June 29, 2023 9:25 pm

Duane L. Coker

Gunnison, Colorado is a small town with a mountain-sized music scene. There are always live music events happening, from small, intimate shows to large festivals. Whether you’re looking for bluegrass, rock, country, or something else entirely, you’re sure to find something to your taste in Gunnison.

Here are a few of the best places to catch live music in Gunnison:

I Bar Ranch at Sunset, Gunnison, Colorado

The I Bar Ranch: This historic ranch is located just outside of Gunnison and hosts a variety of live music events throughout the year. The venue is known for its intimate, rustic setting, its incredible views of surrounding (often snow-capped) mountains, breathtaking sunsets, super friendly staff, and its lineup of up-and-coming musicians.


Most shows feature a MASSIVE bonfire.  The venue is an old barn, with the sides removed, so it’s very easy to move from the dance floor (made from reclaimed bowling lanes) outside to the bonfire area, while still watching and listening to the band.

The I Bar Ranch is truly a one-of-a-kind venue and it is definitely worth planning a trip through the Gunnsion Valley to coordinate with a show.  It’s family friendly, and a visit to the I Bar Ranch really captures the vibe of what it’s like to live in a mountain town like Gunnison.  But, be careful!!! It’s an addictive feeling for sure! 

High Alpine Brewing on Main Street in Gunnison Photo from website

High Alpine Brewing Company: This local brewery is a great place to catch an occasional live show (check their website or Facebook page for details), but, just as importantly, it’s a great place to fuel up before heading out to one of the other venues in town. The brewery has GREAT grub, including amazing artisanal pizzas and a selection of hardy sandwiches.  The beer is some of the best local brew in western Colorado and craft cocktails often incorporate their hoppy creations.  And, of course, just hanging out on the upper deck, watching the town go by, is a pretty good pastime in and of itself!



Crested Butte’s new Center for the Arts Photo from website

Crested Butte Center for the Arts: Just up the valley from Gunnison in Crested Butte, this performing arts center hosts a variety of live music events throughout the year. The center’s lineup includes both local and national acts.

The Center for the Arts also hosts Alpenglow, a free outdoor concert series that takes place on Monday evenings throughout the summer at the center. The series features a variety of musical genres, from folk to jazz to rock.

Gunnison Valley also hosts a number of music festivals throughout the year, including the Crested Butte Music Festival. The mulit-day festival takes place in July and features a variety of musical genres, from bluegrass to rock to classical.

Mid-Week on Main: Gunnison hosts a monthly (or more often) Wednesday night concert at IOOF Park on the corner of Main Street and Virginia Ave.  Local artists play to a super chill crowd.  There’s a water feature for kids (and adult “kids”) to play in and often food vendors, including TacoCat TacoCart, are on the scene serving up delicious treats.


Blue Mesa Music Store, Gunnison, Colorado Photo from website

Blue Mesa Music Store: This music store on Main Street in Downtown Gunnsion features regular shows in an intimate setting surrounded by a great selection of beautiful instruments.  Browse their website for events.  Many shows are free, and you can just wander in and out, while others require tickets. And, most shows are BYOB.  Blue Mesa Music Store also hosts a regular Open Mic night, if you have aspirations of performing in a high altitude venue!



No matter what your musical taste, you’re sure to find something to enjoy in Gunnison. With so many live music events happening all year round, you’re never far from a good show.

And, lastly for something completely different, the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley, in conjunction with local parters and sponsors, hosts one or more Gunnison Music Cruise events each year.  This is an amazing experience, during which the city tows a mobile stage all throughout town while residents follow the show on their bikes, scooters, skateboards and just about every other kind of transportation you can imagine.  The “traveling” show stops periodically so the crowd can dismount and literally dance in the streets.

Here are some additional tips for finding live music in Gunnison:

  • Check the websites of local businesses and organizations. Many businesses and organizations in Gunnison regularly host live music events.
  • Follow local musicians on social media. This is a great way to stay up-to-date on upcoming shows.

With a little planning, you’re sure to find the perfect live music event to enjoy in Gunnison.

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About the Author

Avid backcountry splitboarder, camper, overlander, traveler, foodie, trained sommelier, and lover of tech and gadgets!

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