After a long, cold winter, Niwot residents are ready to get out and savor Colorado in all of its summer-time glory. Rock & Rails is back bringing entertaining performances to our community all summer long. Lovingly referred to as the neighbors’ largest block party, Rock & Rails provides tenured residents the chance to bump into old friends and catch up, while also giving new residents the perfect excuse to get involved and be a part of this great community.
The 14th annual Rock & Rails kicks off on June 6 at Whistle Stop Park in downtown Niwot, and continues every Thursday night in June, July and August (except July 4th). The opening act cranks up at 5 pm and the headliner will take the stage at 6:30 pm. Bring your lawn chairs, picnic blankets, five-gallon buckets, or whatever suits your fancy as seating is primarily of the “bring your own” variety and on a first come, first serve basis. If you arrive early, you may just snag a front row seat to some of Boulder County’s beloved local musicians.
The first concert begins with Legitimate by Friday, featuring Niwot High grads Mike Anderson (drums) and Michael Warren (guitar), opening for the ever popular Motown band, One on One.
No matter your musical taste, Rock & Rails has something for all listeners. From Motown to funk, and Afro fusion to blues, the lineup is varied, talented, and sure to keep guests dancing into the evening. Nationally recognized bands such as Face, Hazel Miller and Mojomama bring their acclaimed performances to Niwot, giving audience members a cool, intimate experience with incredibly talented artists.
If you’re not in the mood to cook, bring the family down for delicious fare from area food vendors. Cheesy Abo’s Pizza, zesty Georgia Boys Barbeque, and rich Sweet Cow ice cream flavors are sure to satisfy all appetites and cravings. Attendees are allowed to pack in snacks, dessert, or even a four-course meal but must leave the alcohol at home. Beer, wine and margaritas are available for purchase at the beer tent.
As much as Niwot loves dogs, only ADA recognized service dogs are allowed at the concert, so please leave your pets at home. According to the ADA website, “Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.” Alcohol is not allowed to be brought in and what’s purchased at Rock & Rails, needs to be consumed at the venue. Smoking and vaping are not permitted.
Year after year, this event draws a crowd because there’s something for all ages. In addition to live music and tasty eats, other vendors are set to offer face painting and hair extensions. Talented hula-hoop performer Jody Evans once again brings her unique performance to Rock & Rails, and you can purchase your own hula-hoop to try out your skills.
Since its inauguration in 2006, Rock & Rails has been organized and operating primarily by volunteers, which is another testament to the Niwot community. For the past five years, the event has been operated under the direction of the Niwot Cultural Arts Association in conjunction with the Niwot Business Association, with significant support from local business sponsors and the Niwot Local Improvement District. Kids and adults can sign up to work an event and see Rock & Rails from a new perspective.
Rock & Rails welcomes back the Tip Jar program, which collects funds for local non-profit organizations during each concert. Tip Jars are placed at the beverage tent and front entrance. Last year, collections raised a record $17,600. The giving continues this year and will go towards Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center, Niwot Historical Society, Left Hand Giving Circle, Via Mobility, Niwot Youth Sports and the Left Hand Water Conservancy District, among others. Opening night will benefit Whistle Stop Park, with proceeds kicking off a fundraising campaign to fund a permanent building to house the beer tent.
Niwot’s close-knit community draws people from all walks of life, many of whom have incredible backstories and intriguing lives. Rock & Rails puts Niwot’s talented community in one spot, giving people the chance to rekindle old friendships and establish new ones, which strengthens the community, one Thursday night concert at a time.