The Hit List

a Guide to Wyoming’s Best Summer Festivals

Love craft brews & summer music festivals?  Honey, you’re in the right state.

What better way to fill your summer (and your stomach), than with good vibes, quality booze, and truly remarkable music?

Recently, the editors of 82717 gathered and put our heads together in an effort to answer just that.  Blame it on good old Wyoming Whiskey or, perhaps, the leading nature of the question, but it wasn’t long before we abandoned our course and began swapping summertime to-do lists.

Within minutes, a Summer 2018 ‘Bucket List’ of sorts, began to take form.  From it, an outline of upcoming outdoor concerts and delightful outdoor events, along with all of the best music festivals to attend was born.

Too rad to exist solely on a napkin: We give to you our random, lightly alcohol-infused tangent turned epic Summer 2018 Hit List—a guide to festive fun under the sun this season—that’s positively jam-packed with festivals (that rock)!  Grab your sunnies and your besties, people.  You won’t want to miss this!


You see, most states have one or two music festivals worth bragging about.  For example, South Dakota has Hills Alive; California, Coachella; and Texas, SXSW.  Events like these are known to attract celebrities and up-and-coming Hollywood starlets.  In Wyoming, we’re all about the music, the people, and enjoying the great outdoors (we like good brews and food, too).  When we come together for a music festival or a crawfish boil, we’re more concerned with doing good, giving back, and having fun than we are with the who’s who and who’s wearing what.  And, we like it like that.

Road trip-worthy jams

And, we’re not talking about Smucker’s.  Load up the gang and head on down the road for these uniquely community-driven Wyoming festivals, each with enough brews and tunes for days—and a summer—full of non-stop entertainment!


LBF   |   June 8-9

SINK into a CANYON of over 80 craft brewskies from up to 30 of the Rocky Mountain West’s most gulp-enticing breweries at the 2018 Fremont Toyota Lander Brewfest, or LBF for short.  Organized by the community-forward party animals at the Lander Chamber of Commerce, this year marks the event’s Sweet Sixteen in existence!  To celebrate, the City Park at Fremont and Third Street will transform into a two-day fun fest for all ages, with a golf tourney, cycling road tour, Brewers Corner, and live music from The Fritz, Jeff Crosby and the Refugees, and Satsang!

Where: City Park, Lander, WY (4 Hrs. 20 min. from Gillette)

Tickets: Early Bird (through June 3) from $25 to $45; Regular from $35 to $55; Bike & Brew Packages also available

Fun Fact: You can drink for free.  No, seriously.  And, you’ll even score a sick free t-shirt!  Save up to $55 by volunteering.  Just 3 hrs./a free 1-day pass; 6 hrs./a free weekend pass.  Cheers!


Laramie Brewfest   |   July 14

The college town of Laramie knows how to throw a party!  … And with over 2,000 participants slotted to be in attendance sampling beer and dancing to live music from old school R&B, funk, blues, rock, and syncopated meter band Basmati, Downtown Laramie’s premier fundraising event (to benefit the Laramie Main Street Alliance) serves as a perfect annual reminder of that!  All profits go towards marketing efforts which promote Downton Laramie and community efforts, and are used for things like holiday lights, bike racks, and banners.  Light up Downtown Laramie Christmas 2018 with each beer you drink this summer at the Brewfest!  Now, whoever said you don’t care about the children?!

Where: Depot Park, Laramie, WY (just under 4 Hrs. from Gillette)

Tickets: Avail. June 1, Contact Laramie Chamber for dets

Fun Fact: Drink early, VIP Doors Open at 11:45 a.m.; 1-hr. and 15 mins. before General Admission!    

Summer sizzles; right here at home

You don’t have to leave the 82717 this summer to have the time of your life!  Here, there’s so much fun to be had!


Donkey Creek Festival   |   June 22-23

Once a year, Gillette gets even cooler.  And, we’re not talking about the first snow of the season.  The Donkey Creek Festival is a community staple and hallmark of an 82717 summer, with no tickets necessary!  A culmination of family-friendly fun, DCF brings together local art, classic motorcycles and cars, and tasty food vendors galore with activities like laser tag for the kiddos and a beer garden for adults.  Not to mention, two days chock-full of killer music with this year’s non-stop lineup of talented local, regional, and national bands and artists from across genres (and the nation).  Enjoy the songs of summer, as sung by The Unknown Knows, The Devil’s Daughters, Whippoorwill, the Ghost Town Blues Band, and so much more!

Where: Gillette College, near the banks of Donkey Creek

Tickets: What tickets?!  This event is FREE!  Yippee!

Fun Fact: Grants from the Campbell County Community Recreation District, the Campbell County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and support from local businesses help to make and keep the event free to attend again this year.

Gillette Main Street Brewfest   |   July 21

This year marks the 5th Annual Gillette Main Street Brewfest hosted by downtown advocates, Gillette Main Street.  For a sunny Saturday afternoon filled with music and brews from crafty groups like Ten Sleep Brewing Company, Sick-N-Twisted Brewing Co., The Knuckle Brewing Company, Snake River Brewing, Red Lodge Ales, Snowy Mountain Brewery, Crown Peak Brewing Co., Gillette’s own Gillette Brewing Company, and our favorite local meadeators: Big Lost Meadery!

Where: Gillette Main Street, Downtown Gillette

Tickets: Advance for $30 at Gillette Brewing Co. (through July 20); $35 at the “door”; Free for kids and non-drinking attendees

Fun Fact: This event showcases local food vendors and tailgating games!

Lesser-known Wyo. celebrations

It’s no secret that Wyomingites like us love to explore.  In that spirit, we scoured the state for those under-the-radar music festivals and funky, little-known concert series that are too often overlooked.

WHAT Fest   |   July 27-28

The best-sounding Wyoming music festival you’ve (n)ever heard of, but want to attend.  WHAT Fest is a non-profit music festival where you can camp out on a budget and even bring your own booze.  The event, which started out as a small backyard festival in Riverton, boasts affordable alcohol inside what’s coined the ‘Bear Trap’, where the music stages pop off.  And, although Fido can’t go inside the trap, he’s welcome in the Lazy Acres Campground if leashed and well-attended.  The 2018 Centennial Lineup features Young Dubliners, Sneaky Pete and the Secret Weapons, Low Water String Band, Jalan Crossland, Elk Tongue, The Woodpile, Samantha Wise, 10 Cent Stranger, Whiskey Slaps, Lonesome Heroes, Seth McGee, and countless others.

Where: Huffer Hideout, Centennial, WY (4 ½ Hrs. from Gillette)

Tickets: $10/day or $15/weekend; Kids 10 and under are free

Fun Fact: Your ticket covers the cost of the bands, and you can camp at the Riverside Garage for a $10 donation. 

Fire in the Mountains   |   June 30 – July 1

This summer, it’s going to get metal in the mountains.  Fire in the Mountains, an annual metal festival that returns to the Tetons at the end of June is taking over Heart Six Ranch in Moran, just north of Jackson and in front of the Grand Tetons!  The two-day metal fest is headlined by Panopticon, Wayfarer, and Aerial Ruin.  Following a year of shows forced inside the Pink Garter Theater, this growing metal festival powerhouse is poised to not only rock (and rock hard) this summer, it’s also reinventing the music fest scene with a socially and environmentally-responsible agenda.

Where: Heart Six Ranch, Moran, WY (6 Hrs. from Gillette)

Tickets: $45/2-Day Pass, $55/Day 1 Pass, $89/Day 2 Pass, Silver and Gold VIP Packages from $180-$400

Fun Fact: FITMFEST has teamed with carefully crafted sponsors to provide high-quality products that are locally sourced for a festival true to its human roots.  In addition to admission, tickets garner access to mouthwatering farm-to-table food including vegan and vegetarian options.  2-person and 3-person tent rentals are also available.

There you have it: Everything you need for a summer filled with fun on the Equality State festival circuit.

Now, do you remember when summer (and fun) were about so much more than snapping selfies for your Instagram and updating your Snapchat story?  Us, too.

As you head off towards the festival of your choosing, we wish you a bit of summer revelry free from distraction.  Enjoy yourselves, you filthy animals.  And, don’t get caught doing anything we wouldn’t do.

By: Stephanie L. Scarcliff for 82717
WHAT Fest Photos by: Elisa Bender

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