Telluride Blues & Brews "Survive And Thrive" Guide

You have your tickets, your travel plans and you’re coming to the 23rd Annual Telluride Blues & Brews Festival! Nice work! Now, what’s your plan when you get here?

Yes, like most festivals there’s a Main Stage, but at Blues & Brews and in Telluride there’s so much more! With multiple stages, yoga sessions, late night shows, TONS of beer styles to try, world-class restaurants, alpine surroundings and more, it can’t hurt to have a little guidance. Curated by our staff experts, we present the 2016 Telluride Blues & Brews “Survive and Thrive” Guide.


Fall is a beautiful time in Telluride! Hillsides glimmer golden as plant life enjoys warm days, cool nights and prepares for the winter ahead. In the Rocky Mountains, weather can move fast and can be sporadic. Telluride’s weather is no exception and can be a bit of sunshine, snow, rain, overcast and everything in between during September. It’s best to be over prepared, than underprepared.

September 16th - Historic Average Temperatures: Low 44 High: 67

Packing for the Festival


Each day of the Festival, the gates open in the mid-morning and the event spans into the evening. During the daytime, weather can be mild and perfect for tee shirts, sandals and shorts. UV rays can be higher than you’re accustomed to and the air is dry, so we recommend you bring sunscreen and a water bottle to fill at free water stations located throughout the venue.

Nothing beats a tarp when things are looking wet! In case of precipitation, we recommend you bring waterproof, quick-dry and insulating layers. The Telluride Town Park field can get a bit muddy with rain or snow. Wearing waterproof boots and wool or synthetic moisture wicking socks are also encouraged.

Sunsets during this time of year typically happen around 7:00 pm and can be stunning; however, be prepared for the quick drop in temperatures. Even on a warm day, temperatures can swing more than twenty degrees in a matter of hours. We recommended that you bring a change of clothing layers for this evening shift. Light gloves, hats and long underwear are all great items to bring to the show in a backpack.


A Great Telluride Layer - Festival partner Voormi’s Access NXT Pullover is made exclusively with Rocky Mountain Highcountry Merino™ Wool to offer a warm and lightweight fit. Stop by their booth in the festival to learn more.

Packing for Camping at the Festival


Camping at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival is something to be experienced! Year after year, many campers return to create unmatched, community comradery. It does get chilly at night so, pack appropriately-rated sleeping bags and gear. In the event of rain, a ground cloth or tarp does wonders.


We’re excited to announce the return of Making My Blues Green: Coolest & Cleanest Campsite Challenge!’ Brought to you in collaboration with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, the contest encourages Festival campers to build a clean, sustainable and creative campsite for a chance to win 2017 Blues & Brews tickets and other great prizes! Learn more about the contest here.

An ideal Festival Tent - Festival partner Big Agnes’ Chimney Creek 4 mtnGLO Tent features LED lights integrated into the tent body offering ambient light in your shelter with the click of a button. Stop by their booth inside the festival to learn more.

Festival like a Pro

In addition to the Main Stage, the Blues & Brews offers an abundance of programming!


The Blues Stage - The Blues Stage is our second festival stage. This indoor stage is located in the Town Park Hanley Pavilion adjacent to the main festival stage. The Blues Stage features additional musical performances and comedy sets. Enjoy comfortable, theatre-style chairs to give your legs a rest, a large dance floor and a full bar with beer, wine and cocktails all under one roof. Take our word for it, it's about as good as it gets! Check out the full Blues Stage schedule for more information.

Campground Sessions - Exclusive to campers only, the Campground Sessions feature intimate artist performances on a rustic, wooden stage tucked away in the festival campground. Here, the views are aesthetic and the sessions packed with high energy. Held daily from 4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m., these are “not to be missed” experiences!

Sunset Blues Concert - Kick off the festival the right way on Thursday evening with the Sunset Blues Concert in Mountain Village’s Sunset Plaza. Featuring Con Brio and Israel Nash, this concert will be dynamic and electric. Sunset Plaza is a short, beautiful gondola ride up the mountain from the town of Telluride! The event and gondola ride are free and open to the public. Be sure to bring a blanket and a picnic!

Blues & Brews Art Gallery - During the Festival, Arroyo Wine Bar & Gallery gets a makeover with blues-inspired art pieces. Stop by, have a beverage, and enjoy artwork from photographers Barry Brecheisen, Dino Perrucci and Jason Squires in addition to artwork from renowned Colorado performance painter Scramble Campbell. The gallery also hosts original paintings featured in past poster art. Some pieces will be available for sale. The gallery will be open daily from Thursday to Sunday from 5:00 p.m. until late during the Festival weekend.

Mitch Woods Club 88 Free After Hours Jam - Mitch Woods has hosted an after-hours Piano Bar jam on the Legendary Blues Cruise for over 12 years. This year, he’s bringing the very same open jam to Telluride. Now, Mitch brings his Club 88 to the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival for the same late night party! 
All musicians are invited, so bring your axe for some late night jammin’ at the piano above the mile high limit! Expect some surprise guests and lots of great music in an intimate soulful setting. Let the good times roll! Jams take place Friday and Saturday at Arroyo Wine Bar & Gallery (located at 220 E Colorado Ave) starting at 11:30 p.m.

Festival Yoga - Free Blues & Brews Yoga Sessions presented by Telluride Yoga Festival! Enjoy a fluid yoga flow, activating breath practice, liberating movement and playful exercises to discover new realms of embodied pleasure. Guests of all skill levels are welcome to join us on Saturday and Sunday mornings during the Festival weekend. This is your weekend opportunity to unplug from the ordinary and discover the extraordinary from within guided by yoga instructors Kristin Taylor and Alyssa Saunders.

Location: Telluride Elks Park* (FREE and open to the public)

Time: September 17 and 18 (Saturday and Sunday of the Festival) 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

What to Bring: Water, Yoga Mat, Towel and Active Wear (Come with or without! These items are not mandatory to join in the class.)

Rainbow 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!


Bal De Maison (Opening Party) - The phrase Bal de Maison originated from dances held at someone’s house - typically in the front room. These dances were usually announced by the host of the party simply yelling from his or her porch to the neighbors. On Thursday, September 15th, we’re throwing our own Bal De Maison, an opening party, with Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear at the historic Sheridan Opera house. Be there! The show starts at 9:00 p.m. and tickets are $20.

Juke Joint 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 (Hanley Pavilion), The Moon at O'Bannon's Sheridan Opera House, the Elks Lodge and Arroyo Wine Bar & Gallery. At the Juke Joint shows bands play late and get rowdy. 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 9:45 p.m. each night and the VIP 3-Day Pass includes entry into all Juke Joints.

Blues For Breakfast - Start your mornings off proper with blues music, a hearty breakfast and drinks at Blues for Breakfast! Kicking off at 9:00 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday of the Festival weekend, Blues for Breakfast offers a pleasant warm-up to a dynamic day and late night full of music. Join us at the Telluride's intimate Elks Lodge (located at 472 West Pacific Avenue), for a bite to eat as the first official chords of the day are struck. Saturday’s breakfast hosts The Telluride Blues Challenge Finals and Sunday’s hosts The Telluride Blues Challenge Finals Runner-Up and A.J. Fullerton. The Elks Lodge will prepare a traditional breakfast spread featuring classics like the "world-famous" black bean sauté from Oak...The New Fat Alley, scrambled eggs, pancakes, hash browns, toast, bacon and sausages. Coffee, juice and breakfast bar drinks will also be available. Breakfast is $12, Bloody Marys, Mimosas, and other breakfast bar drinks are extra.

Telluride Blues Challenge - Taking place during Blues for Breakfast on Saturday morning starting at 9:00 a.m., the Telluride Blues Challenge Finals invites six talented solo blues musicians for a chance to advance their career. Judged by a panel of experts, the artists will battle it out for a spot on the Main Stage, Blues Stage and other prizes. This contest is a annual favorite and not to be missed.

Film Screening and Fundraiser for the San Miguel Resource Center - Join us for Telluride Blues & Brews Festival's film screening of 'Song of the South: Duane Allman & The Rise of the Allman Brothers Band' on Wednesday, September 14th at 8:30 p.m. at the historic Sheridan Opera House presented by KOTO FM's DJ Jimmy Jazz and Telluride Blues Society. Come for a good time and a good cause - all proceeds are donated to the San Miguel Resource Center (SMRC), a local non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of domestic violence. A pre-film VIP Reception Party will include live music, cash bar, complimentary food and raffle ticket. Tickets for the reception are $35 per person and available here. The film, with a separate admission ($15 suggested donation to the San Miguel Resource Center), will start shortly after the Reception Party and raffle at 8:30 p.m.

Blisters & Brews 5K - Blisters & Brews is a 5k Fundraiser Race giving Festival patrons the opportunity to exercise before they imbibe. The 5k Race, sponsored by BootDoctors™ Paragon Outdoors, will raise money for the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program in remembrance of dear festival friend Felix Snow. Beginning and ending in Telluride's Elks Park, Blisters & Brews provides runners with a safe, beautiful way to kick off their Saturday in downtown Telluride. The route and start / finish area have been planned to enhance the running experience and highlight the beauty of the heart of Telluride.

Fais do-do (Closing Celebration) - "Fais do-do" roughly translates to "Cajun dance party” and will be the final music act of the 23rd Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. This year’s Sunday closing show features a special performance by Anders Osborne at the Sheridan Opera House. This is the final show of the Festival and a highlight for many. Anders' records are a must-have for any serious music lover and to see him live is to become a believer. The show starts at 10:00 pm and tickets are $25.

See the full festival schedule here.

The Grand Tasting



Beer + Hard Cider - Did you know that Blues & Brews features 56 microbreweries and 170 styles of craft beer at the Grand Tasting? On Saturday, September 17th, enjoy free beer samples from 56 microbreweries during the Grand Tasting! The tasting’s most popular brewery will be crowned ‘Best-of-Fest’ so be sure to text in your vote for your favorite brewery. Look for the special brewer codes and instructions at each booth!

In addition to the Grand Tasting, festival goers can enjoy eight different styles of beer from Sierra Nevada including the coveted Back Porch Lager! Back Porch Lager was created by the Blues & Brews staff at a ‘one-of-a-kind’ Beer Camp weekend in Chico, CA. This lager brewed specially for Blues & Brews and is not available anywhere outside the Festival.

Lastly, festival goers can choose between six premium craft beers and one hard cider from the ‘House of Brews’. The House of Brews featured five additional breweries – Big B’s Hard Cider, Bonfire Brewing, Durango Brewing Co, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Ska Brewing and Telluride Brewing Co. Be sure to stop in and check out the different flavors being poured throughout the weekend.

Cocktails - New for 2016, a cocktail bar will be available in the main festival grounds! Enjoy a full cocktail menu with ingredients from Tito's and more.

Wine - Wine will be available at bars throughout the festival.

Green - Marijuana use, possession and purchase is legal in Telluride! Like alcohol, marijuana can be enjoyable, but dangerous if consumed in excess. Go slow at first! Especially with edible consumption. For those interested in marijuana use, we suggest asking the experts at local dispensaries or the on-site booth from festival partner O.PenVAPE concerning usage laws and effects. O.PenVAPE will be on-site all weekend and is ready to talk with attendees 21 and up about all things marijuana and vaporizer innovation, make sure to stop by their booth!

Read more about the festival beer selection here.


New Sheridan - Go shoot pool and play some foose 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.

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.

Telluride Brewing - Take a trip out to Lawson Hill and check out Telluride’s microbrewery. Fresh beer from the source and brewery tours available.

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!

Click here for a full list of bars in the area.

Explore like a Local

Hands down, Telluride is one of the best towns in the world for outdoor recreation! The towering peaks of the San Juan Mountain Range offer adventure for novices to pros alike.



If you’re up for adventure, there are plenty 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 seek a more challenging hike, check out the Jud Wiebe Trail (N. Aspen Street) which takes you to a gorgeous overlook of the entire town.

Backpacker Get Out More Tour - Festival partner partner Backpacker Magazine will be at the festival to answer questions about hiking, gear and more. They’ll also be giving away free gear, swag and possibly organizing a group hike on Sunday! Make sure to stop by their booth.

Mountain Biking


Miles of mountain bike trails span the Telluride box cannon. Beginners should start with the Valley Floor Trail.


Experienced bikers might consider the Prospect Trail Loop off of the Telluride Mountain Village Gondola.

Scenic Off-Road Drives


Many scenic paved and backcountry roads weave through the peaks and valleys of Telluride. For those without a four-wheel drive car, HWY 145 South towards Dolores offers stunning views of the Telluride Valley, Wilson Mesa and Lizard Head Pass.


Those with a four-wheel drive, high clearance cars can consider a trip to Bridal Veil Falls.

Ride the Gondola - The only FREE transportation of its kind in the country, Telluride’s Gondola is a must-do while visiting 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 (Station San Sophia) to hike around or ride the Gondola down into Mountain Village to check out the local bars, shops and restaurants. The Gondola runs from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. on Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday, and 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. on Sunday of the Festival.

Paddleboarding - Located 27 minutes South of Telluride Trout Lake offers stunning paddleboarding with beautiful alpine views. Paddleboards can be rented locally at BootDoctors™ Paragon Outdoors.

Fly-Fishing - Telluride is an angler’s paradise. Alpine lakes, creeks and rivers are frequent throughout the Telluride region. For more information about fly-fishing click here.

For more information about hiking, diving, paddleboarding, fly-fishing and biking in Telluride’s visitor guide.

Shop and See

Historical downtown Telluride is home to an abundance of great merchant shops and art galleries. From boutique clothing shops, inviting art galleries, and unique victorian architecture, it’s easy to spend a day exploring. Click here for a full shopping guide.



Festival Food - If you're a foodie, prepare for food heaven! The delicious food vendor menus at the 2016 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival will keep your taste buds satisfied all weekend long. Our vendors satisfy even the most particular eater. Gluten-free? They've got you covered! Vegan or vegetarian? No problem! Paleo diet? You're in luck!

Check out the Festival Food Guide for more information.


Brown Dog Pizza - Brown Dog Pizza is located on Main Street and has delicious pizza, subs, salads and beer 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 - Easily 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 5:00 -6:00 p.m. every day of the week!

La Cocina - Delicious menu featuring local and organic Mexican food on Main Street with indoor and outdoor seating.

Pescado - Looking for some good sushi? Our friends at Pescado have some of the best in Colorado. 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.

For a list of Telluride restaurants, visit's Dining Guide.

Join the Conversation

Facebook - We can’t wait to see your posts and photos! Share with us and let us know how your weekend is going on the official Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Facebook page!

Twitter - Tag your tweets and photos with the hashtags #TellurideBlues and #TBBF16 to tell us about your favorite shows, photos and good times! Tag @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 festival favorite posts all weekend long.

Spotify - While you pack your bags, listen to our Telluride Blues & Brews Festival playlists on Spotify to get you pumped for the weekend!

Listen the festival Live - Can't make this year's festival? You're in luck! Telluride Blues & Brews Festival will be airing 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.

Steve Gumble2016