With MeadowGrass just a few weeks away, and Pueblo's Bands in the Backyard following a month later, the music festival season is finally gearing up. In fact, promoters from four other festivals have begun releasing details of their 2015 events.
Let's start with Blues Under the Bridge. Now in its ninth year, the festival's big booking coup this time out is Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens, who've garnered critical acclaim in the wake of What Have You Done, My Brother, their 2009 debut for the Brooklyn-based Daptone Records.
Like labelmates Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley, Shelton played and recorded in relative obscurity for decades. And like two previous Blues Under the Bridge headliners — The Slide Brothers and The Holmes Brothers — she's racked up countless rave reviews while retaining the spirit of gospel in even her most secular material.
This year's festival, which takes place July 25 under the Colorado Avenue bridge, will also include performances by Carolyn Wonderland, BJ Estares & Route 61, Mulebone and Mr. Sipp, who bills himself as "The Mississippi Blues Child." Find more info at bluesunderthebridge.com.
Meanwhile, Colorado College's Llamapalooza Festival announced its 2015 lineup last Friday. And while this year's announced acts — Kithkin, Netherfriends, Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire, Moon Hooch, and Phony Ppl— may not be household names in even the most hipster habitats, neither was Flying Lotus when he headlined the event back in 2011.
Happily, you can get up to speed on all of the aforementioned acts by checking out the 15-track playlist at soundcloud.com/llamapaloozacc. This year's day-long festival will take place May 9.
And if you're looking for an excuse to visit Red Rocks this summer, you could do worse than the Mad Decent Block Party, which also announced its lineup last Friday. Well, kind of. The roaming event did release the names of more than 50 acts who'll be performing, but those performances will be spread out over the course of 22 tour dates.
So the good news is that Cut Copy, Die Antwoord, Diplo, Flosstradamus, Knife Party, Skrillex, T-Pain, and Tyler The Creator will all be among the acts playing somewhere under the Mad Decent banner. The less-good news is that, as of this writing, only Major Lazer has been confirmed for Denver's Aug. 30 date. In the meantime, your best bet is to go to maddecentblockparty.com and sign up for email alerts.
Also last week, the perennially nomadic Riot Fest unveiled the date and location of its 2015 festival, which will be held at Denver's National Western Complex from Aug. 28 to 30.
While this year's lineup won't be announced until May, hardcore fans are already taking a leap of faith by buying up $69.98 presale tickets, which went on sale last week. Probably not a bad bet, actually, given the quality of the two preceding years' acts, which included The Replacements, The Cure, Die Antwoord, Wu-Tang Clan, Weezer, Flaming Lips, Rocket From the Crypt, Iggy Pop and Slayer.
It's also reasonably safe to assume that the event won't need to change locations this year, as it did last year, when the bite-sized town of Byers — which had hosted 2013's inaugural festival — made an 11th-hour decision to pull the plug. Promoters managed to save the event with a last-minute relocation to the less-than-ideal parking lots outside Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
You'll be glad to know that the National Western Complex will be playing host to not only Riot Fest, but also the Denver County Fair, the Great Western Alpaca Show, Tortillas for Tepeyac, Foam Wonderland, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Submission Grappling, and the much-anticipated Rocky Mountain Reptile Expo.
In keeping with its new location, this year's event has been dubbed Riot Fest & Rodeo, and will feature a host of thematically linked attractions that may or may not include blood and clowns. Early-bird tickets can be found at riotfest.org.