Listen carefully? Can you hear it? Yep, the hills are alive with the sound of music. With longer days and cool evenings, summertime in the mountains brings countless opportunities for live music in incredible settings.
When it comes to memorable mountain music venues, there are some places that stand out in hearts and minds for good reason, like Red Rocks or Telluride during the Bluegrass Festival. But for every Red Rocks Amphitheater, there are other mountain gems that are still waiting to be discovered by the masses.
KT Base Bar at Squaw Valley, CA
A natural amphitheater at the base of the mountain, the KT Base Bar has hosted some big name performers over the past few years including The Wailers, Brett Dennen and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Squaw Valley is in the midst of improving the KT Base Bar this summer, so no concerts are planned for 2013, but this is a venue to watch for summer 2014.
Red Butte Garden, Salt Lake City, UT
In the foothills of Salt Lake City, less than half an hour from resorts like Park City, Snowbird and Alta, Red Butte Garden hosts more than 25 music shows each summer, with a lineup ranging from David Byrne and Steely Dan to Merle Haggard and Trombone Shorty. Make sure you have a blanket and picnic to enjoy this outdoor amphitheater, which has been a locals’ favorite for more than 15 years.
Mountain Town Music, Park City, UT
It’s hard to choose just one venue in Park City, UT when the area pulses with live music almost every evening in the summer. So, cheaters that we are, we’d rather just direct you to Mountain Town Music, a non-profit organization in Park City that produces community concerts (the majority are free) all over Summit County, Utah area. From large venues at Canyons Resort and Deer Valley to smaller venues like Miner’s Park Stage, a pocket park in the center of Park City’s historic Main Street, there’s a concert and a sound to suit just about every taste.
Grand Targhee Resort, Alta, WY
Nestled in the Teton Range about 45 minutes from Jackson, WY, Grand Targhee Resort is an undiscovered gem, hosting a summer of music that includes performances by big names like Widespread Panic and Bruce Hornsby, but also your unrealized new favorite bands like Anders Osborn and the Alabama Shakes. Camping opportunities are plentiful and allow you to experience this homegrown resort naturally, as it’s meant to be.
Big Sky Brewing Co., Missoula, MT
The folks at Big Sky Brewing Co. finally came up with something that might top their excellent beers by creating a summer concert series. Now in its third season, the Big Sky Summer Concert Series is hosted in an open meadow with Snowbowl Ski Resort as its backdrop (the resort is only 15 minutes from the venue). Concerts start in late June and continue through mid-August with performances this year from bands including Barenaked Ladies, Kip Moore and Matisyahu.
Copper Mountain, Copper, Colorado
Located about two hours from Denver in the Ten Mile Range, Copper Mountain offers a wide range of summer music, from big names like Moby to guitar legends and one of the biggest weekends of country music in Colorado. When you’re not perched on the slopes of the resort, looking down at the stage and jamming along, there is plenty to keep you occupied in this Summit County resort, like the area’s only Go-Kart race course.
Situated at 6,967 feet above sea level in northern New Mexico, surrounded by the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Taos has long been known as a haven for artists, writers and all sorts of creative types. It’s also an exceptional venue for music lovers, combining beauty and history in this mountain town. The biggest concert event, the Taos Solar Festival, takes place each year in Kit Carson Park. In addition to enjoying performances by artists like Lyle Lovett and Michael Franti, concertgoers can learn more about the latest solar and alternative energy technologies. About 18 miles from Taos, Taos Ski Valley hosts the Taos Mountain Summer Music Series throughout the summer, with local bands performing on Saturdays at the resort.
Home to FloydFest for four days each July, this 80-acre plateau in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia transforms into a music city that hosts musical performances by bands like Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Donavon Frankenreiter and Brandi Carlile, as well as up and coming bands, on multiple stages. More than just a series of concerts, the venue also offers the opportunity for hiking, mountain biking, disc golf, paddling and more.
Ready for a truly “underground” music scene? How about 333 feet underground? Inside what is one of the most acoustically pure natural spaces in the world, some of the world’s greatest bluegrass musicians perform during Bluegrass Underground in the Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, Tennessee. It’s a short hike to get down to the Volcano Chamber, but the experience is worth it when you’re perched among the jagged rock, experiencing a performance like no other.
Located about two hours north of New York City in the Northern Catskill Mountains, Hunter Mountain is home to a pristine natural amphitheater, perfect for large music festivals like Radio Woodstock’s Mountain Jam and the inaugural Taste of Country. But Hunter Mountain’s draw as a music venue is more than just the acts that grace the stage. The Catskills are home to some of the North East’s most beautiful hikes, including the state’s only multi-cascade waterfall.
Whether you’re listening to a chart-topping headliner or a soon-to-be-discovered favorite, these mountain music venues are sure to provide an inspiring soundtrack to your summer adventures.
Which mountain music venues are we missing?