festival a true learning experience. You can catch acts like The Hunts, an indie-folk band from the southlands of Chesapeake, Virginia, or The Nightowls, a ten-piece ensemble that Austin Monthly named a “band to watch.” And, to top off those sweet, sweet tunes, you can even indulge in a variety of artisan desserts – chocolate-based desserts, no less – at the Chocolate Indulgence tent. Where do we sign up?
July 12Ukefest All-Star BandBuckley Park, 5:30 p.m., freeWho doesn’t love the sweet, sweet sound of a ukulele? Nobody, that’s who. And you can check out a cacophony of ukes at the July 12 Concert in the Park, which will feature the Rocky Mountain UkeFest All-Star Band pluckin’ those uke strings in tandem. That alone was good enough to sell us on this show, but as a bonus, it’s free.
July 19I Draw SlowBuckley Park, 5:30 p.m., freeYou probably haven’t seen Dublin-based roots band I Draw Slow perform live, and that’s a shame. But you can remedy that – for free – at the July 19 Concert in the Park, because I Draw Slow will be there to put their mix of roots and Irish music just for you on display. Between the expert songwriting and onstage chicanery, you’ll quickly see why I Draw Slow just landed a contract with Compass Records. You NEED to see them take the stage (or the grass), and revel in their folksy storytelling.
July 23-29Fiesta DaysDowntown and the Fairgrounds, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., runs through July 29, $12 Adults; $6 Children 6-14; 5 and under free, durangofiestadays.comEveryone loves a fiesta, and Durango has their very own version of that raucous party with Fiesta Days, a celebration of history and heritage from the Durango area. This fiesta has been rockin’ and rollin’ since 1935, and these days, the party stretches across an entire week. There will be parades, rodeos, and chuckwagon cook-offs, along with street dancing and pie auction. We call dibs on rhubarb.
July 24The Wailin’ JennysCommunity Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, 7:30 p.m., $22.50 to $48.00, durangoconcerts.tix.comIf you haven’t heard The Wailin’ Jennys live, you need to get to it right away. And if you have heard The Jennys, you should still make time to catch them this summer, because these Jennys -- Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody, and Heather Masse – are one of the coolest folk acts out there, with vocals that go on for days. Literal days. These guys have conquered the folk-roots scene, and their live performances are part of the reason they’re on top of the folk world. I.e., they’re pretty badass indeed.
July 26Halden Wofford & The Hi BeamsBuckley Park, 5 p.m., freeJust call them Honky-tonk Halden Wofford and the Hi*Beams, because this Colorado-based retro act sure knows how to throw a Front Range party. They’re the real deal, these honky-tonk warblers, and their distinct-but-throwback vibe has landed them quite a bit of press, including a gig on the famed NPR show “A Prairie Home Companion.” If you like Western swing and a little Texas honky-tonk, you’ll love these guys.
August 4Pine River BrewfestEagle Park, Bayfield, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., $30 to $175, children 12 and under free, bottomshelfbrewery.comIf you like beer and BBQ, you should probably snag some tickets to Pine River Brewfest out in Bayfield, because that’s what this festival is all about. You can sample craft beverages, hang out at the BBQ cook-off, or take in some sweet live music. Even little Junior can tag along, because there will be plenty of children’s activities to go around, meaning everyone will be entertained and happy.
August 8Stillhouse JunkiesRochester Hotel, 5 p.m., freeEveryone loves the Stillhouse Junkies, and you’ll love them even more if you make time to catch them as they play the Secret Garden at Rochester Hotel. Their blend of roots, funk, swing, and blues will be just the antidote for those end-of-summer sads you have. The music is free, the kids can join in, and you can rock out to your heart’s content. Don’t pass it up.
August 12Asleep at the Wheel Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, 7:30 p.m., $27 to $40, durangoconcerts.tix.comAsleep at the Wheel, the Austin, Texas-based country band with a whopping 10 Grammy Awards, 20 studio albums, and a massive pile of chart-topping singles, will be gracing Durango with their presence in mid-August, and you should be there. The band’s most recent release -- Grammy Award-winning “Still The King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys” – is a big, big album, one that features collaborations with legends such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and George Strait, along with The Avett Brothers, Amos Lee, and Old Crow Medicine, among others. That all-star album lineup should tell you something. These guys are awesome, and even cooler still is that these days, Asleep at the Wheel is traveling as an 8-piece band, with a couple of new musical additions to help round out that already top-notch sound. All hail the fiddles.
August 25San Juan BrewfestBuckley Park, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., $35 to $75, SanJuanBrewfest.com/ticketsIf you’re a beer-lover after our own hearts, do not miss San Juan Brewfest. It’s the largest beer-tasting festival this side of…well, the mountains, and about 50 breweries will be on site to satiate your thirst. Each brewery will have in tow at least two of their beers, meaning you get to pick from about 100 beers. On top of that, there will be live music and food for you to get your grubby beer-filled hands on. Sounds like the perfect day to us.