Top summer arts and cultural events

Summer in the Roaring Fork Valley is extraordinary, and it's made even better by amazing arts and cultural events unique to Aspen Snowmass. Peruse the top arts and cultural summer events of 2017 below.

Summer Words | June 18–23

Recognized as one of the nation's top literary gatherings, Summer Words is a six-day celebration of words, stories and ideas held annually in Aspen. Guests can take part in advanced workshops with renowned authors and teachers to create manuscripts, while introductory classes invite participants to explore the craft of writing. Evening events include readings, receptions and the annual Aspen Words Benefit Dinner.

Aspen Ideas Festival | June 22–July 1

Presented by the Aspen Institute in partnership with The Atlantic magazine, the Aspen Ideas Festival is the nation’s premier public gathering place for leaders around the globe to discuss and present ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times. Programming for this series includes lectures, debates and one-on-one interviews. Attendees can interact with public officials, artists, scientists, authors, business executives, scholars, economists, foreign policy specialists, entrepreneurs and much more! 

JAS Café | June 22–August 20

Featuring intimate jazz performances all summer long, the JAS Café takes place in multiple venues in Aspen, including Downstairs at The Little Nell, The Cooking School of Aspen and Upstairs at The Aspen Art Museum. Visitors will enjoy candlelit performances alongside delicious food and beverage options. Highlighted performers include Hiromi Duet, Jamison Ross, Butler, Bernstein & The Hot 9 and Jacob Collier.

JAS June Experience | June 23–July 1

The June Experience showcases world-class musicians at the spectacular Benedict Music Tent in Aspen, with multiple shows at the JAS Café Upstairs at the Aspen Art Museum and Downstairs at The Little Nell. A free lawn party will take place nightly (June 23-25) on the Benedict Music Tent grounds prior to the main stage acts, and includes live music, food and beverage stations. The 2017 lineup includes Jon Batiste & Stay Human, Michael McDonald, Earth, Wine & Fire, Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton, Tower of Power and Elle @ 100, Direct from the Apollo on July 1.

JAS June Experience in Aspen, ColoradoPhoto: JAS June Experience | Aspen Snowmass

Theatre Aspen | June 24–Sept. 16

The mission of Theatre Aspen is to rekindle a sense of discovery in the Roaring Fork Valley by producing big theatre in a small, intimate space. The lineup for this summer includes Hairspray, The World According to Snoopy, a new show during the Aspen Theatre Festival and more!

Aspen Antiques, Jewelry, Automobiles & Fine Arts Fair | July 1–9

Entering its 15th year, this fair brings an electric atmosphere with fun events and the world's elite collectors and art connoisseurs. The event is hosted in the Ice Garden in downtown Aspen, where dealers and patrons will be surrounded by many activities combining fine art, exquisite dining and beautiful summer weather.

Santa Fe Ballet | July 8–Aug. 18

Created in 1996 by Bebe Schweppe, The Santa Fe Ballet formed a dual-city relationship with Santa Fe in 2000, broadening its scope and creating year-round ballet opportunities. Today, the Santa Fe Ballet holds bold vision with top global choreographers, distinctive groundbreaking repertoire and virtuoso dancers. Their two locations—the Rocky Mountains of Aspen and the Southwestern plateaus of Santa Fe—inspire and influence the dance field at large. This year performances will include pieces from Apollo and Romeo & Juliet, in addition to original pieces with dancers hand-picked from the New York City Ballet. 

Santa Fe Ballet in Aspen, ColoradoPhoto: The Santa Fe Ballet

Art Aspen | Aug. 3–6

Owned by Atlanta-based Urban Expositions, the producer of Art Hamptons, Houston Art Fair, Art Palm Springs and the SOFA Fair in Chicago, Art Aspen brings together galleries from around the world, exhibiting modern and contemporary art in a variety of media, including painting, photography, sculpture and mixed media. The fair will also host a variety of talks and lectures for visitors, taking place at the Aspen Ice Garden.

Red Brick Plein Air Festival | Aug. 6–13

En plein air is a French expression meaning "in the open air", and refers to the act of painting outdoors with the artist’s subject in full view. Plein air artists capture the spirit and essence of a landscape or subject by incorporating natural light, color and movement into their works. The festival consists of five days of painting time for Colorado-based artists that were chosen through an application process. Several events will be available for guests to meet with the artists and view their entire portfolios of work inspired by Aspen. 

MountainSummit: Mountainfilm in Aspen | Aug. 23–27

This documentary-style film festival showcases nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues that matter to their audience. The festival also brings together world-class athletes, speakers, change makers and visionary artists. The festival will be held at the Wheeler Opera House. 

JAS Labor Day Experience | Sept. 1–3

Labor Day with Jas Aspen includes three days of world-class musical experiences and crowds of up to 11,000 people per day. Along with headline performances, two smaller stages keep the music going all day with a mix of up and coming artists. Other entertainment includes shopping, eclectic food and beverage vendors, a kid's corner and more. The 2017 lineup includes Maroon 5, Keith Urban, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Daryl Hall & John Oats, The Roots and more!

JAS Labor Day Experience in Aspen, ColoradoPhoto: JAS Labor Day Experience | Aspen Snowmass