Denver Music Scene — Rich With History And Bigger Than Ever

Posted on January 16, 2020 by .

Music is the lifeblood for many of our inspirations and motivations. Can you imagine a sweat sesh without a great playlist? We think not. If you’re like our team, hitting up venues is a regular occurrence. Here, we’re fortunate because the Denver music scene is incredible. 

With some of the best spots to see live music in the country (picturesque Red Rocks, anyone?) and storied history of U.S. debuts, Denver is seriously happening. There is always somewhere to catch a new band or artist just waiting to be discovered. And our larger venues are always bringing in the latest sensations. 

During the last decade, the music industry — which includes everything from venues and musicians to promoters and music education — grew by 22.8 percent. It’s one of the largest growth sectors in the city thanks to significant initiatives like Beyond Imagine 2020, a cultural plan initiated in 2013. Also, Governor John Hickenlooper’s Take Note program, started in 2017, provides access to musical instruments and instruction to every K–12 student in the state.

Denver is one of the only major metropolitan areas to focus so heavily on growing their education and access around the arts and music. And it’s not just for entertainment. The Denver music scene is bringing serious capital into the city – approximately $1.1B in 2018

A Brief History of the Denver Music Scene

Denver has always been on the radar for major music breakouts. In 1968, Led Zeppelin made their U.S. debut here as the first of a three-band bill that also featured Vanilla Fudge and Spirit. Also, Queen opened for Mott the Hoople in 1974 at the Regis Field House. 

Our venues are also rich in history. The Bluebird was built in the early 1900s and served as a movie theater. In the 90s and 2000s, it evolved into a music venue and brought in big names, including everyone from Adele to Father John Misty. 

The intimate Ogden Theater is more than 100 years old and through its history hosted many notable acts. From Iggy Pop to Drake and even Houdini, the theater is a must-visit place for music lovers that love history

Denver’s music venues have rich cultural pasts that provide a unique and special live music experience. Whether you’re looking for a huge party or a relaxed setting, you’ll find it here. There are also lots of opportunities to meet your favorite artists or see intimate shows in small, curated spaces. 

What’s Happening Now in the Denver Music Scene 

Sofar Sounds – Denver

Ready for the ultimate exclusive music experience? Check out Sofar Sounds. The company builds secret concerts out of unexpected venues around the country and often feature local and up and coming artists — and lucky for us, Denver is a Sofar hub. 

Want to snag an invite? Here’s how it works. You start by visiting their website and checking out the upcoming events. The dates are listed, along with an idea of where the show will be. Non-residential venues indicate the neighborhood in which they’re located. Residential shows, which take place in a private home, read “secret location.” Pick the show that works for your schedule and apply for tickets. 

All shows work on a lottery system. If you win, you purchase tickets (you can buy up to 10 total, depending on the show). If something comes up, you can decline the spot, and they’ll go to another interested party. It’s always wise to pick a couple of different dates to increase your chances. 

Spread the Word Festival

As the music scene continues to take off, we’re getting more and more festivals in Denver. In 2019, Spread the Word music festival celebrated its seventh year. The three-day festival takes place downtown and features jams for every taste. Styles range from rock, jam, funk, electronic, reggae, folk, and every kind of fusion in between.

Ophelia’s Eclectic Soap Box 

If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box, somewhat fancy backdrop, check out this venue. Ophelia’s brings in all sorts of artists, from R&B to jazz, and is intimate so you’ll get an up-close-and-personal moment with the band. 

One of our favorite features is that it features a stellar menu and excellent cocktails.  Come to Ophelia’s to hear a range of genres, featured local artists, and a vibe that will make you feel like the Roaring 20’s have returned. 

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Chances are you’ve heard of Colorado’s famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre. This amazing venue is an open-air amphitheater built into a rock structure near Morrison, Colorado, 10 miles west of Denver.

It is known to pull in big-time artists from The Beatles to The Grateful Dead to Stevie Ray Vaughn, just to mention a few famous shows of Colorado past.  Nowadays, it still hosts shows for every type of concert goer, including enormous EDM festivals and annual folk music shows like the Avett Brothers and Tedeschi Trucks. Red Rocks is truly an epic venue that is a must-visit for any music fan. 

Intimate Denver Venues

Denver is also known for its cozy, easy going venues that are reminiscent of a time where jazz halls and speakeasys were a way of life. Small venues not only shed light on up and coming acts and artists, but also provide a relaxed atmosphere to really take in your surroundings and the live entertainment.

Some of our favorite smaller spots including Denver’s Globe Hall, Larimer Lounge, and The Roxy. Each of these venues fills their space with modern music, all night dancing, and every genre under the sun.

It’s no secret that the Denver music scene is diverse, fun, and has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in Colorado’s love for music by checking out some of these venues, intimate concerts, and upcoming festivals.

Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!


VoyageDenver interviewed our very own Kelsey Fagan about her journey and work as BWBacon's Operations Manager. Kelsey has helped transform BWB's business processes, read her story below to learn more. #leadership