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Steamboat Magazine

Music in the Mountains

(Photo: Greensky Bluegrass performs at WinterWonderGrass 2020 in Steamboat Springs. They return to headline the 10th Anniversary Festival in 2023. COURTESY OF MR.SCHULTZ - OWN WORK, CC BY-SA 4.0) 

Printed in the Steamboat Springs Visitors' Guide Ski Season 2022-23. 

Steamboat Springs, CO - Live music pervades the mountain town of Steamboat Springs.

Winter is punctuated by concerts, including MusicFest which combines a week of skiing and Americana/Texas music in 200 hours of live performances at venues throughout Steamboat. The lineup for 2023 includes 80+ performers, ranging from American Aquarium to Vanilla Ice. Tickets to the full event sell out months before the first notes sound, but the event producers present performances at local bars and on the mountain from Saturday, Jan. 7-Thursday, Jan. 12. 

Strings Music Pavilion, famous as the venue for Strings Music Festival in summer, hosts a variety of nationally renowned performers throughout the winter. Stylings range from classic rock to contemporary stars. 

The pavilion is also the setting for the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra’s annual Holiday Concert, Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 3-4.  Professional musicians from throughout the West, who present a memorable symphonic experience in the first half of this event, are joined by local students after intermission. Together, they perform traditional holiday pieces in a program that has come to represent the start of the holidays for many local families.

The winter concert schedule hits full stride in early March, when WinterWonderGrass transforms the Knoll Parking Lot  into an entire community, with four stages, bars, shops, food trucks and above all, a nonstop lineup of the nation’s most famous blue/newgrass stars. Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon, Paul Cauthen and the Infamous Stringdusters are set to headline the the event’s 10th anniversary show. 

(Photo: Steamboat-based bluegrass band Buffalo Commons takes a selfie with the crowd at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area during a Bud Light Rocks the Boat free concert.) 

The same passion for sound that drives crowds to WinterWonderGrass also fuels support for Buffalo Commons. What started as a local club band has emerged onto the national scene with the release of its debut album, “Patterns,” last fall. 

Music moves to the mountain in spring, when the Bud Light Free Concert Series makes its debut on the new stage in Gondola Square. Six weekends of sound are planned to close out the 2023 ski season. 

In addition to festivals and outdoor concerts, live music is scheduled regularly at local venues like Schmiggity’s in downtown Steamboat. Snow Bowl may seem like an unlikely setting for a concert, but the popularity of its summer music series may have inspired it to continue its concert schedule this winter. 

From Beethoven to bluegrass, the Steamboat music scene sets the tone for ski season.