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Telluride Blues & Brews Bible

Tuesday • September 10, 2013

Ready for one of the best weekends of the year in one of the most scenic and intimate venues in the country? The 20th Annual Telluride Blues & Brews Festival will take place in town this weekend featuring The Black Crowes, Jim James, Melissa Etheridge, Gary Clark Jr., and many, many more! We’ve created the “Blues & Brews Bible” – a complete guide on what to do, what to bring, who to see, where to eat/drink/party and more info to help you have an epic weekend. 

Haven’t been to Telluride? The town was founded in 1858 after gold and silver were discovered, Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank here, Nikola Tesla selected the site to build the world’s first power plant, hippies re-settled these lands in the 60’s, skiing arrived in the 70’s, real estate agents invaded in the 80’s, Tom Cruise, Oprah and Oliver Stone call it vacation, Tim McGraw even wrote a song about it, and this week... our tiny mountain town kicks off one of the most-anticipated festival lineups in the nation. 

Start your engines! (And drink lots of water) 


Telluride Blues and Brews Festival


What to Do: A lot of your time will be spent in Telluride’s beautiful Town Park (not a bad thing), BUT make sure you get outside and explore everything Telluride has to offer. Here’s a list of free events, hikes and other must-do’s to check out around town this week:

  • Sunset Blues Concert – Wednesday, September 11th from 5-7pm The Congress will perform a FREE show in Mountain Village at the Sunset Plaza. Bring a blanket, bottle of wine and kickoff the 20th Annual Telluride Blues & Brews festivities in style! The Congress was one of our favorite bands to perform at the 40th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival earlier this summer. Don’t miss these guys. Listen to them on Spotify. 
  • 20th Annual Celebration Show – *NEW FOR 2013* Thursday, September 12th from 4-10pm enjoy a FREE extra day of live music in Telluride Town Park featuring Charlie Weathers, The Bright Light Social Hour, Otis Taylor and Booker T. Jones. That’s right. An entire extra day of blues, brews and beautiful views to celebrate the 20th anniversary. 
  • Telluride Farmers’ Market – Friday, September 13th from 11am-4pm on South Oak Street, the Telluride Farmers’ Market is a great place to grab lunch, purchase local produce, buy your sweetheart flowers and visit with local vendors. Buy Fresh, Buy Local!
  • Drink Good Beer – It’s called Telluride Blues & BREWS for a reason. Enjoy tasty beers in Town Park all weekend long and don’t miss Saturday’s Grand Tasting – 50+ microbreweries from across the nation pour tastes of their brews from Noon-3pm. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite brew during the Grand Tasting - Only text-to-vote this year, You will text a specific brewer code to 22333 during the Grand Tasting to cast your vote for your favorite brewer. We recommend tasting Telluride Brewing Company, Ouray Brewery and Sweetwater Brewing. For a complete list of ALL the breweries attending this year’s festival, click here. 
  • Go to a Juke Joint– Some of the best shows you’ll see all weekend are after dark in Telluride’s intimate concert venues – Telluride Conference Center, Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, the historic Sheridan Opera House and The Elks Lodge. Juke Joint passes allow access to all Juke Joint venues for the night purchase but get there early, all venues are first-come, first served. Doors open at 9:45pm each night and the VIP 3-Day Pass includes entry into all Juke Joints. For a 2013 Schedule of Events, click here.
  • Blues for Breakfast - The top six entries chosen from the Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition will play at the Elks Lodge on Saturday, September 14th from 9:00am-Noon during the “Blues for Breakfast” competition. The winner of the competition will win a custom acoustic guitar and will be given the opportunity to play a set on Town Park’s Main Stage on Saturday evening. And don’t miss Low Volts and Kim Churchill on Sunday, September 15th from 9am-Noon. For more info, click here. Come eat pancakes and cheer on these musicians!
  • Hike – If you need a break (recommended) from all the delicious beer, here are a handful of beautiful hikes starting directly from downtown Telluride to explore: Bear Creek Trail is less than one block from Town Park (S. Pine Street) and is a perfect beginner trail up to a waterfall. If you need a more challenging hike, check out the Jud Wiebe Trail(N. Aspen Street) that takes you to a gorgeous overlook of the entire town. For more information, directions and pictures of local hikes, click here.
  • Ride the Gondola – The only FREE transportation of its kind in the country, Telluride’s Gondola is a must-do while visiting us this week. If you don’t journey up to the free concert on Wednesday night, make sure you take the time to check out this spectacular ride. Get out up top (San Sophia) to hike around or ride the Gondola down into Mountain Village to check out the local bars, shops and restaurants. The Gondola will be open till 2am all weekend long!
  • Campground Sessions - *NEW FOR 2013* Camping this year? You're in luck. This exclusive event is for campers only and will feature live performances from James Bay, Low Volts and Kim Churchill in the campgrounds. For more info, click here. 
  • Bridal Veil Falls – Another Telluride must-do, check out Colorado's largest free-falling waterfall at the East end of Main Street, Bridal Veil Falls. Hike along Telluride’s River Trail to get a long distance view of the falls, or take a Jeep Tour with our friends at Telluride Outside.


Bridal Veil Falls Telluride


What to Bring: Make sure you pack for all four seasons; you never know what the weather will be like here in the San Juan Mountains. Remember when it snowed, rained and turned sunny all in one day a couple years back? Pack a rain jacket, hiking boots, a sun hat, and anything else you might need for highs of 60 degrees during the day and dropping into the low 40’s at night. Don’t forget a backpack to hold clothes/jackets, your camera for amazing shots, and a water bottle to refill while in Town Park. Here are a few more helpful festival FAQ's. 

  • Pack a rain jacket, a pair of sandals/Chacos, hiking boots, sunscreen and a festival hat along with your other normal festival fall-in-Colorado wardrobe. It’s been getting down in the 40’s at night and into the upper 60’s during the day. We usually take a change of clothes into the festival so when it begins to cool off, you can change without missing a show.
  • You may bring into the festival grounds: Low-back chairs, tarps, coolers (with no glass inside) and a water bottle/Camelback to fill up at the onsite Water station.
  • Don’t forget your camera. You’ll definitely want to capture some of the Blues & Brews characters, beautiful views and relive your experiences throughout the year.
  • Bringing kids with you this weekend? Here's a great blog from our friend at San Juan Parent on how to do Telluride Blues and Brews with kids. 

Here's a look at all four seasons in Telluride:


This is Telluride.


Who to See: The 20th anniversary weekend lineup will not upset. We’re so lucky to have such a wide spectrum of amazing artists gracing Town Park Main Stage and our intimate nightlife venues. Listen to our Spotify Playlist to get to know all the artists performing this year. Here are a few shows we recommend and we’re really excited to see:

  • The Congress – Wednesday @ 5pm in Mountain Village; Thursday @ 10pm at Fly Me to the Moon – I can’t stress enough how awesome these guys are. Handful of original tunes and covers from Curtis Mayfield, Van Morrison and more. They were one of our favorite bands at the 40th Telluride Bluegrass Festival. This Denver-based band brings the heat. Listen on Spotify. 
  • Gary Clark Jr. – Friday @ 5:50pm in Town Park – Our wildcard for the entire weekend. Hailing from Austin, Texas, Gary Clark Jr. is one of the hottest blues & rock musicians on tour currently. He's taken the music and festival world by storm in the past 2-3 years. Seems like every festival bill you see has him listed – He’s that good. We’ll be front row… and you should be too. Listen on Spotify.
  • The Black Crowes – Friday @ 7:30pm in Town Park – The brothers Robinson always bring an amazing show to Telluride. Southern rock n’ roll with a blues twist, don’t miss this awesome performance! Listen on Spotify.
  • The New Mastersounds – Saturday @ 1:20pm in Town Park; Saturday @ 10pm at Fly Me to the Moon – this is another funky band we’re really excited to see again live. Organ, horns and funky blues… does it get any better? Listen to them on Spotify.
  • Mickey Hart Band – Saturday @ 5:30pm in Town Park – Grammy-winner, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Grateful Dead member. Enough said. Listen on Spotify. 
  • Jim James – Saturday @ 7:30pm in Town Park – I’m going to be honest, I’m a huge My Morning Jacket fan but I wasn’t too sure about Jim James’ new solo project until I streamed his live performance from the Newport Folk Festival earlier this summer. Unbelievable. His stage presence and sound are so unique, it’s going to be one of the best shows of the entire summer in Town Park... and we’ve seen a lot of amazing performances this summer! Listen on Spotify 
  • Low Volts – Sunday @ 4:10pm in Town Park; Sunday @ 9am at Elks Lodge – I had the opportunity to check out this high energy, one man band on the 2013 Durango Blues Train in Durango, CO earlier this summer and was blown away. Low Volts rips the slide guitar and kick drum like a full piece band. Listen onSpotify.
  • Scramble Campbell - Colorado-based artist Scramble Campbell will be back in action at this year's festival. Watch as he paints amazing masterpieces LIVE during the course of a single performance. Last year, he turned a piece of his artwork into a badass pair of Wagner Custom Skis. The best part? You can WIN these skis at this year's festival via raffle at the merch tent. Watch video:


Wagner Scramble Blues & Brews Custom Skis




Telluride Blues and Brews Festival


Where to Eat – We love festival food, but if you’re looking to get out of Town Park, here are the top places to grab a bite to eat while you’re in town. 

  • Brown Dog Pizza – Want to catch some College or NFL Football between sets? Head over to the best Sports Bar in town - Brown Dog Pizza is located on Main Street and has delicious pizza, subs, salads and of course, ice cold PBR on tap. Also, late-night slices!
  • Floradora – Looking for the best burger in town? Checkout Floradora on Main Street for delicious burgers (get the Matty Burger), jalapeño poppers, salads, sliders and more!
  • New Sheridan Chop House – Hands down some of the best food in town. You can eat two ways – very nice or laid back. ‘Very nice’ consists of sitting down for a nice steak and glass of wine. Or you can eat ‘Laid back’ by sitting at the bar or in the Parlor Bar for an informal meal with the same tasty menu. Tasty brunch, too. 
  • Baked in Telluride– GREAT spot to grab coffee and a quick breakfast in the morning - "B.I.T.” offers bagels, doughnuts, croissants, muffins, pizza, sandwiches, cookies and a whole lot more.
  • La Cocina – Delicious spot to grab some organic Mexican food. On main street with indoor and outdoor seating. 
  • Diggity Doggs – need some late night grub? Diggity Dogs usually posts up right outside the Court House and offers hotdogs with delicious toppings of your choice.
  • Pescado - looking for some good sushi? Our friends at Pescado just reopened in the old Sweet Life spot on Main Street (downstairs, right beside Floradora). 

Where to Drink – Here are the top bars we recommend checking out after Town Park to keep the party going:

  • The Last Dollar Saloon– a.k.a “The Buck”, a great, laidback local joint to drink some PBR, play some foosball and mingle with the locals. The Buck is CASH ONLY, so don't be that guy who breaks out a credit card.
  • New Sheridan – Come shoot some pool and play some foos in this historic old-timey bar. Great vibe, music and drinks.  
  • The Steaming Bean – Best place in town to grab a cup of joe in the morning... live music and full bar in the evenings. The perfect, hip hangout spot to mingle with locals.   
  • Sheridan Opera House– Great place to grab a drink and check out live music. One of my three favorite venues in the COUNTRY (the other two are Red Rocks and Telluride Town Park), the Opera House is small, intimate, and always a good time. Go see a live show here and check it off your bucketlist. 

Who to Follow – We love social media here in Telluride. Make sure you post and tag your photos and memories so the rest of the world can view the glory of Blues & Brews.

  • Facebook – Post photos, ask questions and let us know how much fun you're having on our Fan Page!
  • Twitter – The official Telluride Blues & Brews Festival hashtag is #TellurideBlues. Make sure you hashtag your favorite shows, photos and experiences! Tag us @TellurideDotCom and we'll RT. A couple people to follow for great updates: @TellurideBlues, @TellurideFests, @hartlroberts, @wbkight, and @theadamesmith. 
  • Instagram – Post your favorite photos from Town Park and use #TellurideBlues and tag @TellurideBluesand @Telluridedotcom and we'll share our favorite posts all weekend long.
  • Spotify – While you pack your bags, listen to our Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Playlist on Spotify to get you pumped!
  • Webcam - Miss Telluride? Check in on our LIVE Webcam in downtown Telluride that YOU can control! 
  • Jam in the Van - our friends from Jam in the Van will be filming exclusive performances in their heady music studio on wheels. Look out for awesome videos coming soon on their YouTube Channel.
  • Paste Magazine - our friends at Paste Magazine will also be around the festival grounds filming exclusive live "Telluride Session" performances. Stay tuned on their website.  



Telluride Blues and Brews Festival live stream


That's a wrap. Enjoy one of the best weekends of the summer. Heck, one of the best weekends of the year in my book. If you have any last minute questions/tips or want to grab a beer around town or in Town Park, hit me up on Twitter. Come back and visit us again soon. Less than 100 days till ski season (hint, hint).

Stay hydrated my friends.