2018 jam and folk shows at Red Rocks
Umphrey's McGee/YouTube

The Grateful Dead--universally recognized as the founding fathers of the modern jamband scene--made their debut at Red Rocks on July 7, 1978, the first of a two-night run for the iconic band at the iconic amphitheatre. While The Dead are one of the greatest rock band’s of all time and practically spawned an entire culture and genre, there was a time when a young Jerry Garcia was a clean cut bluegrass kid and folk junkie. 

A lot of Jerry’s early bluegrass and folk influences organically seeped into The Dead’s music. The Dead released two masterpieces (of folk rock really) in 1970: Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty. In 1973, Jerry Garcia helped to lead a bluegrass revival along with an all-star band of bluegrass musicians called Old and in the Way. 

In short, the genres of folk, bluegrass, rock (and more recently electronic) are all integral ingredients in the melange that is jamband music. Here at AXS, we’ve got the low down on the best jam and folk groups coming to Red Rocks in 2018.

Up and coming Vermont jamband Twiddle gets the heady season started on May 4 followed by one of the founding fathers of jam, Phil Lesh with his son Grahame Lesh and their Terrapin Family Band for what promises to be a pretty epic Cinco de Mayo celebration. Late May brings Colorado’s own folk songsmiths Elephant Revival, California americana darlings The Devil Makes Three and closes out with first generation electro-jammers The Disco Biscuits.

The Colorado love continues in June with Colorado funk outfit The Motet and Boombox, the latter has embraced the Colorful Colorado as their own (Boombox is also led by Zion Godchaux, the son of Grateful Dead singer Donna-Jean Godchaux). It just wouldn’t be June at Red Rocks without Widespread Panic, the band holds the record-which is pretty much unbreakable--for most consecutive sellouts at 54. They’re going for 57 this year.

July contains some big multiple runs from some of jam and folk’s biggest names. Avett Brothers get July started early with a three-night run beginning June 29 followed quickly by another three-night run from jam titans Umphrey’s McGee. Mid-June keeps it jammy with Grateful Dead tribute act Dark Star Orchestra along one man jamband Keller Williams ahead of first generation jammers moe. Colorado’ jamgrass heroes String Cheese Incident will take the stage for three nights and Tedeschi Trucks Band brings their Wheels of Soul tour to Red Rocks to close down a busy July.

August features heavily on jamgrass with Yonder Mountain String Band, Infamous Stringdusters and Old Crow Medicine Shows. And don’t forget the bluegrass-tinged comedy of Steve Martin & Martin Short with The Steep Canyon Rangers. Brandi Carlile, Shovels & Rope and Shakey Graves have the roots rock covered while Joe Russo’s Almost Dead keeps the Dead thread running through August.

While September get underway with the blue-eyed soul of Lake Street Dive as well as the big sound of Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, goes grassy again with Punch Brothers and two nights of Greensky Bluegrass. Appropriately, September closes with Colorado-based singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov. You can find a complete list of jam and folk acts at Red Rocks in 2018 below.

Red Rocks 2018 Jam and Folk shows:

Fri. May 4 - Twiddle & Stick Figure w/The Hip Abduction (Get Tickets
Sat. May 5 - Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band w/Leftover Salmon (Get Tickets)
Sun. May 20 - Elephant Revival w/Blind Pilot (Get Tickets)
Fri. May 25 - The Devil Makes Three w/The Wood Brothers, Murder By Death(Get Tickets)
Sun. May 27 - The Disco Biscuits w/Spafford, Organ Freeman (Get Tickets)
Sat. June 2 - The Motet & BoomBox w/The New Mastersounds (Get Tickets)
Fri. June 23 - Widespread Panic (Get Tickets)
Sat. June 24 - Widespread Panic (Get Tickets)
Sun. June 25 - Widespread Panic (Get Tickets)
Fri. June 29 - The Avett Brothers w/David Crosby & Friends (Sold Out)
Sat. June 30 - The Avett Brothers w/Mandolin Orange (Get Tickets)
Sun. - July 2 - The Avett Brothers w/TBD (Get Tickets)
Thur. July 5 - Umphrey's McGee (Get Tickets)
Fri. July 6 - Umphrey's McGee (Get Tickets)
Sat. July 7 - Umphrey's McGee (Get Tickets)
Sun. July 8 - Dark Star Orchestra w/Keller Williams (Get Tickets)
Thur. July 12 - moe. (Get Tickets)
Thur. July 19 - Trampled By Turtles w/The Oh Hellos, Dead Horses (Get Tickets)
Fri. July 20 - The String Cheese Incident w/ JJ Grey & Mofro (Get Tickets)
Sat. July 21 - The String Cheese Incident w/The Main Squeeze (Get Tickets)
Sun. July 22 - The String Cheese Incident w/Rising Appalachia (Get Tickets)
Sat. July 28 - Tedeschi Trucks Band w/ Drive-By Truckers, The Marcus King Band (Get Tickets)
Sun. July 29 - Tedeschi Trucks Band w/Drive-By Truckers, The Marcus King Band (Get Tickets)
Sat. Aug. 4 - Yonder Mountain String Band & The Infamous Stringdusters w/The Earls of Leicester presented by Jerry Douglas, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades (Get Tickets)
Sun. Aug. 12 - Brandi Carlile w/Shovels & Rope (Get Tickets)
Thur. Aug. 16 - Joe Russo's Almost Dead (Get Tickets)
Fri. Aug. 17 - Old Crow Medicine Show (Get Tickets)
Thur. Aug. 30 - Shakey Graves w/Jose Gonzalez, Twin Peaks (Get Tickets)
Tue. Sept. 4 - Lyle Lovett and His Large Band w. Margo Price (Get Tickets)
Thur. Sept 6 - Lake Street Dive w/ Josh Ritter (Get Tickets)
Mon. Sept. 17 - Punch Brothers & Gillian Welch (Get Tickets)
Sat. Sept. 22 - Greensky Bluegrass w/The California Honeydrops (Get Tickets)
Sun. Sept. 23 - Greensky Bluegrass w/Turkuaz (Get Tickets)
Sun. Sept 30 - Gregory Alan Isakov w/Patty Griffin (Get Tickets)