Festivals, concerts to return in summer 2021

Many of Northern Colorado’s large-scale outdoor events cancelled in 2020 will return this summer but with some limitations and different timetables. 

The vaccine rollout with the hope of full vaccination in May, alongside social distancing that is easier to conduct outdoors, has brought about new enthusiasm to generate tourism and attract tourists and locals alike to festivals, concerts, symphonies and other indoor and outdoor activities.

“Getting people out of the house is an economic driver,” said Cindy Mackin, visitor services manager for the city of Loveland. “For Visit Loveland, our focus is to promote events and attractions in Northern Colorado to get people to shop, eat and play in the community. … We need those events to start again because they are such a large economic driver. There is pent-up demand for it.”

The Rialto Theater and the city of Loveland normally offer the Loveland Summer Concerts at the Foote Lagoon every Thursday June to August, but this year will delay the event’s start to Aug. 5 with four concerts through Aug. 26.

“We want to keep everyone’s safety in mind,” Mackin said. “We want to make sure enough people are comfortable coming out and experiencing it.”

The summer concerts are free and are held at the Foote Lagoon, an amphitheater on water. They include live music, food trucks and family-friendly activities such as art, games and face painting.

Sculpture in the Park, the largest outdoor sculpture show in the nation, resumes its activities this year for its 37th event. The show is scheduled for Aug. 6-8 at Benson Park in Loveland. 

In Fort Collins, Mantooth Marketing Co. produces a similar event in partnership with Colorado State University, the Lagoon Summer Concert Series at the CSU Lagoon at West Plum Street and Meridian Avenue. 

The free event, in existence for 20 years, has live music and food trucks on Wednesday evenings for seven weeks over the summer months. Attendees bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets to sit out on the lawn and enjoy music from all genres. 

A few concert events will be held indoors at various Northern Colorado venues, such as the Budweiser Events Center, a 7,200-seat arena at the Ranch Events Complex in Loveland. Several concerts have been rescheduled from 2020 and include Toby Keith, who will perform June 4. Trolls Live! also has been rescheduled to June 8-9 and the Toughest Monster Truck Tour to Aug. 13-14.

The Union Colony Civic Center, a performing arts venue in Greeley operated by the city of Greeley, closed in March 2020 and reopened in February. The reopening is in a phased approach starting with small rentals of the theater and concert hall at a limited seating capacity in line with the state guidance for indoor events. The Monfort Concert Hall normally seats more than 1,600 and is now at 265, while Hensel Phelps Theatre has a 200-plus seat capacity and now is at 55. 

Because seating is limited, the city prorated the rental rate based on the capacity, resulting in a different group of renters coming in who could not afford the higher rates.

“We are not programming any national tours until all the different restrictions are lifted,” said Jason Evenson, cultural affairs manager for the city of Greeley, explaining that the center is operating one risk level higher than the county at level blue. “Even when we move to a green county and state, we still can’t make national touring events work with such limited capacities.” 

Hopeful that the level will change later in the year, staff is working on scheduling national programming for the fall but will wait to release names and ticket prices, Evenson said.

“We are lining some up, but we won’t announce them until we’re sure we’re free and clear of all COVID restrictions,” Evenson said.

For other concert opportunities, there is the SuperStar Concert Series that is part of the Greeley Stampede, a 10-day summer festival at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley. The festival celebrates Northern Colorado’s western heritage with rodeo events, a carnival, a parade and a ball. This year, the festival is scheduled June 23 to July 4 and concerts will be held June 25 to July 3.

“With 2020 coming to an end, we look with hopeful eyes toward 2021 and being able to celebrate our independence and western heritage at the 99th Annual Greeley Stampede,” as stated on the website, greeleystampede.org.

Event organizers expect the event will return to normal but with some restrictions and a reduced capacity, as stated on the website.

The Boulder Symphony also is performing this year and will present “The Show Must Go On” in two performances June 5 at the Boulder Theater. The symphony is a community-focused orchestra that aims to make symphonic music more accessible and relevant to audiences, bringing in new composers and musicians and world premiere acts.

For a taste of theater, the University of Colorado-Boulder will bring back the Colorado Shakespeare Festival this summer but with limited seats and more showings. The festival will sell tickets for up to 165 seats per night at the 1,000-seat Mary Rippon Outdoor Theater on the CU Boulder campus. 

The festival will kick off with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” an eclectic comedy by William Shakespeare, June 18 to Aug. 15. The other showings will include “The Odyssey,” July 9 to Aug. 14, and “Pericles,” Aug 1 and Aug. 3, but that show is sold out.

The season start date is pushed back from the first weekend in June, and performances will be held Tuesday to Sunday nights instead of four to five nights a week. 

“The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is always fun and exciting,” said Wendy Franz, managing director of the festival. “There are many reasons families make it a tradition. You have these exciting athletic performances … all under the stars.”

Franz also is excited about bringing back live theater and storytelling to audiences, she said. 

“We really can’t wait to get back in person, hopefully bring a little joy, spread a little cheer to people who have been cooped up all year,” Franz said.

Another festival that may return this year — organizers say it is too soon to say for sure — is the 2021 Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest, a free, three-day music festival in August in downtown Fort Collins. The festival, co-produced by the Downtown Fort Collins Business Association and the Bohemian Foundation, if it is held features a variety of music genres and numerous art, specialty and food booths, plus activities for families and kids.

The city of Longmont also has a music festival, Rhythm on the River Summer Music Festival, which will return this year, though dates have not been made public. The event, held at Roger’s Grove, features outdoor adventures, art and youth activities, Roger’s Run 5K, Kinetics Parade on the Pond of human-powered, all-terrain art sculptures, and the St. Vrain Rotary Duck Races.

Many of Northern Colorado’s large-scale outdoor events cancelled in 2020 will return this summer but with some limitations and different timetables. 

The vaccine rollout with the hope of full vaccination in May, alongside social distancing that is easier to conduct outdoors, has brought about new enthusiasm to generate tourism and attract tourists and locals alike to festivals, concerts, symphonies and other indoor and outdoor activities.

“Getting people out of the house is an economic driver,” said Cindy Mackin, visitor services manager for the city of Loveland. “For Visit Loveland, our focus is to promote events and attractions in Northern Colorado to get people to shop, eat and play in the community. … We need those events to start again because they are such a large economic driver. There is pent-up demand for it.”

The Rialto Theater and the city of Loveland normally offer the Loveland Summer Concerts at the Foote Lagoon every Thursday June to August, but this year will delay the event’s start to Aug. 5 with four concerts through Aug. 26.

“We want to keep everyone’s safety in mind,” Mackin said. “We want to make sure enough people are comfortable coming out and experiencing it.”

The summer concerts are free and are held at the Foote Lagoon, an amphitheater on water. They include live music, food trucks and family-friendly activities such as art, games and face painting.

Sculpture in the Park, the largest outdoor sculpture show in the nation, resumes its activities this year for its 37th event. The show is scheduled for…