The Boulder music scene is as eclectic and diverse as the population of the city, with a number of different venues offering shows just about every night of the week in just about every genre you can think of. Boulder is home to classical, jazz, pop, informal street performances and sold-out shows in the historic Macky Auditorium.
CU-Boulder’s Macky Auditorium is 100 years old. The 2,000-seat concert hall is located at the Norlin Quadrangle Historic District on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder. Performers who have graced the stage at Macky over the years include Eleanor Roosevelt, the Dalai Lama, the American Ballet Theatre, Yo-Yo Ma, Dave Matthews, Jane Goodall and Conan O’Brien, among many others.
The Boulder Theater is located in downtown Boulder, just off the Pearl Street Mall, and is a fun place to spend an evening. The Chautauqua Auditorium is in Chautauqua Park at the base of the Flatirons, and offers lodging as well as event facilities. It was opened in 1898.
Boulder is also home to a variety of music, including the Boulder Chamber Orchestra, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Ars Nova Singers, the Boulder Chorale, and others. Every January, Boulder hosts an annual celebration honoring Austrian composer Gustav Mahler called the Colorado MahlerFest. Each summer brings the Colorado Music Festival, a six-week classical music festival with professional musicians from around the world.
From June through mid-August, be sure to check out Bands on the Bricks where local bands perform on the Pearl Street Mall just south of the Courthouse on Wednesday nights. A different band is featured each week, with styles ranging from bluegrass to funk to zydeco to oldies. Street performers, also called buskers, frequent downtown Boulder particularly on warm days and weekends.
There are a number of successful musicians who hail from the Boulder area. Acoustic Junction, one of the original "jam bands" started in Boulder in the early 1990s. Singer-songwriter Wendy Woo and jazz musician Chris Wood both grew up in Boulder. Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys is originally from Boulder, as are The String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Rose Hill Drive, Baldo Rex, 3OH!3, and The Samples. Members of the industrial rock group Ministry went to school in Boulder. Otis Taylor, an award-winning blues musician, has lived in Boulder since 1967.
With its diverse local music scene, you never know who you might run into when you are cruising around Boulder.