Fort Collins harbors a community that loves its music. Every day of the week you can find an eclectic variety of music all over the city, and the best part is that most of it is free! While the Aggie Theater, Hodi’s Halfnote, and the Downtown Artery bring in larger acts (at a cost, most of the time), there are plenty of establishments in town that provide top notch entertainment at no cost at all. Whether you are a player or simply an enjoyer of music, here is my rundown of what to check out on any given day of the week in Fort Collins.
Monday is one of my favorite nights for free music in Fort Collins. Lucky Joe’s Sidewalk Saloon hosts an open mic starting at 9pm that always brings in amazing talent. My personal suggestion, however, would be to head over to Hodi’s Halfnote at 7pm for some free stand-up comedy, shortly followed by a weekly funk jam starting at 9pm. The funk jam never disappoints, and always welcomes new talent to come on stage and contribute to the funk!
On Tuesday, you’ve got to head to Avogadro’s Number to check out their open mic. Avo’s has one of the best outdoor patios in town and when the weather is nice, the music is held outside. Awesome music, relaxing atmosphere, and stellar food/drink specials make Avo’s one of my favorite places to go, especially on Tuesday nights. If you are planning on playing, sign up early as the spots fill up fast. 7pm-late.
Another one of my favorite places in the area is the Swing Station just northwest of town. The Swing Station has more of a country-blues vibe but is always hosting different musical events throughout the week. During the crazy ice storm of early 2017, my roommate and I decided to conquer the roads and head to the open mic that night. The bar was fairly dead considering the road conditions, but it turned out to be one of my fondest Fort Collins memories. Only a few musicians showed up that night (me, my roommate, and a few oldtimers) so we all got on stage together and played the blues, shared stories, and drank good beer until the morning hours. It is a night I will never forget! Like Avo’s, the Swing Station has an awesome patio and hosts the music outside whenever possible. Music goes from 7pm-late every Wednesday. Lucky Joe’s also hosts a Celtic Jam on Wednesday nights at the same time.
Thursdays are for the blues. Head to the Tap and Handle for the highly recommended blues jam! Music starts at 7pm. Or, if you are up for the drive, the Mishawaka Amphitheatre hosts an open jam every Thursday night that features all types of music. The Mish is a Fort Collins treasure located about 15 miles up the Poudre Canyon that lies right on the banks of the Poudre River. One of the most scenic venues in the state! If you can’t make the drive and aren’t a fan of the blues, head to The Boot Grill to check out their open mic (also starting at 7pm).
Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Once the weekend approaches, venues tend to book more well known bands that require a cover charge. It is usually a small fee ranging from $5-20, and is almost always well worth the money. However, Lucky Joe’s hosts a free late night open mic on Sunday that starts at 9pm.
And that concludes the rundown! Along with these weekly happenings, many restaurants will host spontaneous events throughout the week so I would suggest double checking the events calendar at visitfortcollins.com before you head out for the night to see what your options are. Whatever you choose, I can guarantee you will enjoy a night of good music and great company!