Explore Breckenridge International Festival of Arts (BIFA), where creativity, artistry and cultural wonder merge beneath the breathtaking Tenmile Mountain Range for an extraordinary 10-day celebration of adventure + creativity + play. BIFA 2023 promises an enchanting lineup of events, performances and installations that will captivate audiences of all ages and backgrounds. From awe-inspiring contemporary circus acts to thought-provoking art installations, from classical music performances to guided mindfulness hikes through the forest, there is something for everyone at this year’s festival. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a music enthusiast, a nature lover or just seeking a memorable experience for the whole family, our list of Top 10 Things to Do in Breckenridge will immerse you in a world of creativity, imagination and artistic brilliance. Join us in celebrating the intersection of arts and culture, and let BIFA be the canvas of your unforgettable journey.
Friday, August 11 – Sunday, August 20, 2023
1. Take the Family to See Circa Contemporary Circus
Extreme acrobatics meet extreme beauty as one of the world’s greatest contemporary circus companies brings their groundbreaking presentation What Will Have Been to Breckenridge, Colorado, featuring violinist Kathryn Hatmaker.
Fans of circus, contemporary dance and classical music will love BIFA 2023 resident artist Circa contemporary circus. But regardless of whether or not you are a traditional performing arts aficionado, you will be delighted by the extreme, cirque-like physicality demonstrated by the Brisbane-based performance group. Circa is world-renowned with sell-out seasons all around the world including London, Melbourne, Edinburgh and New York. During BIFA they bring three of their remarkable ensemble of acrobats to Breckenridge, Colorado, to present the company’s new show What Will Have Been (WWHB) at the Riverwalk Center on Saturday, August 19th, 7:30 p.m.. Reserved seats for the live performance are on-sale now for $25 – $65.
Additionally, BIFA attendees will have the opportunity to see Circa perform the following shorter performances for free:
5:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 16 at the Blue River Plaza
5:00 p.m. Thursday, August 17 at the Blue River Plaza
4:00 p.m. Friday, August 18 at the Ridge Street Arts Square during the AirStage Summer Après event
Younger audience members ages eight to 18 may register for a free Youth Circus Workshop by Circa at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, August 19th on the Riverwalk Center lawn. Participants can build physical and creative skills in a safe, non-competitive environment with some of Australia’s best trainers. The lawn will be decked with acrobatic mats and immersive beats as the group explores the action-packed world of contemporary circus and tackles tumbles, handstands and more.
2. Enjoy an Evening With Humorist Fran Lebowitz
In a cultural landscape filled with endless pundits and talking heads, Fran Lebowitz stands out as one of our most insightful social commentators.
Fran Lebowitz’s essays and interviews offer her acerbic views on current events and the media—as well as pet peeves including tourists, baggage-claim areas, after-shave lotion, adults who roller skate, children who speak French or anyone who is unduly tan. The New York Times Book Review calls Lebowitz an “important humorist in the classic tradition.” Purveyor of urban cool, Lebowitz is a cultural satirist whom many call the heir to Dorothy Parker.
Lebowitz performs on Friday, August 11th at 7:30 p.m. at the Riverwalk Center. Tickets are $60 – $70 for reserved seats.
3. Experience the Musical Theater of Schick Machine
Schick Machine is an amazing one-man show percussion piece featuring hundreds of instruments played by virtuosic percussionist Steven Schick. Part music, part theater and part circus, it will be entertaining for all ages.
In Schick Machine, Steven Schick plays a musician/percussionist who, because of his obsessive focus on sound, endlessly collects the many objects and instruments that carry the vivid memories of his lifetime of sonic experiences. He has become weighed down by these objects and memories and, now facing eviction from his warehouse that is being razed in the name of progress, he must choose just a few objects, sounds and memories to take with him, all the while exploring a visually compelling world of mechanical devices, invented instruments and seemingly infinite sonic possibilities.
Performances of Schick Machine will take place on Wednesday, August 16th at 11 a.m. and at 7:30 p.m. at the Riverwalk Center, with the earlier performance geared toward families and free with registration. This special 50-minute presentation provides young people the opportunity to see, hear, touch and literally enter the magical world of the Schick Machine. The later performance is being offered as “pay what you can.” Schick Machine has been generously underwritten by Paul Finkel and Barbara Strauss.
Additionally, children ages five to 10 can register to participate in the a.m. BIFA Art Camp where campers will create personalized percussion instruments and then attend the Schick Machine family concert. National Repertory Orchestra member Dan Howard will lead the campers in instrument creation and teach them how to create basic rhythmic sounds.
4. Enjoy Classical Music With Exuberant Moderns: A Gallery Guide to the Modern Concert Stage
Classical music from the 20th and 21st centuries converge through themes of optimism, peace and equality. Produced in partnership with the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO).
Breck Create and the NRO continue their BIFA partnership with Exuberant Moderns. Select NRO fellows extend their residency in Breckenridge for this performance at the Riverwalk Center, which features a program of contemporary classical chamber music paired with artwork by modern masters and narration by author, conductor and composer Steven Schick.
Exuberant Moderns takes place on Thursday, August 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Riverwalk Center and also is offered as “pay what you can.”
5. See Art Installations for Free
Barriers to Entry is a site-specific, abstract installation that uses multiple media including vinyl, raw aluminum and oil-on-paper to shape colorful and reflective forms that symbolize spaces made difficult to enter, especially to women and other underrepresented individuals in mountain communities.
BIFA 2023 welcomes exhibiting artist Sharon Louden. Louden, who is based in New York, creates abstract installations, and her piece Barriers to Entry will be on view at Old Masonic Hall. At night, two digital works by Louden, Seen and Heard and The Bridge, project on the south facing wall of Old Masonic Hall. Animations of Louden’s mark making, combined with expressions of gratitude, connect the installation’s exterior and interior and convert the physical barrier of a building wall into a meditation on collaborative art-making. The art installations are free to view at Old Masonic Hall between August 11th through 20th.
Louden also will offer a workshop for kids and their parents called Glowtown that develops individual creativity and teamwork within a community-building environment. By using every-day, simple, cast-away materials, along with the magic of glow-in-the-dark paint, participants come together to invent a fantastical world that never existed before. Glowtown: Youth Workshop will be held at the South Branch Library at 1:30 p.m. on August 19th and 20th. The workshop is recommended for those ages seven and up. The cost of the workshop is $15 per person.
6. Pair Art With Folk and Classical Music During the Wonder Hour Series
The Wonder Hour series invites festival attendees to join festival artists for 30-minute talks and performances in an intimate setting at Old Masonic Hall surrounded by the art exhibition, Barriers to Entry.
BIFA attendees can enjoy a presentation or a concert paired with Sharon Louden’s Barriers to Entry exhibition during the Wonder Hour series. Louden will give a public artist talk during the August 17th Wonder Hour event. Additional participating festival artists include the National Repertory Orchestra Chamber Ensemble and Scottish folk trio Chirp!. Wonder Hour events take place at Old Masonic Hall at 6 p.m. on August 14th through 18th. Guests must be 21+ and the cost for each event is $15 per person (includes one free drink).
7. Combine Wellness and Art with a Guided Mindfulness Hike
Guided Mindfulness Hikes navigate to Soft Gaze, an art installation by Camille Hoffman that has been installed in the forest.
Guided Mindfulness Hikes were developed in partnership with Building Hope, a nonprofit that promotes emotional and mental health. The hikes are free with registration and occur at 10 a.m. on August 11th at the Moonstone Trail; they originate on the Illinois Creek Trail at 9 a.m. on August 13th and 10 a.m. on August 14th. Hikes are free with registration.
Camille Hoffman, currently based in New York, comes to BIFA as the featured Trail Mix artist. Trail Mix combines art and nature whereby hikers follow a trail to an art installation, in this case, Hoffman’s Soft Gaze, which is accessible via the Illinois Creek, Iowa Hill and Moonstone trails August 11th through September 4th. Hoffman will discuss Soft Gaze on the Moonstone Trail at 11 a.m. on August 11th; this event is free with registration.
Soft Gaze reimagines gold as an ancestral symbol for interdimensional vision and protection. It is a meditation on the sacred nature of this precious metal, as well as the notorious social and environmental impact that greed from gold mining has had on Indigenous lands of the Philippines and Colorado. Soft Gaze invites an eye-to-eye meeting between forest and humans, as well as an offering of appreciation and protection from unnatural cycles of destruction.
8. Discover a Connection Between Music and Sports
Created in partnership with Breckenridge Recreation Center, Concrete Jams allows BIFA to bring together athletes and artists in an unexpected way by mixing skateboarding with jazz.
Concrete Jams begins with an open skate featuring music by DJ Mikey Thunder. Next, nationally celebrated professional skateboarder Jordyn Barratt and friends will demo and improvise to live music by Denver-based band Manycolors. Afterward, the community is invited to join in for an open-skate party. This event will happen rain or shine, however if conditions are poor, the safety of the athletes will be the top priority. Concrete Jams is a free event that takes place at the Breckenridge Skate Park at 10 a.m. on August 12th and 13th.
9. Enjoy Free Family Fun in Downtown Breckenridge Every Friday at AirStage Summer Après
Hike, bike or bus to the Breckenridge Arts District to enjoy outdoor drafts, crafts and BIFA performing artists on the AirStage.
The AirStage is a mobile stage housed in the iconic shell of a 1975 AirStream Ambassador Travel Trailer. Bring a picnic blanket, grab dinner to go and let the kids play on the lawn while you catch up with friends and family. Well-behaved pups on leashes are welcome. AirStage Summer Après events are free and fun for the whole family. They occur every Friday from 4 p.m to 7 p.m. at the Ridge Street Arts Square.
Swing by the Robert Whyte House during the event to join Artist-In-Residence Mary Robinson in creating a community fiber art project titled Invitation from repurposed materials. Learn how to create beads from repurposed paper and fabric; create new fabric from scrap thread and yarn; create raw-edged appliqué with repurposed fabric; and print with and on repurposed fabric all while contemplating material waste and material appreciation. The art installation will visually reflect the natural surroundings and local community.
10. Send the Kids to Art Camp and Take a Yoga or Creative Class Yourself
Rounding out BIFA are Acoustic Flow (daily morning yoga + music in partnership with Blue Iguana Productions and Building Hope) as well as art camps for kids and a full week of art classes and workshops for folks of all ages.
Creative classes and workshops will be offered throughout the festival, such as Edible Foraging + Cooking, Mini Skateboards, Nature Collages, Mala Making, Drop-in Indigo Dying and Wildcrafted Cocktails. Visit the event calendar on breckcreate.org for more information and to register.
BIFA Art Camps for ages five to 10 are wonderful opportunities to stoke young imaginations. Morning camps and afternoon camps will be offered August 14 through 16 and are taught by local and visiting artists.
The BIFA Info + Craft Tent is located on the Blue River Plaza and will be open Saturday and Sunday, August 12 – 13 and August 19 – 20 from noon to 5 p.m. Stop by to pick up a daily schedule, to get questions answered and, of course, to create some art. The Blue River Plaza is located at 137 S. Main Street in downtown Breckenridge, right across the street from Old Masonic Hall. Tickets, registration instructions and more information for all of the festival offerings can be found at breckcreate.org/bifa.
Acoustic Flow Yoga: Riverwalk Center Lawn • Free with Registration • 8 a.m. Daily Aug 11 - 20
Creative Classes: Topics, location, cost, date and time vary
BIFA Art Camps: A.M. + P.M. camps available • Arts District Campus • Aug 14 – 16
For all BIFA events, please see the calendar below.