This Wednesday marks the beginning of the 42nd annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Whether you are a seasoned Telluride Bluegrass veteran or a 1st timer you will want to check out this list of tips to help you get the most out of your Telluride Bluegrass experience.
Firstgrass - Wednesday June 17th, head up to Mountain Village for the FREE “Firstgrass” show with music from Fruition and Grammy Award winner Rhiannon Giddens. The stage is located on Sunset Plaza in the middle of Mountain Village and runs from 5PM until 8PM. Bring blankets or chairs and relax on the grassy knoll surrounded by 13,000 ft snow capped mountains. There are food/beverage vendors onsite and plenty of restaurant options to choose from near the music. Hang out in Mountain Village until 9PM and complete your Wednesday night music fix with Yonder Mountain String Band at the Telluride Conference Center!
Tarp Run – This is your opportunity to stake out prime festival seating for your family and friends. Die hard bluegrass fans will camp out overnight and be first in line to enter Town Park. Sprinting with tarps, chairs and coolers in hand, festivarians lay claim to their spot each morning when the gates open.
Elk's Park – Even the budget conscious festivarian has a chance to enjoy the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Head to Elk's Park and experience 4 days of FREE music and workshops. These are fun, collaboration style jam sessions that give you a chance to get up close the artists. For people that enjoy meeting artists and getting autographs/photos, this is a great opportunity to rub elbows with some of the finest bluegrass musicians in the business. Don't miss banjo virtuosos Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn on Thursday at 11PM. On Friday at 5PM The Hangover actor Ed Helms is performing with his band The Lonesome Trio. Check out the rest of schedule below.
Here's a quick video of Greensky Bluegrass performing in Elk's Park during the 2014 Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
2015 Elks Park schedule
Festival Food – Get ready for the food adventure of a lifetime! If there's only 1 thing you eat all weekend have to try the wontons/dumplings from Sister's Pantry. They were named by National Geographic Traveler as one of the must try spots in Boulder and lucky for Telluride festivarians, they are returning as a vendor to this year's festival. The Killer Flank Steak stand is another great spot to try for “Killer Flank Steak” sandwiches. Or if you are in the mood for southern cuisine, support Telluride locals and head to the Oak/Fat Alley stand for a catfish po boy or a barbeque sandwich. How about a chicken sandwich and waffle fries? Another locally Telluride run food stand Chicken Coop has you covered! And how could you resist a jalapeno corn dog as a late night snack!?!? Endulge yourself in everything the festival food scene has to offer!
Non-Festival Food - Take a break from the sunshine and music and grab a quick bite at one of Telluride's local eateries. You have to go to The Brown Dog for the best pizza in the world! Seriously… The Brown Dog just took home 1st place at the World Pizza Championships in Italy this past May. The Floradora Saloon is another great spot for a delicious burger with outdoor seating on Main Street. For those looking for more of a fine dining experience, go to the New Sheridan Chop House for one of the best steaks you will ever eat! Cosmopolitan is another great spot for American style fine dining. If you are feeling Asian cuisine, check out Siam for a delicious plate of drunken noodles or chicken pad Thai.
The Bar Scene - They aren’t hard to find in Telluride. Most of the local watering holes are located right on Main Street or Colorado Avenue. You will definitely want to grab a drink at The Last Dollar Saloon aka “The Buck”. It is home base for Telluride locals and a great place to start off or finish the evening/early morning with a night cap. The New Sheridan is an awesome saloon style bar with an old timey western vibe. They’ve got pool tables and foosball in the back as well as a posh seating area for mingling with friends. For late night music and libations head to The Fly Me to The Moon Saloon. The list of musicians that have graced the Moon Saloon stage is quite impressive ranging from Phish to Sheryl Crow to Sublime and far too many others to list here. O’Bannon’s is Telluride’s dive bar. Head there for an Irish car bomb, game of darts and a 24 ounce PBR. Or maybe you are feeling classy? Grab a glass of pinot noir or a crisp chardonnay at Telluride’s wine bar Arroyo before heading into Town Park.
Take a Hike – There are so many amazing places to get out and explore while you are in Telluride. There’s plenty of time in between music to get some exercise and fresh air. Telluride offers everything from a leisurely stroll along the San Miguel River to moderate/difficult hikes leading to waterfalls or high alpine lakes.
Ride the Gondola – Telluride is home to one of a kind FREE public transportation…the Gondola!! Take a ride up to 10,500 feet in our 8 person enclosed ski cabins and enjoy views of snowcapped mountains in every direction. Once you pass through the mid station heading into Mountain Village, you might recognize the 14er in front of you, Wilson Peak, from the Coors Light beer can. The gondola operates on extended hours during the festival and will run from 7AM to 2AM daily.
Parking- Parking is extremely limited in Telluride…so much so that festival staff barricade the entrance to Telluride and will not allow you in unless you have a barricade pass or lodging reservations. Your best bet is to use the Intercept Lot up in Mountain Village and take our free gondola down into the town of Telluride. From there it’s a 5 minute walk down the San Miguel River Trail into Town Park for the festival. Take a look at this note on parking from Town of Telluride officials.
What to bring- A wise man once said don’t try to predict the weather in Colorado, rather prepare yourself for it. It can be sunny and 70 degrees during the day then drop down into the 40s at night so pack a small bag and plan accordingly - rain jacket, sunscreen, sandals/chacos, festival hat/baseball cap, hiking boots, socks, sunglasses, long pants and a pullover for warmth once the sun goes down. You CAN take a cooler into the festival (no glass) so feel free to bring snacks and beverages-just no alcohol. Low back chairs and tarps are a good idea if you plan on relaxing further back away from the stage. Water bottles and camelbacks are encouraged as there is a free water refilling station onsite. Finally, don’t forget your camera to capture the amazing scenery and those unforgettable Telluride bluegrass moments.
Here's a list of Must See Acts that you will not want to miss at the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Festival:
Most importantly...and this goes without saying...have fun, enjoy the music and relish every magical moment of the 42nd Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival! Here's one of our favorites from last year.