“I love spontaneity” – Steve Gumble
My South Florida homecoming was a catapult back into reality with an initial trajectory of near perfect respite in Colorado. The interview with Steve Gumble upon my return was a proverbial icing on the cake, and by a combination of luck and good timing, four days later I was catching the last flight back into Denver. My sleek, yet ultra-compact rental puttered its way through the Western route on i-70 past a rising sun over Breckenridge, winding canyons beyond Vail and finally a wrap-around Grand Junction before coasting into the mountain oasis of Telluride. The town was noticeably more alive. A buzz was building from the kick off of the 18th Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. Continued good fortune put me into town and a parking spot with ease. As I crossed the bridge into Town Park the delta blues preservationist, The Sugar Thieves, were busy warming up the main stage with a high-energy set that had a captive audience even in the early hour.
Noticeable differences from a typical mid-tier festival are apparent within the first few minutes of wandering. The topography facilitates a natural perimeter via a serene creek running parallel to jutting mountains. The peaks are constantly visualized in a choice 300 degrees in each direction. The main stage, the only one in the park, sits in front of the tall ridge that carves out Bear Creek Canyon. The crowd fills the space between with standing room in the front and back, while a substantial tarp and chair population is sandwiched in between. The stage is cleverly designed to fit the nature motif, complete with a wooden design accented by a smoke house and a make-shift Juke Joint on stage left and right. The dozens of vendors, beer tents and larger than normal kid’s play areas unobtrusively reinforce the perimeter.
|The Sugar Thieves|
|Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights|
|Fitz and the Tantrums|
|Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa|
|The Flaming Lips|
|Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips|
|Telluride Dance Troupe during The Flaming Lips|
“Beer is the cause of, and solution to, to all of my problems.”
The wet weather stayed consistent throughout the night and morning, but then took a turn for the worse in the early afternoon. Despite its efforts, the heavy rain proved to be no match for the droves of beer enthusiasts. The infamous Grand Tasting , featuring 50 breweries with over 150 beers, drew a respectable crowd at the noon hour. Patrons awkwardly danced to the classic funk of the Lionel Young Band while trying to remain as dry as possible. Whether it was the booze, or an attempt to pretend like the weather wasn’t a factor, the sporadic rush of contagious hoots, hollers and woots had everyone grinning and making the best of it. A particular loud response came when the rain slowly transformed into snowflakes. The white speckles clouded the sky and fell into tasting glasses. Yo Momma’s Big Fat Booty Band took the climate transition as their cue and dosed the crowd with a favorable breed of pseudo-psychedelic funk rock that was an odd, yet successful pairing for imbibing the best craft beers the area has to offer.
|Stilts in the mud|
|Bill Kreutzmann and the 7 Walkers Bring a Circus|
|Rob Derhak of moe.|
|Al of moe. and Anders Osbourne|
|moe. late night|
|moe. lost in lights|
“Tell her I am a dragon slayer in Telluride, yes, I slay dragons” - Random Brewser
|Eric Bibb String Band|
|Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit|
|The Robert Cray Band|