PHOTOS: UMS 2017 once again throws the Denver music scene’s biggest party

Visions of the UMS’ many universes.

Benjamin Booker crowdsurfs during his performance closing the the Underground Music Showcase's main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
Benjamin Booker crowdsurfs during his performance closing the the Underground Music Showcase's main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
Benjamin Booker crowdsurfs during his performance closing the the Underground Music Showcase’s main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This year was my first encounter with the UMS.

The idea of seeing a bunch of bands I’d never heard of seemed odd, at first. But in covering the event I discovered that kind of clean-slate mentality actually was the source of the immense joy I experienced during the festival’s four days. Something magical happened as I wandered into each venue with no preconceptions of what I might hear.

Now in its 16th year, the UMS occupies 15 stages along South Broadway for four days, packing them out with more than 300 bands — many of them local. It’s a massive party for local music fans and a summer reunion for the local music scene, not to mention a boon for many South Broadway businesses. (Check out our oral history of the UMS here.)

Things were a little different this year. The main stage moved down to the parking lot outside the former Kmart at Broadway and Alameda, with Meow Wolf providing an arty shuttle bus and Lyft offering $1 rides within the festival zone. With headliners Red Fang, Zola Jesus, Benjamin Booker and Denver’s own Esmé Patterson, and a solid daytime lineup to boot, plenty of festival-goers made sure to break away from the center of things up by the Hi-Dive and find their way down there.

We’re working on some music videos so you can experience some of each universe set up this weekend along Broadway. In the meantime, here’s a look at what we saw.

South Broadway packed with people on night 2 of the Underground Music Showcase, July 29, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
South Broadway packed with people on night 2 of the Underground Music Showcase, July 29, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Colfax Speed Queen plays 3 Kings Tavern. Underground Music Showcase, July 27, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
Colfax Speed Queen plays 3 Kings Tavern. Underground Music Showcase, July 27, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Esmé Patterson plays the Underground Music Showcase's main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
Esmé Patterson plays the Underground Music Showcase’s main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Colfax Speed Queen plays 3 Kings Tavern. Underground Music Showcase, July 27, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
Colfax Speed Queen plays 3 Kings Tavern. Underground Music Showcase, July 27, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Colfax Speed Queen plays 3 Kings Tavern. Underground Music Showcase, July 27, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
Colfax Speed Queen plays 3 Kings Tavern. Underground Music Showcase, July 27, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
An afternoon drizzles breaks into a full-on deluge at the Underground Music Showcase's main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment; rain; cowx; weather;
An afternoon drizzle breaks into a full-on deluge at the Underground Music Showcase’s main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
An afternoon drizzles breaks into a full-on deluge at the Underground Music Showcase's main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment; rain; cowx; weather;
An afternoon drizzle breaks into a full-on deluge at the Underground Music Showcase’s main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
An afternoon drizzles breaks into a full-on deluge at the Underground Music Showcase's main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment; rain; cowx; weather;
An afternoon drizzle breaks into a full-on deluge at the Underground Music Showcase’s main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Evan Semón cheers as a rainbow emerges above the Underground Music Showcase's main stage after an afternoon storm, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment; weather; cowx; rainbow;
Evan Semón cheers as a rainbow emerges above the Underground Music Showcase’s main stage after an afternoon storm, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Jocko Homo, the Devo Tribute Band, plays the Skylark Lounge during the UMS, July 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) ums; music; concert; underground music showcase; south broadway; skylark lounge; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty; divo;
Jocko Homo, the Devo Tribute Band, plays the Skylark Lounge during the UMS, July 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Seen at the Underground Music Showcase, July 29, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
Seen at the Underground Music Showcase, July 29, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Ghost Tapes performs at the Skylark Lounge on South Broadway. The Underground Music Showcase, July 29, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
Ghost Tapes performs at the Skylark Lounge on South Broadway. The Underground Music Showcase, July 29, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Natalie Tate performs at the South Broadway Christian Church. The Underground Music Showcase, July 29, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
Natalie Tate performs at the South Broadway Christian Church. The Underground Music Showcase, July 29, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Natalie Tate performs at the South Broadway Christian Church. The Underground Music Showcase, July 29, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
Natalie Tate performs at the South Broadway Christian Church. The Underground Music Showcase, July 29, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Benjamin Booker plays the Underground Music Showcase main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
Benjamin Booker plays the Underground Music Showcase main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Benjamin Booker crowdsurfs during his performance closing the the Underground Music Showcase's main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; ums; denverite; colorado; music; south broadway; bars; nightlife; entertainment;
Benjamin Booker crowdsurfs during his performance closing the the Underground Music Showcase’s main stage, July 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Ashley Dean contributed to this report.

Kevin Beaty

Author: Kevin Beaty

Kevin Beaty is a media producer with experience in a variety of settings spanning Hollywood film sets to international backpack journalism expeditions. He is on a never-ending quest to meld artful imagery, functional design and intimate storytelling. His biggest struggle in any given moment is whether to shoot stills or video. Find him on Twitter and Instagram at @kevinjbeaty.