2018 Music Festival Highlights - Festy GoNuts!

2018 Music Festival Highlights

by Jan 2, 2019Music

2018 Music Festival Highlights

Is 2018 seriously over? Didn’t I just write this article for 2017? What a whirlwind this year has been!  And, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

This year was a little different for Festy GoNuts.  We made a concerted effort to stay put as much as possible, and to enjoy this beautiful state of Colorado to the max. Sure, we still managed to jump on 18 planes, a few trains and clocked about 20,000 miles on our Subaru (Yes, we own a Subaru.  We live in Colorado, duh!).  But, for the most part, our musical adventures were experienced in this great state!

2018 was a year to focus on shaping Festy GoNuts into more.  More interviews, more product reviews, more contributors (yah!), more music!  We want it to be an ultimate source of information for all festival lovers – virgins and experienced! 

Thank you all for your amazing support – for sharing our articles and commenting on our posts, for recognizing our efforts and becoming our friends!  We do this because of you – and we hope you enjoy it.  Now, let’s make sure 2019 kicks ass. 

And now, check out our “2018 Music Festival Highlights”!

Days of Music

Music Festivals Attended

Colorado Music Festivals Attended

States Where We Saw Music

Amazing Year

Best Inaugural Festival

The first annual Bender Jamboree had everybody talking.  The lineup was jaw-dropping.  The location was Vegas. And all the fun was just an elevator ride away! It’s no easy feat to put on a music festival, and many first-year music festivals leave lots of room for improvement.  But Bender left many people impressed and wanting more.  I suggest you grab your tickets for 2019 Bender Jamboree in Las Vegas, NV before they’re gone!

Check out our recap of Bender Jamboree 2018.

Bender Jamboree 2018

Best Final Year Festival

Leftover Salmon at the Stanley Hotel has been an annual tradition for Festy GoNuts for the past 4 years.  Every year is the best one yet, and every year we talk about how it’s the best time of the year.  It’s a reunion, a convention, a full-on dance party.  Sadly, this was the final year for Salmon at the Stanley – but of course, it may have been the best one ever. But we’ve all graduated (with high marks!), and we’re moving on up.  Hope to see you at Leftover Salmon’s Boogie at the Broadmoor in March 2019!

Most Nostalgic Festival

The Mountain Sun Brewery celebrated their 25th Anniversary by throwing the Colorado Kind Festival at Planet Bluegrass this summer.   The Mountain Sun owners and employees have been family to us, and we discovered the wonders of the thriving Colorado live music scene through their connections.  Spending the weekend at Planet Bluegrass,  dancing under the Colorado skies, and listening to String Cheese Incident, Motet, and Yonder Mountain String Band was the perfect way to wrap up our summer festivities.

Best in Show

Telluride Bluegrass Festival is not a music festival.  It’s a tradition that’s passed on through generations. Each generation adds to it, improves it and passes it on again. If you’re doing it right, it’s a week-long event filled with hundreds of your favorite people, favorite musicians and favorite activities.  Everything and everyone is at the top of their game. The mountains are killing it.  The camps are killing it.  The musicians are killing it, day and night.  And you know that are absolutely killing it.  You leave Telluride knowing that in the game of life, you are winning. 

Musical Highlights of 2018

David Byrne Goes on Tour

David Byrne put out a new album (“America Utopia”), and then toured relentlessly.  In true David Byrne style, he blew away audiences around the globe with his theatrical show.  It wasn’t just a concert, it was a production.  Some say it was fit for Broadway, but clearly, it needed a bigger stage – and that’s just what David Byrne gave it.  With the world as his stage, he treated thousands of fans to one of the most incredible musical moments that can only happen once in their lifetime.  It may be biased, but I’m pretty sure this performance at Red Rocks might have been the best show of the entire tour.


Sturgill Simpson at Telluride

It may have seemed strange to have Sturgill Simpson play the final set of one of the largest bluegrass festivals in the country.  But when Sturgill took the stage at the 2018 Telluride Bluegrass Festival, he announced “We haven’t slept.  We’re high as fuck!  It’s the last night of the festival.  Let’s do this shit!”   The audience pretty much went insane, and we all thought – okay then, Sturgill! Sounds like you might fit in nicely with this crowd!  Sturgill went on to rock that Telluride stage possibly harder than it’s ever been rocked before – and the crowd went into a frenzy.  It was truly a musical moment that will go down in Bluegrass history. 

Sturgill Simpson Telluride 2018

Leftover Salmon's Album Release Week

If you’re going to release an album, why not make a big deal out of it?  It was good to live in Colorado when Leftover Salmon released their album “Something Higher” this year.  Fans were treated to multiple performances, including a show at e-Town, a secret Living Room show at Telluride Bluegrass, record shopping with band members at Albums on the Hill, and a party at Meier Skis (including commemorative skis made for the occasion).  Plus, they had lots of prizes and giveaways leading up to the album release.  It was one of the most impressive album release promotions, and it created several musical highlights for our 2018. 

leftover salmon something higher album cover

Tenth Mountain Division's Album Release Show

Tenth Mountain Division had a kick-ass year.  They got signed by Madison House, and put out a killer new album (“In Good Company”).  They toured around the country, and solidified a huge new fan base.  For a bunch of young musicians who just seemed to have truly come together as a band last year, it seems like things are going pretty well for them.  And perhaps a sign of that success was their album release party at Ophelia’s Soapbox (September 2018).  It felt pretty cool to see this band play to a sold-out venue as they rocked out their newest songs to promote the album.

Jeff Austin Band at Cervantes

When Jeff Austin Band played at Cervantes Masterpiece in Denver (January 2018), nobody really knew what to expect. Fans of Jeff have had a really hard time dealing with his breakup from Yonder – as I’m sure you’ve heard. Pretty sure everyone’s expectations were blown away after the show that evening.  The crowd was treated to some past favorites and exposed to some new JAB jams. And Jeff’s fire has been fueled all year long.  If you haven’t seen Jeff Austin Band this year, do NOT miss him in 2019.

Watch the crowd go crazy when Jeff Austin Band plays “Boatman” at Cervantes!

Check out our review of the Jeff Austin Band show at Cervantes.

Festy GoNuts 2018 Favorites

Favorite Outdoor Concert Venue

Red Rocks Amphitheater won this category last year, and they damn well may win every year.  (Although, there are a few new outdoor venues popping up that we’ll need to check out in 2019).  When Red Rocks season kicks off, I’m reminded of why I love living in Colorado.  We are truly blessed to have this iconic venue practically in our backyard, and this year gave us some incredible shows! 

Our 2018 Highlights: David Byrne, Nine Inch Nails, Greensky Bluegrass with TurkuazPhil Lesh with Leftover Salmon

Favorite Interview

Ronnie McCoury is one hell of a nice guy, and we were super honored to have the opportunity to interview him in 2018. He’s got a pretty busy schedule, touring with the Travelin’ McCoury’s and touring with his dad in the Del McCoury Band. So, it meant a lot that he took some time to chat about the new albums both bands had out this year, and about one of the greatest music festivals in history – DelFest

Check out our interview with Ronnie McCoury! 

Ronnie McCoury Interview 2018

Favorite Floating Festival

YarmonyGrass certainly deserves its very own shout-out in this 2018 music festival recap.  We’ve been to dozens of music festivals in all parts of this country, but there’s something special about this riverside fest just a few hours from our house.  It’s pretty epic that the stage for the afternoon sets is literally floating in the river – and you get to float in the water right next to it! So many elements come together to make this music festival magical that it’s hard to sum it all up.  But we tried!  

Read our review of YarmonyGrass 2018 – Only a River…

YarmonyGrass 2018

Favorite Finally-Getting-Back-To Festival

Northwest String Summit may have been the music festival where Festy GoNuts was conceived.  It was certainly a huge part of our inspiration.  Horning’s Hideout is simply magical, and it felt good to finally get back to Northwest String Summit for the first time in years!  It was possibly our most anticipated music festival of 2018 – and it did not disappoint.  We certainly won’t be waiting so long to get back to one of the most incredible music festivals in this country. 

Read our review of Northwest String Summit 2018:  Magic at Horning’s

Northwest String Summit 2018

Thanks for reliving 2018 Best Music Festival Moments with us!

We did it!  We survived 2018 – and to be honest, had a hell of a good time doing it.  Sure, every year brings ups and down, highs and lows.  But if you surround yourself with good people and good music, you’re sure to find some good times to get you through the bad times. Hopefully those good times came out on top this year!

Cheers to all of you for supporting us this year!  And here’s to another amazing year ahead.


Enjoy some of our favorite music festival moments of 2018!

Funky Festival Gear

We like to look good and wear fun stuff when we attend music festivals.

With our “GoNuts Stuff”, you’ll be the coolest kid on the playground.  We also do custom designs, so drop us a line if you want something made!

Visit the Festy GoNuts Shop for your fun festy gear.

Gear for Music Festivals by Festy GoNuts

About The Author

Kelly Day

Kelly is pretty crazy about live music, camping, road trips and making lots of new friends. So, music festivals are basically the best thing in the world to her. She really wants Festy GoNuts to become a huge success so she can continue to drive around the country checking out live music, camping and making lots of new friends. Sounds like a plan.

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