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"I never in a million years thought I'd be playing a show with Grass It Up, Black P and the Haunted Windchimes," remarked Malakai frontman Chris Forsythe from Stargazers' indoor stage at last year's inaugural Indy Music Awards Festival.

It was a truly memorable evening, from Black P getting up onstage and freestyling during a jazz-funk set by the Charlie Milo Trio, to the Haunted Windchimes getting down off their outdoor stage for an unamplified sing-along just as the moon rose over the Stargazers dome.

While Colorado Springs is no stranger to exceptional music festivals — Blues Under the Bridge and MeadowGrass annually bring in great Americana, blues and folk acts from across the country — this particular showcase for local artists representing virtually every style of music felt more like a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Happily, it wasn't. We're doing it all again this year, and you're again invited to be part of it.

On Thursday, Sept. 6, starting at 6 p.m., more than 20 winning acts selected by several thousand Independent readers will be performing on three stages at the free indoor/outdoor Indy Music Awards festival, again at Stargazers.

You can click here for the full festival lineup, but we also urge you to take some additional time to read profiles of 15 artists and the complete list of IMA winners.

And keep next Thursday night open. You won't find a better way to experience the very best that the Springs music scene has to offer.

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