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What’s Better Than the Blues? The Blues with Beer

Blues Brew Sample

Living in Telluride affords many opportunities that my urban-dwelling peers don’t share—easy and daily access to outdoor adventures is an obvious example. What often catches my metropolitan friends off guard, however, is how often I get to see live music.

Even before Telluride was dubbed the “Festival Capital of the Rockies,” it hosted great tunes. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival (then called the “Telluride Bluegrass Country Festival”) kicked it off officially in 1974 with $2 tickets and a tiny following, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that music really hit the valley. The Grateful Dead—and their legions—arrived in Telluride in 1987. It was the biggest musical event that the town had ever hosted. Much to community’s relief, the show went smoothly, paving the way for other large music festivals. Shortly after, in 1991, Bill Graham hosted another grand one-time gathering, the Telluride Rock and Roll Festival.

This summer, the Telluride Blues & Brews festival celebrates its sixteenth birthday from September 18 through 20. And like a teenager—and the legendary Telluride festivals that preceded it—the event knows how to rock. James Brown, B.B. King, John Mayer, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and other greats have graced the stage in the past, and this year’s headliners include Buddy Guy, Jackie Greene, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Umphrey’s McGee and John Hiatt. The complete 2009 Telluride Blues & Brews schedule and other details are posted on their website.

As if great music isn’t enough, Blues & Brews sweetens the deal: On Saturday, 50 microbreweries serve up a grand tasting from noon to 3 p.m., an offering that is included in the price of all three-day passes and Saturday tickets.

Why not consider a quick trip to Telluride for a weekend of blues? Telluride Tourism Board makes it easy with lodging packages to accompany the festival.

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