A Guide to Telluride's Summer Festivals
There is only one thing wrong about summer in Telluride. This magical season passes entirely too fast. From an abundance of outdoor adventure in our backyard to the thriving festival scene, there is ALWAYS something to do and that makes the time fly by even quicker. There is a celebration every weekend from May to October so grab your lawn chair, picnic basket and sunscreen for a stage-side spot in Town Park. Or, festival lanyard in hand, amble down Main Street to an intimate venue.
Here is a guide to a summer of festivals in Telluride:
MOUNTAINFILM >> May 27-30
Since 1979, Mountainfilm has featured the best films about mountains and mountain culture in the world. Through the years, Mountainfilm has increased its scope to cover social, cultural and environmental issues, with a focus on activism. The festival also offers symposiums, coffee talks, exhibits, workshops and more. This year’s fest will celebrate 100 years of America’s awesome national parks.
BALLOON FESTIVAL >> JUNE 3-5
Hot air balloons are launched mornings from Town Park to float serenely above the valley. On Saturday evening, there is the unforgettable Balloon Glow on main street.
WOW FESTIVAL >> JUNE 9-12
The WOW (Weekend of Wellness) Festival enters its fourth year promoting health and fitness through a variety of disciplines from yoga to weight training to aerobic exercise. This summer’s festival will feature programming that includes a diverse lineup of speakers, hikes, lectures, competitions and more.
BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL >> JUNE 16-19
The crown jewel of Telluride’s music fests, Bluegrass is regarded as the premiere Americana roots music festival in the United States. The event occurs during summer solstice and features concerts, workshops, a songwriting/band contest and musical collaborations galore. The 2016 festival will take place on the sweet new Town Park stage and features an equally sweet lineup with the likes of Sam Bush, Ryan Adams, the Oh Hellos and special festival guest John Cowan and Nicki Bluhm.
WINE FESTIVAL >> JUNE 23-26
World-class wines and cuisine are fêted with tastings, cooking demonstrations and seminars, along with the popular Toast of Telluride.
PLEIN AIR >> JUNE 28-JULY 4
A gala of outdoor painting, the event brings highly regarded plein air artists to town for exhibits, a quick- draw competition and other events.
AMERICAN SONGBOOK>> JULY 1-3 & JULY 17-22
The event features master classes and a series of concerts by artists including legendary singer Marilyn Maye and Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Amanda McBroom at venues such as the Sheridan Opera House and Club Red.
RIDE FESTIVAL >> JULY 8-10
At the ripe old age of 5, Telluride’s rock ‘n’ roll festival, created by local promoter Todd Creel, hits the big time this summer when alt-rockers Pearl Jam take to the Fred Shellman Memorial Stage, headlining a very cool lineup that includes Cage the Elephant, the Dirty Knobs, the Temperance Movement and Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons. In keeping with tradition, the weekend kicks off Friday with a free show in Mountain Village. The music also spills over after hours with NightRide when more intimate venues like the Sheridan Opera House host gigs by emerging acts.
ART + ARCHITECTURE >> JULY 12-17
Art + Architecture Weekend is the ultimate home tour. Local architects, designers, artists and chefs exhibit their best works, performances and food to win participants’ votes for best experience. Each stop on the tour is paired with wine and cocktail tastings
AMERICANA MUSIC >> JULY 20-23
American songwriters and acoustic music are in the spotlight at the Sheridan Opera House and with a free concert in the Village. This year’s lineup includes the Black Lillies, John Fullbright and Jimmy LaFave.
YOGA FESTIVAL >> JULY 21-24
This celebration of all things yoga manages to be both intimate and world class, drawing over 600 participants to a long weekend that includes intensive trainings, classes, lectures, meditations, music, gatherings and outdoor markets. The 2016 fest features teacher and founder of Electric Soul Yoga, Eric Paskel; renowned yoga teacher Coby Kozlowski; and the founder of the Kaivalya Yoga Method, Alanna Kaivalya.
JAZZ FESTIVAL >> AUGUST 5-7
Jazz Festival celebrates the art, soul, history and future of jazz music with an impressive line-up that features guest of honor New Orleans funkmaster Jon Cleary and his band, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen; two-time Grammy winner Marcus Miller; the uber- creative Galactic; and more. Performances take place on two outdoor stages by day – the Town Park stage and a free stage at the Wilkinson Public Library. And then there’s the Jazz After Dark series – late-night performances in small venues after the outdoor fest packs it in for the day. Free wine and spirit tastings, a main street parade and a tribute to the city of New Orleans round out the weekend.
CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL>> AUGUST 11-21
Chamber music comes to Telluride with intimate concerts in unique settings.
MUSHROOM>> AUGUST 18-21
Telluride’s most eclectic fest where experts, enthusiasts and scientists explore fungi-edible, toxic, and psychoactive. There’s a colorful parade, woodland expeditions for edible mushrooms and the Mushroom Cook-off, with live music and vendor’s fair.
PRETTY LIGHTS>> AUGUST 26-27
Pretty Lights, an electro hip-hop soul artist, will bring his unique sound to Telluride on August 26 and 27 when the Colorado native’s light and sound show electrifies Town Park. Pretty Lights-aka Derek Vincent Smith-has garnered critical and commercial success for his music which incorporates a sampling of a range of genres, from hip-hop to vintage funk and soul music as well as his own beats.
FILM FESTIVAL >> SEPTEMBER 2-5
Celebrating its 43rd year in 2016, the Telluride Film Festival is indisputably the most prestigious film festival in the United States. Seven of the last eight Oscar-winning films have had their North American debut here in the box canyon, and the festival lineup each year is kept secret until the last minute. The festival is a film lover’s affair featuring the best work from around the world and brilliantly crafted retrospectives to delight passionate cinephiles.
BLUES & BREWS >> SEPTEMBER 16-18
Telluride’s feisty farewell kiss to the summer music season features more than 50 microbreweries, serving up over 170 beers, and a world-class rock ‘n’ roll and blues lineup on the Fred Shellman Memorial Stage. In addition to memorable music, the festival also offers family-friendly activities for younger festival- goers, ranging from face-painting to a climbing wall. At the end of the day, after the last lick has reverberated throughout the valley, the lights go up in “Juke Joints” all over town for a series of evening performances.
FESTIVAL OF CARS & COLORS >> SEPT. 29 - OCT. 2
A four-day gathering for automotive enthusiasts set against the spectacular backdrop of the area’s fall foliage. Using three distinct venues – historic downtown Telluride, Mountain Village and the Telluride Regional Airport – the event focuses on high-end restorations and vintage and exotic vehicles of the Concours level, including unique and eye-catching cars staged along Telluride’s main street. A celebration for car enthusiasts, aficionados and anyone who just plain old loves cars.
HORROR SHOW >> OCTOBER 14-16
Colorado’s first and longest-running horror film festival attracts the latest and best horror films from all over the world for a goose-bump-inducing gathering.
For a complete look at all the events happening in Telluride this summer, click here.