It’s hard to leave Aspen. Which must explain why in the three summers I’ve spent in Aspen, I’ve never made it to Telluride. However, nestled in the very-different-from-the-Rockies San Juan Mountains, Telluride (elevation: 8,750 ft.) lies in a box canyon, surrounded on three sides by 14,000-foot peaks, which makes for something awesome. Plus it connects to Mountain Village (elevation: 9,540) by a free, scenic gondola.
Maybe I’ve been wanting to visit, but now I have the motivation: I had no idea that Telluride has become such a festival hotbed. Behold an insane amount of festivals (8 before September ends):
The homegrown Telluride Yoga Festival (July 12-15, 2012) allows new and experienced yogis to deepen their practice through many different forms of yoga led by experts from around the globe.
The Telluride Jazz Festival (August 3-5, 2012) comes to town for its 36thyear, bringing internationally recognized acts in classic, mainstream, blues, Brazilian, African and Latin jazz. Performances are staged outdoors in the daytime and in intimate clubs and historic concert halls at night. “When trumpet great, Dizzy Gillespie exclaimed on his visit to Telluride in 1977, ‘If this ain’t paradise, heaven can wait,’ he hit the right note,” says Telluride Jazz Festival Executive Director, Paul Machado.
For foodies, foragers and folks searching for something more unusual, the Telluride Mushroom Festival (August 16-19, 2012) educates citizens, both visitor and local alike, about the many incredible aspects of the amazing world of mycology.
Further up the mountain, Telluride Festival of the Arts (August 17-19, 2012) is an annual weekend-long, culinary, and visual arts event held in Mountain Village.
Cycling enthusiasts can stop spinning their wheels for the stage one finish of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (August 20, 2012). Olympians, World Champions, and Tour de France podium winners will race through the majestic Rockies, enduring more mountain passes than any other race in North America (Aspen is also a stop).
Brand new Rock and Roll Festival (August 25-26, 2012) will bring a dozen acts to Town Park, including Ben Harper and the Relentless 7, Los Lobos and Big Head Todd and the Monsters.
Held over Labor Day weekend, the Telluride Film Festival (September 2-5, 2012) is not a competition, but rather a celebration of the best in film from all around the world. Films must make their North American premiere at the festival in order to be considered, which has allowed attendees to be among the first to see highly regarded, award-winning films such as “The Descendants,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Juno,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Bowling for Columbine.” Another unique aspect of the festival is the element of surprise; the program is kept secret until opening day.
The music festival season closes out with Telluride Blues and Brews (September 14-16, 2012), a three-day festival with headliners including Phil Lesh & Friends, Gov’t Mule and the B-52s, along with a grand tasting featuring more than 50 of the best regional craft breweries.