Telluride Blues & Brews Survival Guide

The town of Telluride is brimming with excitement for the 2014 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. As we approach one of the most anticipated weekends of the year, we thought it best to offer a walk-through, or "survival guide" of sorts, to navigate the many happenings of the weekend. With so much to see, do, eat and drink, it can't hurt to have a little guidance along the way. We're here to get you ready!


The weather in Colorado during the month of September can be a bit of everything. It has been said before that if you don't like the weather in Telluride, wait 10 minutes. Sometimes Telluride can go through all four seasons in one day so it's best to be prepared for anything! Sandals, flip-flops or Tevas are a must as the highs could be in the 70s. It's also a good idea to bring a water bottle to refill for FREE in Town Park. Don't forget to pack a rain jacket, rubber boots, hiking boots, a sun hat, sunscreen, and a backpack to hold extra clothes. Layering is a great approach to Colorado weather. While it is true that it has snowed every month of the year in Colorado, the snow generally begins during late October. That said, it's a great idea to bring a heavy jacket. When the sun goes down, it gets chilly pretty quick dropping into the 40s at night. Bring a change of clothes into the festival so when it begins to cool off, you can change without missing any music. Last but not least, bring your camera. A picture is worth a thousand words and Telluride is just that!

Bringing the kids with you to the festival? Here's a wonderful blog from San Juan Parent on how to do Telluride Blues & Brews with kids. They won't want to miss all the kid's activities the festival has to offer during the weekend.


A lot of your time will be spent in Telluride’s Town Park, but don't forget that you are in one of the most beautiful places in the country. So we suggest to come early, and enjoy some of what Telluride has to offer both inside and outside!

Here’s a list of must-do’s during the festival and what to check out around town during the visit:

Sunset Blues Concert - Thursday, September 11th from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Join us in Mountain Village Sunset Plaza for our FREE kickoff Blues & Brews Festival Concert with Dragondeer and Ryan McGarvey. Just a short BEAUTIFUL Gondola ride away from Telluride! Be sure to bring a blanket and a picnic and kick off the weekend in style!

Beer - After all, the festival is called Blues & Brews. We encourage you to visit our host brewery Sierra Nevada and our House of Brews featuring 5 different beers all weekend long, as well as all our yummy craft beers in Town Park during Saturday’s Grand Tasting featuring 50+ microbreweries showcasing over 170 styles from across the nation from Noon-3pm. Vote for your favorite beer during the Grand Tasting: text-to-vote. You will text a special brewer code to 22333 during the Grand Tasting to cast your vote for your favorite brewer. For a complete list of breweries attending this year’s festival, click here. In addition to the Grand Tasting, check out the flavors being poured all weekend long at the House of Brews from these five breweries: Bonfire Brewing, Durango Brewing Co, Ska Brewing, Sweetwater Brewing Company, and Telluride Brewing Co. The Sierra Nevada beer truck will also feature these beer styles all weekend long: Back Porch Lager, Pale Ale, Flipside Red IPA, Kellerweis, and Torpedo.

Late Night Shows - Some of the best shows you’ll see all weekend are after dark at Telluride’s intimate concert venues: The Blues Stage (Town Park Pavilion), Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, Sheridan Opera House and the Elks Lodge. Don't miss our opening celebration show Bal de Maison featuring Amy Helm and the Handsome Strangers, the Friday and Saturday Juke Joint shows, and the closing celebration Fais Do Do show! Friday and Saturday Juke Joint passes allow access to all 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 2014 Schedule of Events, click here.

Blues For Breakfast - The music is free, breakfast, Bloody Mary's, Mimosas, and the full bar are extra ($). Join us for Blues and breakfast from 9:00am - Noon on Saturday and Sunday mornings at the Elks Lodge (located on the corner of Townsend and Pacific Avenue). Enjoy solo performances by Blues musicians while dining on scrambled eggs, pancakes, hash browns, sausage, coffee and juice. On Saturday, September 13th, the top six finalists from the Telluride Blues Challenge will play. The winner of this competition will take home a custom acoustic Martin guitar, a cash prize, and the opportunity to play a set on the Main Stage on Saturday evening and a full set on the Blues Stage at the 2015 festival. The following day, Chris Dracup and Mohead will play at Blues for Breakfast.

Hike - If you need a break from the music and all the delicious beer, there's 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 during the week. If you don’t journey up to the free concert on Thursday 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 til midnight on Thursday, until 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and until 1:00 a.m. on Sunday during the festival!

Funk Costume Contest - It’s time to channel your inner Funk at this year’s Telluride Blues & Brews Festival and you can Win Passes to the 2015 Festival! On Saturday, Sept 13th, Blues & Brews hosts a full-blown Funk Costume Contest. The Telluride Blues staff will be handing out Funk tickets to the best-dressed festival-goers who will vie for audience cheers on stage. The contestant who gets the most audience cheers for their costume will be awarded TWO weekend passes to the 22nd Annual Blues & Brews Festival in 2015!


Campground Sessions - Camping at the festival this year? You're in luck! The Telluride Blues & Brews Festival is excited to announce additional shows in the Town Park campground! This exclusive event is for campers only and will feature live intimate performances from Shakey Graves, Kipori Woods, and Mohead right in Town Park campground below lower bear creek falls! For more info, click here.

Blues & Brews Yoga Sessions - New for 2014! We are excited to announce our new Yoga Sessions presented by Telluride Yoga Festival! Whether you’re enjoying our multi-day music festival, mountaintop adventures or relaxing among friends for the weekend in Telluride, Blues & Brews’ newly added FREE “Yoga Sessions” is an opportunity to unplug from the ordinary and discover the extraordinary from within with instructors Diana Marshall, Kristin Taylor, Venus Castleberg and Marie Green. All skill/ability levels welcome!

Kids Area - Kids of all ages can enjoy various activities in the Rainbow Kids Area during the festival weekend with the help from Living Folklore. Living Folklore features children’s entertainment, workshops, and two parades specifically geared for the kids (or the kid at heart) – one on Saturday and one on Sunday. So, bring your kids to the Rainbow Kids Area located in the back of the festival grounds to join the wild and wacky Living Folklore Clowns, Giggly Sprout and Gumbo Wobbly, along with activities like a bungee trampoline, climbing wall, inflatable bounce games, face painting, a talent show, and much more!

Think Green - Telluride Blues & Brews Festival is dedicated to keeping our environment clean and green. Join us in our commitment to ensuring a greener future for our festival, the Town of Telluride and Colorado. Click here on how you can help during your visit.


Lineup - The 21st anniversary weekend lineup will not upset. We’re so lucky to have such a wide spectrum of amazing artists gracing the Town Park Main Stage and our intimate nightlife venues. Click here to see the 2014 festival line-up. Listen to our Spotify Playlist and get to know all the artists performing this year.

Blues & Brews Art Gallery - Arroyo Wine Bar, located at 220 E Colorado Ave is Telluride Blues & Brews Festival’s Official Art Gallery for the weekend! We encourage you to stop by, have a beverage, light bites and enjoy artwork from festival photographers Barry Brecheisen & Dino Perrucci, and artists Scramble Campbell, David Craig and past festival painting artists. Some artwork will be for sale. Open daily Sun-Wed 4pm to Close / Thu-Sat 12pm-Close.

David Craig - The festival poster artist will be on-site at the festival signing posters and autographs in the festival store from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. daily.

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.


Who doesn't love festival food?! Click here for a full list of what the festival has to offer in Town Park.

If you’re looking to get out of Town Park, or looking for breakfast and late night food, here are the top places to grab a bite to eat while you’re in town. For a list of Telluride restaurants, visit's Dining Guide.

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!

Siam - Fun fact: some of the best Thai food in the world is found in Telluride! Staff suggestions: Drunken Noodles, Pad Thai and Molly's Lobster Tempura.

Floradora - Looking for the best burger in town? Check out 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.

Cosmopolitan - Hands down the best happy hour in town! Half-price sushi and Cosmos from 5-6pm every day of the week!

La Cocina - Delicious menu featuring local and 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). Follow them on Twitter for special deals!

La Marmotte - A modern take on elegant bistro fare. An excellent romantic getaway tucked into one of Telluride's oldest building. Staff suggestions: Roast Quail, Short ribs and Molten Chocolate Cake.


Here are the top bars we recommend after Town Park to keep the party going:

New Sheridan - Go shoot some pool and play some foos in this historic old-timey bar. Great vibe, music and drinks.

Oak: The New Fat Alley - Grab some fried okra and a pint of Schlitz on the patio! The best place to mellow out during the festival and eat great BBQ.

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.

Smuggler's Brew Pub - With a diverse menu and extensive beer list, this restaurant is not to be missed! Be sure to try the seasonal beer styles.

There - A diverse collection of cocktails and food menu, a fusion of the new with the old, the trendy with the traditional. Staff suggestions: Grapefruit martini, Blueberry Gin jam cocktail.

Tomboy Tavern - Wraparound bar, oversized leather couches, beer garden and patio in the heart of Mountain Village.

Poacher's Pub - Classic American menu with a sunny patio and wide selection of food and drinks.

Cornerhouse Grille - Casual dining in Telluride with a great selection of traditional pub fare. Check out the specials menu!

Smak Bar - Whenever the mood calls for a comfortable spot, a refreshing drink and savory little nibble.

The Last Dollar Salloon - A fixture of the downtown Telluride social and nightlife scene.

O'Bannon's Irish Pub - The one and only Irish pub in town. The bar features numberous bar games and a wide beer selection.

Click here for a full list bars in the area.


Facebook - We can’t wait to see your posts and photos! Share with us and let us know how your weekend is going on our Facebook page!

Twitter - Be sure to tag your tweets and photos with the official festival hashtag: #TellurideBlues. Also use the hashtag #TBBF14 to tell us about your favorite shows, photos and good times! Tag us @TellurideBlues and we’ll be sure to RT.

Instagram - Fan photos are the best! Post your favorite photos from Town Park and use #TellurideBlues and tag @TellurideBlues 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 for the weekend!

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.

GoPro - Our friend Brett Schreckengost and the GoPro staff will also be around the festival grounds filming exclusive live 'Telluride Sessions' performances. Stay tuned on their website.

Stream the festival LIVE - Can't make this year's festival? You're in luck! Telluride Blues & Brews Festival will be streaming the festival LIVE from Telluride Town Park all weekend long with the help from our local community radio station KOTO FM. Click here for more info.

View the 2014 Program Guide


Marcus Smith2014