May 14, 2021 | ACTIVE LIFE | By Tia Vierling | Photo by Isaac Yee

Colorado College students are famous for living by the expression “work hard, play hard.” After all, what better way to relax after a stressful block of chemistry, anthropology, or computer science than to take the block break for self-care? For many CC students, one of the best ways to take a break has typically been to attend concerts and shows in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant dwindling opportunities to attend safe events. Artists and entertainers across the country have been adapting. At CC, the setup for Llamapalooza 2021 changed to an extended-format event on the Saturdays of Block 8, with both virtual performances and live screening opportunities. As the summer approaches, so too does an exciting prospect: more local outdoor events.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, sitting just over an hour away from CC, is back at it. The open-air amphitheater, nestled between the venue’s titular red rocks and with a picturesque view, has already been hosting concerts and “Film on the Rocks Drive-In” shows; they will continue this schedule into the summer. Some selected upcoming drive-in shows will be “The Avengers” (June 4), “Legally Blonde” (June 17)“The Shining” (June 20), “Jurassic Park” (July 19), “The Princess Bride” (Aug. 2). 

Red Rocks will also be hosting concerts over the summer, featuring Michael Franti & Spearhead (June 5-6), The Avett Brothers (July 9-11), and Louis the Child (Aug. 26-27).

For fans of jazz who would rather stay local, Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, just a five-minute walk from campus, will be putting on Jazz in the Garden performances for free, every other Friday from May 31 to August 23. The Air Force Academy Falconaires will play on Aug. 9.

In a similar jazz and blues vein, from 7:00-8:00 p.m. every Monday and Thursday at Soda Springs Park in Manitou Springs, outdoor performances by groups like the Little London Winds, Silver Moon Riders, and Swing Factory big band will be featured. 

From the smaller local offerings to the bigger events offered by venues like Red Rocks, the transition back to “normalcy” in the outdoor concert realm is still in its beginning stages. Red Rocks, which according to CNBC does not require temperature checks, proof of vaccine, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test for attendees, nevertheless maintains more extensive distancing outside, with groups being asked to social distance from each other.

With all of the uncertainty created by the pandemic, attendance at concerts and performances has both decreased and been altered drastically, especially for indoor concerts, plays, films, and other shows. However, as members of the Colorado Springs community continue to be vaccinated, outdoor concerts and events are coming to the forefront as a safe and (often) accessible way for students to take a break and move towards normalcy. 

As the school year comes for a close, it’s certainly worth taking a look at the different options for entertainment in the Springs — especially for those students staying local. For students going home to other states, outdoor shows are opening up across the country for the summer. Whether in Colorado or outside of it, there will hopefully continue to be good and safe performances for students to attend. 

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