The home of Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival is Huerfano County, Colorado, with events taking place in the communities of La Veta, Walsenburg, Gardner, and Cuchara, and at Uptop on Old La Veta Pass. At an average elevation of 6200 ft, Huerfano is considered high desert and boasts clean air, beautiful mountains, and a variety of interesting nooks and crannies to explore. The altitude can be an issue for some people (altitude sickness), but don’t let that spoil your fun. Just remember to drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen, and keep in mind that alcohol affects people differently at altitude.
Festival events begin with the Welcome Gathering at Uptop Thursday afternoon. Uptop is a ghost town situated at the top of Old La Veta Pass. At over 9000 ft, Uptop provides an excellent spot for a picnic and music. You can access Uptop from two exits off Highway 160. For directions, please check here. As you will see in the link, mile marker 281 comes first as you drive from La Veta or Walsenburg. However, the road to Uptop is rougher and steeper.
The mountain community of Cuchara is the setting for Thursday’s happy hour pub gathering – the first of the weekend – with The Lads at Dog Bar. Here is a Google map of the Dog Bar location, and their website.
The first event of our concert series – Taste of Things to Come – takes place Thursday evening at the Community Center in Gardner. A perennial favorite, this concert gives festival-goers a chance to sample the talents of all the performers who will teach and entertain at workshops and concerts throughout Festival Weekend. The venue is small and always packed, so it’s best to make your reservations early. There are two routes to Gardner. County Rd. 520 off of Highway 160 is shorter but is a dirt road up to Highway 69. The route through Walsenburg is longer but paved and smoother.
Nestled against the Spanish Peaks, the town of La Veta provides the numerous venues which host the majority of Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday daytime events, including workshops, mini concerts, and demonstration/performances. See the detailed La Veta venue map and venue listings below. La Veta is also home to Sunday’s double finale concerts and where all events associated with the Piping Retreat occur.
Last, but not least, Walsenburg is the hub for Friday late afternoon event (6th St. Hooley) and evening concert, as well as the Saturday dinner buffet and evening concert. The evening concerts take place at the Art Deco-inspired Washington School Theater, donated for festival use by the Huerfano School District RE-1. You can find map locations for Walsenburg here and here.
Discover more about the area, lodging, camping, and points of interest at Spanish Peaks Country or the La Veta Cuchara Chamber of Commerce website. Here you’ll find current, complete listings for all the communities in Huerfano County.
If you’re looking for a nice drive in Spanish Peaks Country, you can’t beat Highway 12, the scenic byway that wraps around the Spanish Peaks. Check the route here.