Wild West Fest

Uniting 50 disadvantaged children from all over the United States from places like Atlanta, Georgia, Wichita, Kansas, and Phoenix, Arizona, Telluride Colorado’s Wild West Fest offers a summer experience to remember. Each summer, early on in the season, young people ages 12 to 18 from Boys and Girls Clubs of America, along with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, arrive in the Western Slope of Colorado for a week of western culture that includes arts, experiential learning, and many outdoor activities. In the majesty of the Telluride area, these young adults learn valuable skills, ideas, and values that can last a lifetime and that they can take with them when they leave.

Besides discovering the beauty of the mountains in the San Juans, kids discover other things about themselves: music, fly-fishing, horsemanship, theater, dance, crafting, mining, cooking, and more through the Chip Allen Mentorship Program. While on one level, these kids are learning about culture and history, on another, they learn to embody person traits like self-confidence, empowerment, trust, leadership, self-worth, and cooperation. And they do this through learning about the land, the environment, and relationships with the earth and its peoples. This is in addition to the other exciting traditions like the annual cookout at the incredible Schmid Ranch, movie night at the Sheridan Opera House, outdoor concerts, and swimming in the Ouray Hot Springs.

With local Telluride experts in various fields serving as mentors for the Telluride Wild West Fest group, the young men and women are able to experience first-hand what it’s like to participate in the amazing things the local landscape has to offer. These mentors set up a space that is both supportive and also challenging. This balance helps these inner city youth have an experience that can set them up for success and learn about possibilities- ones that they might not have otherwise.

Founded by the Sheridan Arts Foundation, a Telluride non-profit, Telluride Wild West Fest generously covers all expenses for the Boys & Girls Clubs and Big Brothers and Big Sisters, with the exception of travel. Through the support of sponsorship, (a donation of $1,000 enables one child to attend the Wild West Fest) this is made possible. Many Telluride restaurants, businesses, and community members give to see the Wild West Fest happen every summer.

Telluride Wild West Fest can be the opportunity that some kids get once in their lives, and some never at all. It’s the Telluride way, the consciousness that exists in the valley- a desire to give people something they could never give themselves. It’s also a way of honoring the place that locals call home, by sharing the beauty and opportunities of the Telluride canyon with others who may not be so fortunate.

Hats off to the Telluride Wild West Fest, and all of the generosity the Sheridan Arts Foundation and others offer that make the dream come true for so many young people each year. To find out more or to contact the Sheridan Arts Foundation in support of Wild West Fest, email [email protected].

The Chamber Music Festival

Some people say that music alone can take raise people up, that it can affect memory and emotion, and that it can even heal the spirit. For at least forty years, the Telluride Chamber Music Festival has been enchanting the town of Telluride with its concert pieces and doing all of the above.

It’s a small affair, but a powerful one.

The festival was founded by Roy Malan, who also serves as artistic director. Malan studied with greats like Yehudi Menuhin, Efrem Zimbalist, and Ivan Galamia. His resume is impressive, and his vision helps to make the Telluride Chamber Music Festival what it always has been and what it continues to be today. Others who play in the Telluride Chamber Music Festival have equally astounding resumes, and the collaboration of all is nothing short of heavenly.

The festival itself usually spans a few consecutive weekends in early August. With music events on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays, Telluride Chamber Music delivers up concertos, sonatas, quartets, and quintets for the listening pleasure of all in appreciation. You’ll hear the violin, cello, piano, and clarinet, and harmonies that will stir the soul. They have been known to play all of the legends: Mozart, Brahm, Bach, Vivaldi, and others, and it is magic to hear these amazing pieces recreated for the experience at 9,000 feet.

The kickoff begins in the town’s park and involves a picnic and a free outdoor concert. Set in the beauty of the Telluride Town Park, the mountains reflect the divinity of this incredible music. Picnic foods are not provided, but audiences can and should bring their own cheese, wine, and truffles. Other concert events happen at the historic Sheridan Opera House. The acoustics are quite fine and the décor might even take you back a century. Tickets for all events that are not free are $25.

Feel free to dress up a bit, but you won’t see the likes of New York City attire despite the New York City quality of music you are bound to experience. This is Telluride, and even for the fanciest of dinners in the finest of Telluride restaurants, you are likely to find some people in casual dress. It’s acceptable here.

Telluride Chamber Music also involves the young people too, and it does offer a free concert to all children from pre-school aged to high-school aged. This concert is actually free for adults who accompany a child, and the event includes the opportunity to meet the musicians after the concert. Here, the discussion of the music is carried forward, and young people can ask questions. Ice cream is served afterward.

This festival is a non-profit and relies on the kindness of its generous supporters. It really is the donations that keep the Telluride Chamber Music Festival a living, breathing, creative organism.  The Telluride Foundation, Arts and Special Events, as well as Commission for Community Assistance all contribute to making sure the festival goes on. Contributions can be made through email or by phone.

The Nothing Festival

Started by locals long ago, it was a type of protest to the endless festivals that pepper the entire summer season of Telluride. Called the “Nothing Festival”, it’s designed to be just that: It’s about nothing- a celebration of nothing.

Why? You might ask.

Because Telluride has an abundance of festivals: Mountain Film, Wine Festival, Blues and Brews, Compassion Festival, Mushroom Festival, Telluride Film, Jazz Festival, Wild West Fest, Playwrights Festival, Yoga Festival, The Ride, Plein Air, Balloon Festival, Chamber Music, and let’s not forget Bluegrass.

Hence, the Nothing Festival was created, or should we say, it was born. The Nothing Festival is a very local idea. This is because many Telluriders grow weary of the tourists, visitors, hippies that come in for other festivals. They love the commerce and the energy that the pilgrims bring, but the festivals themselves are tiring. During other festivals, there are waiting for lines for lattes at the Bean. Parking is problematic. And, one cannot simply slip into Siam and grab a table.

The Nothing Festival. It’s a weekend of doing nothing because there is no reason to race to Town Park and throw down tarps. There is no ticket line to stand in. There is no bracelet or pass involved. There are no crowds. And, there is no schedule or lineup. One should not agonize over finances and the cost of festival food and beers. If you come to Telluride the weekend of the Nothing Festival, you will not find music for it, though you might easily slide into the Moon or another venue and find a local band playing.

In the middle of July in Telluride, right around the time that the monsoons pick up, they celebrate a whole lot of nothing. Many who are not locals will not know about this. There is no advertisement or promotion for the Nothing Festival. It just is.

However, there is one highlight: the Nothing Parade. Occurring on a Sunday at 8:00 pm in the evening, the Nothing Parade begins. The most important and maybe only event of the entire festival, the Nothing Parade features adult locals moving west to east, completely naked. They wear nothing. Though no traditional clothing is worn, some costume measures are taken. Feather boas, ridiculous hats, body paint, and sunglasses are all completely welcomed attire. However, nothing is typically worn in the form of pants, shirts, or undergarments. On bikes, skateboards, unicycles, and perhaps walking or jogging, Telluriders show up and celebrate nothing in full form.

Spectators will line Colorado Avenue. Cameras will flash, and cheers will fill the air. It is a sight to be seen, this Nothing Parade, during the Nothing Festival. And, for those in the know, there are Nothing Barbecues held by locals in the tradition of the Nothing Festival. You’re likely to stumble upon a keg party out in the yard where friends are grilling burgers and vegetables, in absolutely nothing.

Don’t take our word for it. Experience nothingness yourself, around the third week in July. There may be nothing else like it.

The Ride Festival

The Ride Festival in Telluride first made headlines in the summer of 2012 and featured quite a lineup. Since then, it’s been famous for bringing acts like Ben Harper, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, David Byrne, the Lumineers, Los Lobos and others to the San Juan Mountains.

With two full days of incredible music as well as late night events that wowed the crowds, The Ride has been added to the list of Telluride music traditions. Now, in its third year, it’s a festival that locals, as well as visitors, look forward to. However, some Telluriders will even say that The Ride offers something a little more special than does Bluegrass or Blues & Brews.

“It’s a pure locals’ festival … Not that we don’t like tourists, but I love dancing with the Telluride community surrounding me”. said, Melanie Eggers.

Supported by local radio station KOTO, Telluride Ski & Golf, and many other local organizations, including hotels and restaurants, The Ride is proud to “bring stellar rock and roll music to one of the most stunning venues in the world”. The festival traditionally kicks off on a Friday with a music event for the public in the Mountain Village on the summer concert series stage. Just a short ride up the Gondola, this premiere has been well-attended.

Tickets are required for entry into the Telluride Town Park, where the festival takes place on a Saturday and Sunday. The two-day pass is typical $165 with VIP passes for $325 that include special seating, bathrooms, private bar, a complimentary cocktail hour and brunch. With an array of vendors selling clothing, food, beer, and art, pass holders have access to a full festival experience.

The Telluride Town Park offers camping for festival goers. Check in is possible as early as Friday morning for a timely setup. Campers are permitted to stay through Monday morning. This option, which includes tents and trailers, makes for a convenient experience as the campground is just steps from the festival gates and the gathering inside. The music is still heard loudly and clearly even from the camping area.

A three-day camping pass is usually $60 per person, while a car camping pass is $85 per vehicle. RV camping prices run $125, and these sell out quickly. For those not camping, The New Sheridan Hotel is a highly recommended option for accommodations. The historic building offers elegant rooms in a prime location on the main street, Colorado Ave., with the convenience of one of the best restaurants in town downstairs in the lobby. Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the New Sheridan is a favorite among festival crowds.

And, there is a way to more affordably attend this event. Like other Telluride festivals, The Ride does offer volunteer positions in exchange for tickets. In fact, volunteers are what make festivals like The Ride possible. Applications are online and can be found at http://www.ridefestival.com/volunteer/. In the same place, a volunteer center can be accessed for updates and announcements.

Check The Ride website for this year’s lineup.

Playwrights Festival

They call it a “laboratory”, the Telluride Playwrights Festival, a laboratory meaning a controlled setting where research, experiments, and measurements are performed.  Sound serious? It should. The Telluride Playwrights Festival has helped take plays to Chicago, Denver, and even New York City. With a mission “to help playwrights fulfill their vision in an intimate, communal setting against the backdrop of the majestic the San Juan Mountains”, fulfilling visions, this festival is.

Founded by actress and writer Jennie Franks in 2006, the Telluride Playwrights Festival is her creation. Franks lived in England and LA before settling in Telluride, Colorado. She’s worked as both writer and director for various documentaries and plays.  She founded Sparky Productions, a non-profit who makes evidently nothing by hosting its annual function. Existing solely for the purpose of bringing new work to light, Sparky Productions does in fact cover costs for the lucky attendees, contributing to lodging and travel. Talk about giving back in the spirit of art.

Each winter, the Telluride Playwrights Festival accepts submissions of plays, and then that spring selects a small group of writers with whom to work with for the following summer. While there is a small fee to submit, it does assist the festival in covering some of those costs for production and hosting.  But at just $10.00 a script, it seems like a more than fair deal for a submission fee.

When it comes to what the decision makers are looking for, they clearly state that they are searching for work that grabs the readers’ attention or makes others feel different in some way after experiencing it. Apparently, all genres are acceptable, from comedy to tragedy, as long as the work is thoughtfully written. The festival claims that plays don’t have to be exactly finished, but that they should be mostly in place as far as the elements go. The Telluride Playwrights Festival, then, collaborates to give chosen works a little help.

In the intimate setting of Telluride, the lucky attendees have the opportunity to work with professionals from all over the United States: actors, directors, writers, and other professionals to get real support for their plays. For the duration of a week, participants get workshop space- time for presenting their work, receiving feedback, and getting constructive criticism. The environment for aspiring playwrights is honest, supportive, and all for the purpose of helping them bring forth their work and see it materialize on stage, which does happen in small doses at the Sheridan Opera House Theatre on the final night of the Telluride Playwrights Festival. This is where the community is welcomed to take part, listening to short readings and encouraged to share their suggestions.

The Telluride Playwrights Festival claims that they don’t stop working just because the day’s session is over. The laboratory moves. They take the discussions back to local homes, where those wishing to can take the creative process even further, discussing the flow of ideas, dialoguing the details of different works. For a playwright, aspiring or established, it sounds like a dream come true.

The Telluride Playwright’s Festival is hosted by (TPF), a laboratory for playwrights, actors, and directors

Bluegrass Festival

The most fun 4-day mountain party ever. At an elevation of 8,750 ft., it requires planning. If you’ve never experienced Bluegrass in Telluride, and you appreciate this genre of music- bluegrass, alternative country-, you should put it on your list. There’s nothing like it.

Tickets to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival go on sale in the fall, with locals getting a discount and pre-sale, but all tickets go fast. Telluride Bluegrass has been known to sell out in just hours for years. Calling ahead and purchasing tickets is the best option, though you can usually find some leftovers on craigslist, e-bay, or even outside of the Telluride Town Park when the time comes. Scalping is highly discouraged, and the locals operate at a vibration of kindness and karma. It’s a shared belief here that you shouldn’t make money by scalping Telluride Bluegrass tickets. And, every once in a while, some lucky festivarian might get a “miracle” – a free ticket donated to them by the grace of some stranger who has an extra they cannot use.

If you plan on camping in Telluride, you must reserve this in advance also, as spots are limited and also sell out quickly.  Bluegrass campers have the benefits of avoiding driving, getting free bus transportation, and the option of walking or biking most everywhere in town. If you do get Bluegrass tickets or if you plan to come to town in hopes of scoring some, you’ll notice Telluride barricades the town. There is one road in, and the same road out. Parking is problematic, and the barricade serves to control the traffic for the 12,000 people that arrive into the small box canyon for Bluegrass. You’ll need a pass to get in and out of town.

You’ll want to exchange your tickets for bracelets as soon as possible. Waiting until Thursday means waiting in lines-long lines. The box office is set up a few days before, and on Wednesday you can take care of this matter more efficiently. The third week in June can be unpredictable as far as the weather goes. Mostly in mid-to-late June, it’s sunny, even hot, but on occasion, it’s been known to rain, hail, or even snow this time of the year in the Western Slope. Having the right gear is necessary. Rain shells, sunscreen, hats, water bottles, and shade tents are all recommended. Many of these items you can buy locally, and the festival does supply free sunscreen and water for all Bluegrass ticket holders.

The UV index is high at this altitude, and it’s easy to get cooked in the Telluride summer sun. That’s why Bluegrass festivarians participate in the tarp run each morning, some of them sleeping outside overnight or waking at 5:00 am to get in line for entry. In the morning, when the festival gates open, ticket holders run inside in hopes of getting a good spot for that day. Some of them set up tarps in front of the stage, but further back is the sunshade section. Many of the families are found in this area, in a sea of gray and blue Kelty. There is a consciousness about the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and recycling and composting are like laws. You’ll notice all waste is dealt with mindfully. They have staff monitoring the disposal of all garbage, and the vendors are required to use compostable plates and utensils. New Belgium, the official brewery of the festival, does discount beer for the reuse of cups.  Contests happen every year for the most conscious camp sites. Plan of being green for Bluegrass.

Yes, bring the kids. Telluride loves kids, and the Bluegrass festival is no exception. Kids are free with an adult, and a whole fenced area exists just for children’s activities. You’ll find puppet shows and talent contests by the Living Folklore organization. Kids make hula-hoops, get their faces painted, bake cookies in solar ovens, and walk through the Kids Parade on Sunday of the festival. Don’t forget headphones for the little ones if you plan on getting up close, though the first aid tent does offer free earplugs. There are plenty of things for all ages to eat. The same amazing vendors are there most every year. From Greek food and Asian dumplings to fish tacos and barbeque, you’re bound to find something satisfying. And Boulder Ice Cream, lemonade, and coffee drinks are on site as well. Don’t forget to bring cash. Many booths don’t take cards. Ask anybody for the closest ATM, and you’ll be directed, though you’ll have to walk a few blocks outside the park.

Plan on getting your mind blown with good music. The regulars will be there: the King of Telluride, Sam Bush, along with Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, Tim O’Brien, Bela Fleck, and others like Chris Thile, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Leftover Salmon. You’ll see them play their own shows and then collaborate together in different ways.  You can also plan on surprises too…..In the past, legends like Robert Plant, David Byrne, John Prine, and others have made appearances. And, often times, you can meet the musicians in person in the merchandise tent after their set. You’ll also find random musicians jamming on the streets or outside of the park.

There’s really nothing like it, Telluride Bluegrass, amazing music, legendary performers, and the best backdrop ever- the beauty and consciousness of Telluride. It’s the festival of all bluegrass festivals. But, if you’re going to plan on it, plan for it.

Balloon Festival

It’s a sight to be seen: the wonder and beauty of the giant hot air balloons lifting off from high in the Telluride mountains. They fly up and away, taking away with them the breath of the young and old.  They soar up and over the aspens and pine trees in shades of greens, blues, golds, reds, and other incredible colors. Some have faces; Some have shapes and designs; Others just are.

Held every year in the summer season, the Telluride Balloon Festival has been a favorite for almost thirty years. And, it’s still going strong.  Usually, on the first weekend in June, the Balloon Festival schedules its events for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s a quieter festival in town. There is no music or vending or promotion really of any sort, though you will find a local youth group selling pastries and other baked goods. But, those who know, know. It’s the weekend of the Telluride Balloon Festival. And, if you don’t know, there is the banner hanging across Colorado Avenue at the intersection of Oak Street. As with all festivals in Telluride, the banner announces the event, and banners change every weekend.

The Telluride Balloon Festival is an opportunity for locals and visitors, alike, to balloon gaze and see the majesty of the giant floating bubbles taking off, but it is also a chance for some to get a ride. The early bird gets the worm, and the Telluride Balloon Festival is no exception. Participation involves getting up and getting there. Starting very early, at 6:00 am – 6:15 am, the pilot briefings occur. With locations in Town Park and on Main Street, those wishing to take part in the Telluride Balloon Festival can choose their selected area. After the pilot briefing, the inflation begins. It really is a spectacular event for young people, and even adults, to have the chance to see the flames that fire and fuel the balloons. It can also be a lesson in science and chemistry.

The Town Park location, east on Colorado Avenue and home to many Telluride festivals, is the actual departure area. It is here that balloons will lift off and make their journeys. For those wishing to have the tethered ride experience, the main street is the best bet. Here, 2-3 people can climb aboard, station themselves in a basket, and have the take-off moment, while still remaining tied to the ground. The senses really get the full effect- the hissing of the flames, the ground below becoming smaller, the basket beneath become lighter. Saturday night hosts the GLO event, the culminating activity of Telluride Balloon Festival, with the lighting of the balloons on the main street. From 8:45 pm to 9:30 pm, the balloons are illuminated in the Telluride canyon.

Jackets are always recommended for early and late temperatures. And, watch the weather. Telluride Balloon Festival requires the cooperation of the elements, including wind and rain. Posters of the Telluride Balloon Festival are for sale and can be purchased on-site or online.

It is through the support and generosity of sponsors that Telluride Balloon Festival is possible and continues.  

Americana Music Festival

The Telluride Americana Music Series might be one of the lesser- known festivals in Telluride, but it’s actually one of the greats. In the Telluride summer, usually in July, singer-songwriters from around the country come together and showcase their original music, bringing with them the richness of past tradition, some of it fused with contemporary innovation. You might hear the ghost of Patsy Cline or be reminded of Bobbie Gentry or even recognize the words to a George Strait or Oklahoma Red Dirt Music song, like Cross Canadian Ragweed might have played. What you are experiencing is some of the talents that create the American music tradition that speaks to our hearts.

From folk rock to blues, from alternative country to rockabilly, the Telluride Americana Music Series gives a tip of the hat to a little bit of everything. It’s a chance for longstanding and upcoming musicians to meet each other, see, and be seen. It’s a coming together for the purpose of sharing and also for inspiration, and to pay tribute.

Single-day passes are available as well as full three-day passes. They are sold through the Sheridan Opera House and also through tellurideticket.com. A VIP option does exist, though it is hard to come by as not many are offered. VIP to Telluride Americana Music Series includes a four-day pass with admission into a private event before the other festivities kick off, usually an intimate concert given by a headliner. You might find a blues rocker like Lincoln Durham on stage, throwing down confessions of being a sinner while at the same time stroking his guitar and kicking a bass drum. You could see John Fullbright, whose album From the Ground Up was nominated for a Grammy. And you might be lucky enough to run into the lovely Tift Merrit. She’s got an angel’s voice and has been compared to the likes of Joni Mitchell and even Emmylou Harris.

The bottom line: The Telluride Americana Music Series is serious stuff. In the last six years, the festival has brought in the Trishas, The Greencards, Joe Ely, Sam Baker, Darden Smith, Jason Eady, Patty Larkin, Jimmy LaFave, Eric Bibb, and Ashleigh Flynn, as well as others.

And what’s cool about Telluride is that it’s a small town. With only about 2000 people living in the canyon and just one main street running east and west, you’re bound to run into some of these incredible musicians- maybe even get to have a conversation with some of them…..if you can recognize them. Chances are you’ll find some of them in the Steaming Bean getting coffee or walking down Colorado Avenue with a guitar in hand. Telluride Americana Music Series does make some recommendations for lodging with Hotel Madeline, The Hotel Telluride, The Peaks Hotel, and Telluride Lodging at the top of its suggestion list. The season is in full-swing, so travel plans should be made in advance

Mountain Film Festival

Om Mane Padma Hum. In English, this mantra translates to “Praise to the jewel in the lotus”. Walk through the streets of Telluride in late May for Memorial Day weekend, and you’ll notice colorful Tibetan prayer flags blowing in the breeze of local shop windows and above doorways. You’ll also notice the giant prayer wheels fringed in gold and green and red. Be sure to spin them clockwise as tradition directs. They are there to purify karma and spread wisdom. But really, along with the other Tibetan symbols, they are they are there for Mountainfilm Festival. Mountainfilm is dedicated to educating, inspiring and motivating audiences about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving, adventures worth pursuing and conversations worth sustaining. One of America’s most beloved and longest-running film festivals, Mountainfilm Festival has been a Telluride attraction since 1979.

Mountainfilm includes screenings of inspirational independent films in multiple venues throughout Telluride and in the Mountain Village. But it doesn’t stop there. There are discussions and panels, artwork, music events and more…..all in the name of consciousness. With films that cover the gamut of issues regarding the environment, climate change, cultural challenges, politics, and more, Mountainfilm sheds light on the dilemmas, the truth, and consequences, and also helps viewers to find hope. One way that Mountainfilm does this is through the Next Step program. It is through Next Step that audiences are encouraged to focus on positive changes regarding the ways they’ve been inspired because of the films they have viewed. So as Mountainfilm educates the festival goers, it also asks them to think and then to get involved.

Like many Telluride festivals, Mountainfilm prides itself by functioning as a low-impact event, committed to reducing the waste that is generated in celebrations like this. The festival encourages participants to bring their own mugs and other supplies for the purpose of reusing and reducing garbage. Mountainfilm really is more than a film festival. It’s a gathering of minds interested in looking at how we are evolving, how we are caring for the planet and its peoples, and looking at the various ways we can enjoy and protect this earth.

Om Mani Padma Hum. Praise to the jewel in the lotus. And praise to the jewel that is Mountainfilm Festival in the beauty of the flower that is Telluride.

Plein Air Festival

Plein Air. It’s a French expression. Translated, it means “in the open air”, and in the painting world, it means “to paint outdoors”. Many schools of art have noted the importance of natural light and painting in nature, but it’s not just a French concept. We now have festivals everywhere that are devoted to this idea, painting in the open air, and the Telluride Plein Air Festival is one of them.

For over a decade, the Telluride Plein Air Festival has been ongoing. And, what an ideal place for art. In late June and early July, the mountains of the Telluride region are breathtaking. You’ll find the aspens, green and quake throughout town and on the mountains, along with Cottonwood trees and the sturdy pines showing their new growth. Orange poppies, yellow daffodils, and pink tulips grow in front yard gardens in Telluride, along with fragrant lilac and wild rose and more dandelions than you can imagine. Views of Ajax, Bridal Veil Falls, and Ingram Falls amaze onlookers in the canyon, and the sky is bluer than most people have ever seen it. There is a reason why some people claim that Telluride really is the most beautiful place in the world. For this reason, alone, many painters apply for the opportunity to come to the Telluride Plein Air Festival in the summer. The online process happens the previous fall. The Plein Air Festival reports a high turn out rate for applications and does encourage those that don’t make it try again. Twenty-some painters are selected from the process to join Plein Air, painting and sharing their work.

Schedules are online, and look something like this: Artists arrive a week before culminating events and begin painting. You’ll see them throughout the town, set up with easels, pallets, brushes, and in the zone. They might chat a little with passers-by, but they are working on capturing their expression of their Telluride experience, what caught their attention, their small moment of grandeur. Later these pieces will be for sale in Telluride at the end of the Plein Air Festival. There are a Quick Draw and Sale for Plein Air, where audiences can watch artists working in the moment and all at the same time. These pieces are then sold on the spot, and viewers can purchase pieces from the talent that has traveled so far for the experience.

Through invitation only, there is a VIP event for the Artist Choice Preview and Wine Tasting. This typically occurs at the legendary Sheridan Opera House and showcases some of the best paintings of the week created at Plein Air and the grand finale of the festival is the two-day sale, where painters release their work to the public at the free event. Here, anyone can purchase the creations the Plein Air artists have just completed memorializing Telluride in the fullness of the summer season.

Plein Air in Telluride really has become a beautiful tradition, and one that most people find fascinating- to watch art as it is created in the glory of the Telluride canyon.