Concert venue in Woodland Park hosts second music festival

Aspen Valley Ranch is readying to host its second Mountain of the Sun Music Festival Sept. 8 in Woodland Park.

The day-long festival will be held at the outdoor concert venue, which boosts views of the north face of Pikes Peak. The venue, which opened last summer, can host up to 4,000 people and is hoping to grow in stature until it becomes as popular as the concert venues at Red Rocks and Telluride, organizers said.

“It’s a huge challenge,” said Michael Hannigan, executive director of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, which owns and operates Aspen Valley Ranch. “Our new venue will make tremendous impacts on the Pikes Peak region far into the future. We realize that the Ranch will become much more than a concert venue.”

Aspen Valley Ranch inaugurated its stage less than a year ago, hosting the first Mountain of the Sun Music Festival. The ranch is operated by the Gordon Jackson Foundation, which partners with the PPCF to host arts and music programs.

More than 600 people attended the day-long Americana and roots music festival, most from the local community, but some traveling several hours from other Colorado towns to see event headliner Crooked Still.

This year, Aspen Valley Ranch hosted afestival in late July, produced by the Coalition of the Upper South Platte to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Hayman Fire and to raise funds for the Waldo Canyon Firefighters Fund.

“We love our natural amphitheater because it provides a perfect place to give the community a place to celebrate the good things in life: great music, incredible scenery, creative artistic and musical activities for kids and adults alike, locally-grown healthy food and locally crafted beer — the list goes on and on,” Hannigan said.

The second annual Mountain of the Sun Music Festival, from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. includes kids’ activities, a beer garden and music workshops in a nearby yurt.

This year’s festival features more national acts, with headliners The Greencards closing out a day of performances by Sierra Hull & Highway 111, Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband, the Dixie Bee-Liners, Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers and the Kailin Yong Peace Project.