Featured Photo by Ian Knoop at Ikonic Photography
Live music and cool events are happening all summer long in Manitou Springs
Summer has arrived in Manitou Springs and this small mountainside town is one of the hottest outdoor concert locales in the Pikes Peak region for live music lovers. All season long, visitors to Manitou Springs can take their pick from a vast selection of local artists playing rock, folk, country, covers and so much more. But that’s not all. The town also attracts some pretty amazing orchestral groups, brass bands and woodwind trios, too. Wow, right? Gather up your picnic blankets, coolers, folding chairs, sunscreen and maybe a little bit of bug spray because we’re about to share key events in an incredible summer concert and event line-up that will have you practically living in Manitou Springs by the time fall rolls in. And if you hate the great outdoors (we don’t really get that, but we’re inclusive), stick around till the end, where we’ll give you some hot tips on Manitou bars and restaurants with live music, karaoke and weekly jam sessions. Let’s rock and roll!
Good Ole Summertime Ice Cream Social & Pie Baking Contest
Monday, July 1, 5:30-7 p.m. Soda Springs Park
Manitou Springs may be bumping up against Old Colorado City and Colorado Springs, but it has kept its small-town charm thriving! Take its annual ice cream social and pie baking contest, a fan favorite that brings all things summer together in a single afternoon of fun that reminds everyone of the cozy days gone by. For $2.50, you can sample tasty homemade pies and for $1.50, you can make them a la mode with Colorado City Creamery ice cream fresh from the shop in OCC (Pro Tip: You can get scoops at Garden of the Gods Trading Post, too). Of course, this is supposed to be about live music, so we’re happy to inform you that the Little London Winds Orchestra will bring the jams, playing patriotic tunes in honor of the Fourth of July. Speaking of Little London Winds …
Little London Winds Brings Class and Classical Tunes to Soda Springs Park
Mondays through August 12, 7 p.m. Soda Springs Park
Boasting around 600+ attendees each week, the Little London Winds Summer Concert Series in Manitou Springs is absolutely magical. The ensemble has been around for close to three decades and to call itself the region’s premier wind ensemble is a moniker rightfully earned. More than 40 talented members make up Little London Winds and they only got their seat by auditioning or being so fabulous they were invited. Joe Olivieri is the current conductor and his experience includes other Pikes Peak region favs like the Pikes Peak Philharmonic and the Pueblo Pops Orchestra. He’ll even pass the baton for one song each week during a special auction (proceeds support the org, which is nonprofit). Each week has a fun theme, like animated movies, super heroes and more.
- July 1: A Patriotic Celebration
- July 8: Animated Movies
- July 15: Western Night
- July 22: On Broadway
- July 29: Celebrating Super Heroes
- August: 5 A Night of Inspiration
- August 12: People’s Choice
A New Manitou Springs Fourth of July Tradition
Thursday, July 4, Noon-4:30 p.m. Soda Springs Park
After several years of catastrophic fires and constant fire danger, the Manitou Springs City Council made the tough decision to halt fireworks. Enter the beloved band Woodshed Red and other great local bands like Secondhand Street Band to lift everyone’s spirits with a brand-new tradition — live music, food and community fun sans forest-endangering sparks. This family friendly affair will have loads of food vendors cooking up American favorites like burgers and hot dogs, along with ice cold local craft beers. A free shuttle will save you the frustration of worrying about parking and a huge music line-up will ensure your fav genre gets a turn at the mic. Lawn games and hula-hoops will be scattered about, and the playground nearby will keep the kiddos entertained for hours when they aren’t begging for ice cream. The early afternoon timing means you can still catch a firework show at locations further from the mountains, or you can launch your own Uncle Sam Bar Crawl at the many bars and restaurants in Manitou Springs (see below for some options).
Music and Art at Manitou Springs First Friday
First Friday of each month, 5-8 p.m. Various locations.
Galleries all over the west side stay open late on the first Friday of each new month, inviting patrons to roam paintings, sculptures, crafts and other media from local artists. Manitou Springs is home to many talented artists, which makes a stroll totally worth your while. And the fact that there’s a shuttle to and from the town from other Art Walk areas makes it easy as pie to get there! Many of the galleries welcome local musicians to play during their shows and you’ll be introduced to artists who may not take the traditional stage, like soloists, singers and duets.
Live It Up at the Manitou Springs Library
Tuesdays, 6 p.m.
When you think library, you think quiet, right? Not on Tuesday nights. The lawn of the Manitou Springs Library rocks everyone’s socks (or flip-flops, this is Colorado, after all) with jams from folk artists, cover bands and even some Celtic artists. The cool thing about the Library Lawn Concert Series is that it’s rain or shine. When it rains, the event moves over to the Community Congregational Church so no one has to get soaked to enjoy live music. And when it shines, well, it’s a toe-tapping, fresh air affair on the grassy hillside. Like the Soda Springs series, you’ll want to bring a chair or blanket, so you can cozy up when you’re not dancing and mingling with fellow attendees.
July 2 Tenderfoot Bluegrass (Bluegrass)
- July 9: The Storys (Folk and Classic Rock)
- July 16: Out of Nowhere (Bluegrass)
- July 23: Skean Dubh (Neo-traditional Celtic)
- July 30: The Jeremy Facknitz Band (Folk-Rock)
- August 6: Bill Emery Band (Jazz & Pop)
- August 13: Unlok (Easy Listening)
Dance-Worthy Jams in Soda Springs Park
Thursdays, 7 p.m.
When it comes to live music, there are tunes you sit back and groove to — and tunes that you can’t help but dance to. Thursday night concerts in Soda Springs Park are always the latter, with a whole lot of big band, country and jazz acts to keep you twisting, stomping and swinging all evening long. Feel free to don your snazziest attire, like whooshing circle skirts and shined up brogues or cowboy boots and pearl button shirts.
- July 11: Swing Factory Big Band
- July 18: Silver Moon Riders
- July 25: Academy Jazz Ensemble
- August 1: Guz Meza
- August 8: Little London Winds
- August 15: Silver Moon Riders
March to the Beat of Your Own Drum — Literally
Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. Manitou Springs Memorial Park
Bring a drum, bring a bucket or just bring yourself to this folksy community jam session that runs May through September. It’s family-friendly and completely laid back, with opportunities to hula-hoop and dance with your new favorite friends. You’ll dig the colorful folks who have made this evening into a soothing, fun tradition for years and you’ll leave feeling ready to take on the world.
Indoor Music Venues in Manitou Springs
As promised here are some locales that offer a roof and controlled temperatures, plus cold drinks and tables.
- Adam’s Mountain Café, 26 Manitou Ave.
- Ancient Mariner, 962 Manitou Ave.
- D’Vine Wine, 934 Manitou Ave.
- Kinfolks, 950 Manitou Ave.
- The Keg, 730 Manitou Ave.
- Swirl Wine Bar, 717 Manitou Ave
- Townhouse Sports Grill, 907 Manitou Ave.
Open Mics, Jam Sessions and Karaoke
Sunday through Thursday
- Sunday: Kinfolks, open mic, 5 p.m.
- Monday: Ancient Mariner, songwriter showcase, 8 p.m.
- Tuesday: Townhouse Sports Grill, open jam, 8 p.m.
- Wednesday: Kinfolks, open mic, 7 p.m.
- Townhouse Sports Grill, open mic, 5 p.m.
- Thursday: Townhouse Sports Grill, karaoke, 8 p.m.