Summer Music Articles - Bohemian Nights

Bohemian Nights Summer Music Articles


{Emma Marie shares a moment in the artist green room with one of her biggest fans - My 4 year old daughter Mattie Lou, who thinks she hung the moon}

Wowza! Did Fort Collins come alive with the sound of music last weekend or what?!? Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a special festival in so many respects. It is such a beautiful gift to the community. The music is free for the public but behind the scenes the musicians are paid and well taken care of. The love of live music is very much apparent and felt by all. Colorado artists were showcased and applauded for their talents. If you walk away with anything from this weekend, I hope it is to appreciate what a thriving musical city we live in and that you continue to support it year round.  After all, it is the gift that keeps on giving...


It's the final countdown! T-Minus a couple of hours until the 2017 Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest kicks off. What better way to get your jam on, than by checking out these 5 videos from tonight's lineup. The festival opens at 5 PM tonight. See you on the dance floor!

Gipsy Moon get things started on Mountain Ave at 5 PM. Hailed as "newgrass", this 5 piece band from Nederland are sure to draw you into their high energy stage show.

Esmé Patterson is sure to get you moving on Library Park at 7:45 PM. She's been on her own course after splitting from Denver darlings Paper Bird over 4 years ago. She started her solo career with a bang, which featured a hit song with Shakey Graves. She is a must see at this year's festival!

Pandas & People have been racking up national radio play since they hit the ground with their first single, On My Way. Their newest effort Find You showcases the evolution of the band and landed them a spot at KTCL's Big Gig this year. Make sure to support one of Northern Colorado's breakout bands on Mountain Ave at 7:15 PM. 

It's hard to imagine a festival that features Colorado artists without our very own Uncle Johnny and his band Cracker. He's called Loveland home for the last decade and has spent countless hours supporting and mentoring our local music scene. Although most people will recognize their biggest hit, Low, one of my personal favorites is this one. Plus it's hard to beat the fashion style of the 90s! They'll be leading Library Park through a sing a long of their extensive catalog of platinum singles from 9 PM - 10 PM.

It's hard to believe that this will be the first time that Jamgrass legends Leftover Salmon will be performing at Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest. They've been rocking and rolling across the world for over a quarter of a century spreading the music of Colorado to the masses and inspiring the next generation of pickers and improvers. They will be closing down Mountain Ave Stage playing from 8:30 - 10 PM. 


lightning crash

So much organization and thought process go into building all of these amazing lineups but the one thing that you can never fully plan on is the weather. I'm not going to jinx the festival by talking too much about the forecast for this weekend, but one question we get when those grey skies open up is "What happens to the bands that get rained out?" Like all events, safety is of the utmost concern. If the weather is severe enough to cause a delay, we do clear the bands from the stage but Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest stays on schedule. Sometimes the elements will pass quickly enough that an artist can still perform a partial set but others might not get to take the stage at all. In those circumstances we do our best to bring them back to Fort Collins at some point during the year, be it next year's festival or when another opportunity arises. This year's BoNi features a couple of groups who were rained out in 2016. Look for Elise Wunder this Saturday August 12th from 3 - 3:45 PM and  The Haunted Windchimes on Library Park this Sunday August 13th from 1:40 - 2:20 PM.  We hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! 


We’re so excited for Saturday night’s headliner performance by CAKE, and we know you are too. Before you head downtown, consider the following so you can plan for your best experience on Saturday night (no short skirts or long jackets required!):

Know that the Mountain Avenue venue will almost certainly reach maximum capacity ahead of the headliner performance. Festivalgoers must enter the venue at the intersection of Mountain Avenue and Mathews Street, where all-day bag checks are conducted, and there is no guaranteed re-entry upon exiting the venue. If you want to be in the venue for the headliner performance, consider getting there early to enjoy sets by Slow Caves and Brent Cowles.

Remember that Mountain Avenue Stage isn’t the only place to experience the performance. CAKE’s performance will be simulcast at screens on Old Town Square Stage, Linden Street Stage, Library Park Stage and in the northwest corner of Library Park. At these locations, you can see and hear the performance in relaxed, more family-friendly environments.

Listen to the live broadcast on KRFC-FM. KRFC will be hosting a live broadcast of all Mountain Avenue Stage performances during festival weekend at 88.9-FM and online at


Not only are there so many amazing musicians performing this weekend at the festival but there are also so many genres of music being represented. One of the most explosive ones on the national scene is EDM and we've got two of the hottest up and coming artists hitting the Linden St Stage on Saturday; Fort Collins' own Skydyed and the Boulder based group Evanoff.  I'm pretty sure that the term EDM is known to cause large amounts of confusion. The acronym stands for Electronic Dance Music and it has unfairly been given a bad rap stemming from not knowing what it is. NO, it's not just some dude playing with his computer or iPad. In fact, both of this year's EDM groups feature a live band re-creating the studio magic on stage. One way to wrap your head around it, is that it's produced music and it is truly an art form. Having the innovation to create beats, write a hook and orchestrate the instrumentation of an entire song on top of that is an enviable skill set. Colorado and Fort Collins in particular has a history steeped deep in the genre's growth and popularity with artists such as Pretty Lights, Michal Menert, Paul Basic and more calling the Choice City home. We're pumped to welcome some of these pioneering musicians to Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest. Make sure to see Evanoff this Saturday August 12th on Linden St Stage from 5:10 PM - 5:50 PM followed by Skydyed a couple sets later closing down Linden St from 7:50 PM - 8:30 PM. 


Our Festival Info page has tons of helpful information about the festival, and we recommend reading it before you head downtown. Here’s a quick round-up of some of the logistics information found there, as well as a few changes to be aware of at this year’s festival:

Construction and street closures

When planning your travel to the festival, be sure to reference FCTrip, a resource from the City of Fort Collins that provides live information on construction projects and traffic conditions.

Some streets in and around the festival area will be closed in the days leading up to and during the weekend. See a detailed list of festival street closures here.

Transportation and parking

Avoid parking hassles downtown by utilizing the MAX, which runs every 5-15 minutes during festival hours. Check out the festival weekend schedule here, as well as the general Transfort schedule for all bus routes.

If you need to park your car, public parking is available at the Old Town Parking Structure (Remington Street and Mountain Avenue) and the Civic Center Parking Structure (Mason Street and Laporte Avenue). Normal rates apply on Friday; Saturday is $5; Sunday is free. Additional parking can be found on public streets surrounding the festival.

Bike and skateboard parking are available at multiple locations throughout the festival. Check out the festival map for specific locations.

Festival maps and schedules

Plan your music schedule ahead of the festival by downloading the Bohemian Nights mobile app. There, you can browse the full lineup and save performances to create an individualized schedule. The app includes an interactive festival map.

Festival maps and music schedules are included in the festival’s music guide, which is available at the festival’s information booths and handed out by Bohemian Nights volunteers in blue shirts at festival entrances.

New this year

At the Mountain Avenue venue, be prepared for all-day bag checks upon entrance. Portable restroom facilities will be available at the Mountain Avenue venue all day, as well as water and select beers for sale.

Watch CAKE in Old Town Square! In addition to simulcast screens on Library Park Stage and in the northwest corner of Library Park, two additional simulcast screens have been added at Old Town Square Stage snd Linden Street Stage.



TIERRO with Bridget Law have been playing the festival circuit and capturing audiences with their worldly beats. If any of these faces look familiar to you, then you probably love Colorado Music. The Boulder based quartet features TIERRO known for his work in Kan'Nal and Bridget Law from Elephant Revival. The talented bunch have combined their skills to create an experience for concert goers. The mostly instrumental music is centered around a tribal beat that is sure to have everyone up and dancing. An almost trancelike feel resonates from the stage and continues on to the crowd resulting in dance jam. You'll want to be front row and center when TIERRO with Bridget Law kick things off on our Library Park Stage on Friday August 11th from 5:30 - 6:10 PM for this year's Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest!

kids music adventure

We like to think of Kids’ Music Adventure (KMA) as the “festival within the festival” – a kind of oasis from the frenzied joy of Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest. In all KMA programming, kids can see themselves as musicians, whether they’re playing real instruments in the Instrument Petting Zoo or watching talented youth artists and bands play on the KMA stage. It’s a fun, relaxed place where families can enjoy and interact with music together.

Bringing the magic of music to KMA is only possible because of our amazing volunteers. Each year, we rely on the time and talents of more than 90 volunteers, whose duties range from greeting visitors to KMA, making youth artists feel like VIPs as hospitality hosts, or helping kids build their own instruments to take home.

With a week to go until the festival begins, we’re still looking to fill 30 volunteer shifts in KMA roles. Help share the gift of music with kids and families: volunteer! Here’s what to do:

  • -Visit to create a volunteer profile and sign up for shifts.
  • -Call our volunteer line at 970-227-1933 to learn more or have questions answered by our volunteer team.
  • -Know that all volunteers interested in a KMA role are screened by our secure Verified Volunteer service. The process is free for volunteers, and is meant to ensure a safe experience for all.
  • -Spread the word! Get a friend or family member to volunteer with you.

chicano heat

We can't think of a better way to end such a stellar summer of Thursday Night Live concerts than with the high energy Tejano sounds of the Denver based group Chicano Heat! They'll be performing this Thursday August 4th in Old Town Square from 7 PM - 9 PM. We were able to grab a few minutes with front man Larry Lobato Jr. in anticipation of this week's show and wanted to share this Q & A with all of you. 

Tell us about your sound, and what we can look forward to on Thursday.

Larry Lobato, Jr: We have a traditional Tex-Mex sound infused with Latin rock and salsa grooves – audiences can expect a lot of energy from the band. We love to get the crowd involved and dancing, so get ready to move!


You began playing together in 2011—can you talk about the band’s beginning and evolution?

LL: We began with baby steps, but have moved forward over the years with better musicians and a more professional sound. We’ve played the Colorado State Fair several times, and recently opened for Grammy-winning Little Joe y La Familia. Next Sunday we’re playing with another Grammy-winning artist, Ruben Ramos & The Mexican Revolution, at the Adams County Fair in Brighton.


Favorite thing about the music scene in Northern Colorado?

LL: It’s great to be able to perform around the state, especially at outdoor venues where we can perform traditional music. We’re at a point where can pick and choose the gigs we want, and we keep very busy on the Colorado circuit.


It was just a few short years ago that The Burroughs seemingly came out of nowhere to claim their place as one of the best in our local music scene. They proudly call Greeley home and it truly seems like nowhere for such soulful music to make it's comeback in Colorado. But Greeley has some of the best musicians in the state if not the country attending their world class Jazz Program. It is most definitely a hidden gem in the Colorado talent pool and one of their shining stars, The Burroughs, have quickly become one of our favorite bands with their amazing horn section, catchy riffs and the always charismatic Johnny Burroughs front and center showcasing his incredibly soulful voice as well as his super sweet dance moves! We were fortunate enough to grab a few minutes of his time before their show tonight for TNL! Make sure to check it out below and make sure to get yourself to Old Town Square from 7 PM - 9 PM to see The Burroughs in action.

Tell us about your sound, and what we can look forward to on Thursday.

Johnny Burroughs: Energetic, groove-heavy, dance-friendly music that we call sweaty soul. Expect lots of sweaty grooves and songs to sing along to, and lots of room to dance.


Favorite thing about the music scene in Northern Colorado?

JB: The community! Northern Colorado bands – and the music lovers who take part in the scene – are so supportive and great. It’s nothin’ but love, and wanting other bands to succeed.


The one bummer about The Burroughs performing at Thursday Night Live is that we won’t see you on the festival lineup this year. Will you still go to the festival, and if so, who are you looking forward to seeing there?

JB: Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest has been incredible for us every year – our best memories over the last three years have been playing the festival (not to mention the green room experience)! We have a couple shows happening that weekend so we likely won’t get there, but I wish we could see Mama Magnolia and other soul bands like Mama Lenny and the Remedy that we’re friends with. Saturday’s Brent Cowles/Soul Caves double-header right before CAKE will be amazing – getting to see these great local artists do their thing in front of six or seven thousand people.


A big part of The Burroughs’ stage presence is the band’s collective style. Can you tell us about how it evolved?

JB: If you saw us at our first couple shows, we’d pick a color and just try to coordinate what we wore. We were pulling inspiration from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s – everyone looking fly. That’s when we established the gold aesthetic, which fits us because it’s big, bold and in-your-face. Gold doesn’t hide. We’re currently recording our first studio album for a release this winter, and our style is evolving along with our sound. As it evolves, our style conveys purpose and togetherness, as well as our individuality.

drag the river

It's rare that a band can stay together as long as one of Fort Collins favorites, Drag the River. They are celebrating over 20 years together and we couldn't be more excited for their show this Thursday July 20th from 7 PM - 9 PM as part of our Thursday Night Live Series. Fronted by international punk treasures, Jon Snodgrass (Armchair Martian) and Chad Price (ALL) the country and mid-western group have seen their fair share of ups and downs. But through it all, music has kept them going with each song portraying both the triumphs and the heartache that the band has endured. In anticipation of this week's show in Old Town Square, we did a Q & A with Drag the River that we wanted to share with you.

What kind of show should audiences look forward to on Thursday? 

JON SNODGRASS: Spacey Casey is going to play with us, so that means more steel and more smiles. We never have set lists, but this is our only show this year so we should start thinking about songs to do. It will probably look and sound like band practice, which is normally pretty fun. 


Favorite spots in Fort Collins?

JS: Lucky Joe's is where we started and where I still go most anytime I step out. (It’s true—Lucky Joe’s is always my first and/or last stop in town.)


What’s the best thing about the Colorado music scene?

JS: ALL, the best band in Fort Collins and the world, in my opinion. They run the Blasting Room here in town.


What other projects are you and your bandmates working on, individually or collectively?

JS: Chad has a new rock band he's focusing on called A VULTURE WAKE; Casey and Dave play music together all the time; Kyle, our bass player, just moved to Nebraska; my birthday buddies’ band called SCORPIOS (me, Joey Cape of Lagwagon, Brian Wahlstrom, Chris Cresswell of The Flatliners and the late Tony Sly of No Use For A Name) just released our second record. It's online at ONE WEEK RECORDS and you can get an LP at FAT WRECK CHORDS.




We just announced our third headliner for this year's Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest and let me just say it's a doozy! One of Colorado's most beloved and enduring bands, Leftover Salmon will be closing down Mountain Ave Stage on Friday August 11th at 8:30 PM. Performing for over 25 years, this act of many genres will be making their very first BoNi appearance and we couldn't be more excited. Known for their jamgrass chops, Leftover Salmon incorporates a little bit of everything into their set; hear the sounds of New Orleans, Appalachia, Chicago and more. They make a show an experience with high energy antics combined with a one of kind musical adventure. 

stella luce

Thursday Night Live is about to get a little bit crazy in Old Town Square. We're beyond excited to showcase our first double header. Tonight only, we will feature two of Colorado's best bands- Stella Luce from Fort Collins and the Boulder based Gora Gora Orkestar. Expect the unexpected with some of the most eclectic music in the state ranging from a marching brass band, indie, experimental, the sounds of the Balkan, pop and more. Don't miss out on this very special night. Gora Gora Orkestar kicks the party off at 7 PM with Stella Luce closing out the night at 8:15 PM. 


The Armory has just gotten a new website and social media pages! We’d like to invite you to VISIT OUR SITE, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and be involved in our music community. We also have a brand new newsletter; which we will use to announce our upcoming shows, offer you exclusive pre-sale tickets and more. Make sure to sign up via the WEBSITE. We hope you enjoy our new look and thank you for supporting live music in Fort Collins!


Just in case you didn't think this year's Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest lineup could get any better, have we got some great news for you! Another Colorado bluegrass favorite, Trout Steak Revival has been added to Library Park Stage on Sunday August 13th from 3:40 - 4:25 PM. The band made some big waves by winning the Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition in 2014 and have continued their rise in the scene ever since. Touring cross country, gaining national radio play and winning over critics and fans alike, they are touted as one of our next big breakout bands from the state.  Get excited to see Trout Steak Revival at this year's festival!!


There are certainly not a lot of bands that can master the true art of Honky Tonk but Colorado's own Halden Wofford & the Hi*Beams have cornered the market as one of the best in the country. They have found a way to capture the perfect vocals combined with just enough steel guitar and twang. Eclectic and electrifying in their stage shows, audiences pack out each performance as it's impossible to get enough of their infectious fun.

Halden Wofford joined us ahead of Thursday’s performance to chat about the band’s sound, their new album and summer touring.

What kind of show should audiences look forward to?

Wofford: For big outdoor shows, we’ve been more focused on classic country—it’s what I’m into now, Hank Williams, Bob Wilson—mixed with originals. The band’s versatility is one of my favorite things about performing live; each band member brings so much to the show, and I love playing our original music together.

Tell us about the projects you and your bandmates are working on.

Wofford: We’re excited about our new album, “Missing Link,” newly released on July 4. Our guitar player is working on a solo CD, and I’m doing a few songs with him on that. I also put out an album of my “home recordings”—an homage to my art school days, when I was recording David Bowie songs—that’s free at concerts.

What’s next for this summer?

Wofford: We love playing in FoCo, so we’ll be back to play the Harmony Library at the end of July. In August, we head to California for a Grateful Dead festival—they keep inviting us back! Then, we’ll go down to Taos, New Mexico for Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance. It’s mostly Southwestern songwriters, lots of super interesting people, and we feel honored to be a part of it.

You'll want to be front row and center (and you'll probably want to bring your cowboy boots) for Halden Wofford & the Hi*Beams must see show this Thursday July 6th as part of our Thursday Night Live series in Old Town Square from 7 PM - 9 PM. 


Meet David Atwood—he’s an engineer, lifelong Fort Collins resident, and longtime Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest volunteer. David took the time to chat with us about volunteering for the festival, his can’t-miss performances, and how, when he met SHEL backstage in 2008, he knew he’d just met the next big band out of Colorado.

What’s your volunteer role at Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest?

So, I have done everything from trash collecting to security/crowd control. I’ve been a green room attendant, a press trailer coordinator and an artist liaison. This year, I’ll be volunteering as an artist liaison again and working with Artist Relations.

Why did you initially volunteer at the festival, and why do you keep coming back?

I grew up in Fort Collins, and I always remember going to the concerts at NewWestFest as a kid. With athletics at Rocky Mountain High School we used to volunteer as a team, and I thought it was fun to watch the next round of kids and families enjoy our downtown scene. I keep coming back because it’s cool to be connected to the Fort Collins art and music community in this way.

How many festivals have you done?

I have missed a few in the middle, but my first volunteer gig was in 2001. Then I was there for 2002-2005, 2008-2012, and 2014-2016. So all told, I’ve been a part of the festival for 13 years.

Best performance you’ve seen at the festival?

There's always about 10 bands on my can't-miss list. Personal favorites over the years have been Slow Caves, Earl Scruggs, Tickle Me Pink, SHEL, Wiredogs, Post Paradise, Ozomatli, Elise Wunder Band, The Hot IQs, and Megan Burtt, just to name a few.

Most memorable moment from volunteering?

I remember meeting the young ladies of SHEL while working Library Park Stage back in like 2008 and thinking to myself how they are going to be legitimately famous.

Any advice for a volunteer newbie/people considering volunteering?

There are music festivals across the country that cost $100/day that aren't as good as this one, and it's really rewarding to consider how you are helping to bring this experience to the community for free.

We welcome all to help fill the 600+ volunteer hours needed for the festival. If interested, please sign up for volunteer shifts by registering an account or logging into your profile at, or by contacting the Volunteer Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 970-227-1933.


Chris Daniels and the Kings are not messing around. They are already armed with a full on assault of sound from the amazing band, but then they have to go and one up us by bringing the incredible Freddi Gowdy for their Thursday Night Live performance this week! That's right, the party is about to get rowdier (if that's even possible?!?!) Known for their horn driven Funk n' Roll blues sound, their goal is to have everyone dancing at every show. In case you didn't know, Chris Daniels is kind of a big deal. He's been performing internationally since the early 80s with music featured in video, TV and radio around the world.  In 2013, he was nominated for a Grammy and inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. We are so excited to welcome Chris Daniels and the Kings with Freddi Gowdy to TNL on Thursday June 29th from 7 PM - 9 PM in Old Town Square. Make sure to bring your dancing shoes for this must see performance!! 


Colorado's own indie darlings, Dressy Bessy are ready to take you on a trip down memory lane this Thursday June 22nd as part of our Thursday Night Live concert series. And when I say memory lane, I really mean the 90s / 2000s when this Denver band took the nation by storm. They were hailed as THE breakout band from our fine state with appearances on late night talk shows, sell out tours across the country and national radio play. Their music was featured in TV (Side 2 is a favorite on Grey's Anatomy) and film (If You Should Try to Kiss Her from But I'm a Cheerleader) and it was hard not to be a fan girl around front woman Tammy Ealom and her impeccable fashion sense. Armed with catchy pop hits that have just enough indie edge, Dressy Bessy have been a fan favorite since they first hit the stage. You'll want to be up close and person for their performance on Old Town Square from 7 PM - 9 PM this Thursday. 

brandi carlile

Holy Wow!! Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest has announced our second headliner for 2017 and let's just say that this year is going to be one for the books. The world famous and equally world class Brandi Carlile will be anchoring our festival on Sunday August 13th and we couldn't be more excited to welcome her to Fort Collins. Known for her wide range of styles and her incredible vocal power, she puts on one high energy show that keeps fans and audiences begging for more. You'll want to see Brandi Carlile close down the Mountain Ave stage this year on Sunday August 13th from 5:30 - 7 PM. As a weekend treat, we're also announcing the addition of a Fort Collins favorite to our amazing Colorado lineup. Head for the Hills, one of our top Bluegrass bands, will be performing on the Mountain Ave stage on Saturday August 12th from 4:40 - 5:25 PM. Happy Friday everyone!!