This is by no means a comprehensive list of festivals, but it's a start. It's time to plan to get out of Steamboat Springs. Many of these festivals rapidly are selling out.
Telluride Bluegrass Festival
Of all the Colorado music festivals, this one is most widely known. Started in 1974, it has grown from a tiny, mountain bluegrass festival to a sell-out weekend with a 10,000-strong audience and music that spans the genres. Tim O'Brien will open the weekend in the troubador style of the up-and-coming artist he once was, and four days later he'll bring it to a close with his current band. The rest of this year's lineup includes Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, Rodney Crowell, Mavis Staples, The Del McCoury Band, The Seldom Scene, Steve Earle and the Bluegrass Dukes, Ani DiFranco, Spearhead, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, the Sam Bush Band, Edar Meyer, Peter Rowan, Crucial Reggae and John Cowan.
A four-day pass costs $175, not including camping. Single-day passes are $55. Tickets are available on www.bluegrass.com or by calling 1-800-624-2422. Camping reservations and volunteer information are available on www.planetbluegrass.com.
Telluride Blues and Brews
Good beer and good music. Fifty microbrews will be on tap all weekend while the stage rocks under the weight of bands including the Allman Brothers Band, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe and the North Mississippi All-Stars, who played in 2003. This year's musical line-up is yet to be announced.
A three-day pass costs $125 and tickets for late-night jams are an extra $17 per night. A four-day camping pass costs $35, sold per person and not per site.
For musicians, the festival includes the Telluride Acoustic Blues Camp. For $285, musicians receive 15 hours of class instruction from the festival's performers.
Volunteer opportunities are available for those who can't afford the pass. Each volunteer must work two five-hour shifts for a weekend pass. Volunteer applications are available at www.tellurideblues.com.
Tickets are available by calling 1-866-515-6166.
Strings in the Mountains
Steamboat, June 25 -Aug. 27
This is your local music festival and one of the most diverse in the state. Its chamber music series is focused on classical music, but the festival also includes several world music acts and children's programs.
The festival begins with the Gala Opening Week Celebration, June 25 to July 2, to introduce the community to Strings' new location.
The opening week features a free community concert with the Music Architecture Sonic Sculpture (MASS) Ensemble, a cutting-edge group that includes artists, musicians, composers and choreographers. The MASS Ensemble is known for large-scale instruments and kinetic performances. The giant sculptural instruments provide a landscape in which the artists perform. For the Strings performance, the MASS Ensemble will turn the music tent into a giant instrument with a 360-degree harp inside.
Classical highlights this year include a 100th year commemoration of Dvorak's death. Four of his works will be performed throughout the season.
A season pass for Strings, which gets you into 26 concerts, is $485 until June 1. A classical pass is $264 for 15 concerts. A Different Tempo pass offers 11 concerts for $266.
Tickets and schedules are available at www.stringsinthemountains.com or by calling 879-5056.
Nederland Music and Arts
Aug. 7 and 8
This festival is on the shore of Barker Reservoir in Nederland, 17 miles outside of Boulder. In its sixth year, this is a lesser-known festival, which makes it less expensive and less crowded.
Tickets go on sale "soon," according to the festival's Web site. Last year, discounted tickets were available through June 14. A festival pass was $53 and one-day passes were $28.
This year's lineup includes Garaj Mahal, The Motet, Shanti Groove and the Tony Trischka Band.
Nedfest has no designated camping, but organizer Michigan Mike said there is a lot of camping nearby. Camping ideas are available on www.nedfest.com.
Tickets are available on the Nedfest Web site, as well, or by calling the Boulder Theater Box Office at 303-786-7030.
Four Corners Folk Fest
Pagosa Springs, Sept. 3-5
The organizer of this festival is passionate about music and art and the role they play in his community. The Four Corners Folk Fest is on 120 acres of ponderosa pine forest. In its ninth year, the organizers have limited the size to about 4,000 people. Ponderosa pines tower behind the crowd, and a cliff rises up behind the stage.
Musicians can wander from tent to tent for vocal instruction or lessons on finger-style guitar or on the music business -- taught by the main-stage acts.
The Four Corners festival tries to create a family-friendly environment with a children's section that features arts and crafts, sing-alongs and nature hikes to give parents some alone time to dance and listen to music.
This year's lineup includes Tim O'Brien, Eileen Ivers, the subdudes, Eddie From Ohio, the John Cowan Band with guest Pat Flynn, the Bill Hilly Band, the Waybacks and Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand.
During the day, music is performed in a field, but the late-night concerts start about 10 p.m. on the Summit Stage, on the top of the mountain. Listeners have to hike to the stage so that camping families will not be bothered by the music.
A three-day pass, including on-site camping, costs $85 in advance or $95 at the gate. Tickets are available on the Web at www.folkwest.com or by calling 877-472-4672.
Lyons on the Planet
Bluegrass Ranch, July 23-25
While the Telluride Bluegrass Festival has grown beyond its original acoustic boundaries, Rocky Grass sticks to artists such as Doc Watson. As traditional bluegrass becomes increasingly popular with the mainstream, Rocky Grass has been discovered. The festival sold out early last year.
This year's lineup includes Bearfoot Bluegrass, Uncle Earle, John Reischman and the Jaybirds, Sam Bush, Nickel Creek, Jerry Douglas, Tim O'Brien Band, The Sam, Alison Brown Quartet, Mark O'Connor and the Hot Swing Trio, featuring Brian Sutton and Chris Thile. A three-day pass costs $105. One-day passes cost between $40 and $45, depending on the day. On-site camping spots already are sold out, but sites remain in the surrounding area.
Tickets can be purchased on www.planetbluegrass.com.