Celebrating Colorado’s Unparalleled Outdoor Recreation: Governor Polis Announces Outside Festival

Today, Governor Polis and the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced the inaugural Outside Festival at Denver’s Civic Center Park, June 1-2, 2024. This flagship event will celebrate Colorado’s unparalleled outdoor recreation lifestyle and industry, while advancing our state’s commitment to increasing access to the outdoors. 

“Colorado’s great outdoors are part of who we are, and our thriving outdoor recreation industry is not only a lot of healthy fun, but also an economic engine for our state. The Outside Festival will be a celebration of outdoor recreation and help grow this important part of our economy and lifestyle, while introducing more Coloradans to the benefits of spending time outside,” said Gov. Jared Polis. 

The Outside Festival is driven by a partnership between Outside Interactive Inc., OREC, and VISIT DENVER, and is being produced by industry-leading festival producers Groundswell Experiential with consultation from Superfly. The multi-day event will feature live music, adventure films, thought-provoking speakers, immersive experiences, and the latest outdoor gear, among other activities and exhibits. Organizers seek to inspire and promote outdoor pursuits for the health of people and the planet, create more opportunities for access and inclusion in the outdoors, and serve as a model for sustainable practices. 

“We’re on a mission to get everyone outside and to inspire, educate, and activate more people to experience everything the outdoors has to offer,” said Robin Thurston, Outside CEO.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Outside Festival to Denver, which is truly the outdoor capital of the country. The metro area has more than 5,000 acres of traditional parks and parkways, approximately 850 miles of paved and off-street bike trails, and, of course, Rocky Mountain adventure just a short drive away. The city is simply the perfect location for this festival,” said Richard Scharf, President and CEO of VISIT DENVER. “The Mile High City has a long history and reputation of being a center for health and wellness, and we look forward to welcoming festival-goers this June.” 

Denver Art Museum will be the main venue for films and speakers. Additional partners include Denver’s Museum of Nature and Science, which will host activities for kids, and Adaptive Adventures, which plans to provide an adaptive climbing experience. 

“There is no better place to reimagine outdoor industry events than in Colorado,” said OREC Director Conor Hall. “Outdoor recreation contributes more than $62 billion to our state’s economy and supports over 500,000 jobs, or 18% of our workforce and it’s integral to our brand, identity and quality of life as a state. For the first time, the Outside Festival will bring together industry professionals and thought leaders with the general public to showcase Colorado’s unparalleled outdoor recreation industry and our commitment to making it accessible to everyone.”

To broaden and diversify the Festival’s reach, organizers formed a Community Engagement Council to advise and help implement outreach to youth and communities that have historically encountered barriers to participation in outdoor recreation.

“We are thrilled to be a partner of the first Outside Festival. This event is reimagining the outdoor community. The Outside Festival aligns with ELK’s mission of ‘cultivating a diverse community of leaders and environmental stewards by increasing outdoor equity.’ This event represents a significant step towards supporting our young, BIPOC, environmental leaders of today and tomorrow, and ensuring access to the great outdoors for all. By coming together with like-minded organizations, businesses, and leaders, we are committed to advocating for our communities to engage with nature, foster leadership skills, and grow as the stewards of our environment they have always been,” said Juan Perez Saez, Executive Director for Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK). 

To support the festival’s development, the Colorado Economic Development Commission (EDC) has approved $440,000 to help implement the inaugural event. 

Outside and the State of Colorado invite the entire outdoor community to join this celebration of the spirit of adventure, music, and togetherness at the Outside Festival this summer in Denver. For more information, including tickets, please visit www.theoutsidefestival.com. 

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