Held in Lyons, Colorado near the soaring peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival is a family-friendly celebration of acclaimed and emerging folk artists. For three days, festival attendees gather for outdoor sets, intimate songwriter showcases, and on-site camping along the banks of the St. Vrain River.
Presented by Planet Bluegrass, the same organizers behind the popular Telluride Bluegrass Festival that also takes place each summer in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons is just a short journey from Denver or Boulder. Still, it feels like an isolated paradise in the alpine wilderness.
In addition to enjoying music performances, RV campers who attend the event can take advantage of nearby outdoor adventures and charming Colorado cities in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Opportunities for hiking, fishing, hunting, and sightseeing abound.
Tickets to the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival typically go on sale the winter before the event and are sold online through a third-party vendor. Choose between a one-day pass or a three-day pass for the entire duration of the event as well as packages for festival tickets and camping. Prices have ranged from $80 for a single-day ticket to $250 for a three-day pass plus access to a campground with full hook-ups for RV campers. Payment plans are available, as are early-bird discounts.
The Rocky Mountain Folks Festival is held in Lyons, Colorado, which is a half-hour outside of Boulder and an hour away from Denver. The festival grounds and the town of Lyons are in a rural, mountainous region. Expect narrow, winding roads that will take you and your RV through wilderness areas where wildlife and inclement weather are both possibilities.
If you choose to camp elsewhere and plan on driving to the festival for the day, on-site parking may be available in designated lots for about $2 per day or $5 for the duration of the festival. Re-entry is allowed. Be sure to park in the official festival parking lot, as locals in the town of Lyons do not want vehicles parked in residential areas.
Day parking is typically restricted to vehicles under 18 feet and is not open to RVs or trailers. In past years, additional parking for cars only has opened up prior to the event for approximately $20 per vehicle.
You can access the festival in Lyons from Denver or Boulder via public transportation and shuttles. For specific schedules and information about stops, check with these services. Be aware that due to the remote mountain location of the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, public transportation may not run as frequently as it does in metro areas.
There are two different camping options at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, including the On-Site Campground, which is only for tents, and the LaVern Johnson Park Campground, which is open to RV campers and is located along the river in the shade of cottonwood trees. Amenities include restrooms, showers, potable water, playgrounds, and access to whitewater course. This campground is about a five-minute walk from the festival grounds and is operated by the Town of Lyons.
Nearby campgrounds can be found in the nearby towns of Boulder, Longmont, and Fort Collins, all of which are about a half-hour drive from Lyons. RV campers looking to explore nearby Rocky Mountain National Park may also wish to stay in Estes Park at the gateway to the national park entrance. Estes Park KOA is about a 30-minute drive through local forestlands. RV camping options in the Lyons area range from dry camping to RV campgrounds with full hookups.
There is a free shuttle bus from the parking area to the festival grounds. Festival-goers are also welcome to ride bicycles to and from campgrounds. For those who need ADA accommodations, the festival grounds will be open 15 minutes early to allow easier access. This is an outdoor event, so expect grass, rocks, and uneven footing.
Like nearby Denver, Lyons is a high-altitude alpine town, so pack for summer in the mountains. That means layers including shorts and t-shirts for during the day and fleeces and long pants for at night. Pack comfortable, sturdy shoes, a hat, sunglasses, and a rain jacket just in case.
Hydration is key, so bring a reusable water bottle. You should also bring a tarp or blanket to reserve your space near the stage. Low back chairs are also allowed, though high back chairs are prohibited. In classic festival fashion, hula hoops are welcome. Frisbees are not. Lastly, bring cash to purchase unique items from vendors.
You are more likely to get a sunburn in the high altitude climate of Lyons, so bring plenty of sunscreen plus a hat and sunglasses. Also bring bug spray, a first aid kit, prescriptions, plus toiletries for the campground such as a toothbrush and toothpaste. Bring flip-flops for the showers if you plan on taking advantage of this amenity.
Campfires are not permitted at the On-Site Campground or in the LaVern Park Johnson Campground, so if you plan to cook, your RV kitchen will come in handy. There is a small grocery store in Lyons where you can buy some essentials for dinner, but you may wish to stock up at a larger store in Boulder or Denver prior to driving to the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival.
There are a limited number of dining options in the small town of Lyons. Expect mom-and-pop style eateries that operate on a small scale. For a more extensive selection of restaurants, including chains, fine dining options, and local establishments serving classic Colorado dishes, head to Estes Park, Boulder, Fort Collins, or Denver.
On-site vendors are a hallmark of the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival experience. Bring cash and enjoy everything from craft beer to vegan entrees. Be sure to have your ID on you if you’d like to purchase beer. You are also welcome to bring your own food and soda into the festival, but alcohol and glass containers are not allowed.
Whether parking in the parking area or camping on-site, always lock your vehicle when you are not inside of it. Be prepared to go through a security screening and expect the possibility of local police as well. Campgrounds offer a lively, festive environment, but security and police will make efforts to curtail any noisy or illegal behavior. Always have a parking pass on your vehicle and your festival wristband handy, as well as your ID.
Summertime weather in Lyons brings with it ample sunshine and crisp mountain air. However, weather patterns can shift suddenly. Afternoon thunderstorms and periodic hail can occur, so check the weather before you go and be prepared for a wide variety of temperatures and conditions. The festival is held rain or shine.
Limited medical resources are available at the festival. There is a hospital with an emergency room in Lyons, as well as several pharmacies. Larger hospitals can be found in Boulder and Denver. Cell phone service can be limited at the festival site, so have directions to local hospitals saved or printed out or contact festival staff and volunteers in the event of a medical emergency.