Telluride Yoga Festival

One of the newest additions to the festival season of Telluride is the Telluride Yoga Festival. Founded in 2007, this gathering is going strong.  Created by Aubrey Hackman, a young aspiring instructor of the Jivamukti yoga tradition, she brought her vision for a celebration of consciousness to fruition, and it has remained a success…..for several reasons.

Telluride Yoga Festival brings in some of the best teachers. Attendees have the opportunity to study with various instructors that are world-renown: Duncan Wong, Tias Little, Beryl Bender Birch, and more.  This is along with some of the more innovative instructors showcased, like the Yoga Slackers- who make sure a little-sacred play is a part of their practice, incorporating acro yoga, slack lining, and sometimes dance. The presenter lineup changes yearly.

From workshops to individual classes, there is a little something for all yogis in Telluride at this festival. Representing Iyengar, Hatha, Ayurveda, Power Yoga, Kundalini, Ashtanga, Shamanic practices, and other lineages, festival goers can also expect new and emerging branches of “garage” yoga and even “Forrest” yoga.  In addition, one can find Aquarian sadhana and meditations each morning to get the day off to a centered and grounded start.

One of the coolest things for Telluride is the music that the Yoga Festival brings in. Kirtan is a call and response type of chanting that is healing for the soul, and weekend nights of Telluride Yoga Festival usually feature some sort of kirtan event. In the past, Wah, Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band, and the late Shyamdas have made appearances, blessing the Telluride canyon with sacred sound syllables and mantras for healing. It’s not surprising that in a town like Telluride, you can experience these ancient healing practices from India to open the heart and connect to the Divine. Kirtan events are open to the public, with a cover charge at the door, though the festival pass gains access.

Full and partial pass options are available. However, for those that don’t have tickets or the time to purchase a pass, Telluride Yoga Festival does provide free options. And isn’t this the yoga way? To make yoga free and accessible to all beings? The community classes are the festival’s way of giving back and serving the public. Students can still experience these gifted teachers and their wisdom in venues like the Wilkinson Public Library or the Telluride Elementary School at no cost. In keeping with the values and mindset that is yoga, this is a zero waste festival. Telluride Yoga Festival donates 25% of their profits to local non-profit organizations created to serve the earth. Reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting are all requirements of participation.

Yoga Festival happens every July. Each year is different, but each year maintains the same organization and quality of experience. It’s a beautiful thing to see yogis from around the country, or even different parts of the world, carrying their mats through the enchanting streets of Telluride, searching for their next class and the beautiful truth of our experience.

Blues and Brews Festival

It couldn’t happen during a more magical time of year. The aspens glow in the last of summer, turning shades of gold and burnt yellow. In the middle of the day, you can still feel the warmth of the sun, but fall makes her grand entrance here with chilly night temperatures bringing the possibility of rain or even snow. There is an electric energy in the earth- the energy that moves with the changing of the seasons. It’s that time of year. And time for the annual Telluride Blues and Brews Festival.

A three-day event that happens every September in the Telluride mountains, the Blues and Brews Festival is a favorite of tourists and locals alike. Tickets go on sale in early March, with early-bird options, as well as single day passes and three-day passes for the full festival experience. VIP passes to Blues & Brew’s, with special seating and bathrooms and other perks, are also available, but sell out on the first day. Camping does also sell out immediately when ticket sales are announced.

Camping, or not, bring your clothes. The last thing you want to be without at this high-altitude festival is layers. Rain gear, long underwear, boots, gloves, and sunglasses are all required. Many a festivarian has gotten himself into trouble showing up ill-prepared after many brews when the sun goes down.

The first-aid station is available and does provide assistance with sunscreen and other supplies.  Water is always free at this festival. Be sure and bring an empty plastic bottle. Like most events here, Telluride Blues and Brews is a green festival. Composting, recycling, and mindfulness are the principles. Blues and Brews seek little to no-impact, is 100% carbon neutral, and asks everyone involved to “think green.”

The Sierra Nevada is the official beer sponsor of Telluride Blues and Brews, but festival-goers will have access to over 150 different beers inside Town Park at the event. The Grand Tasting occurs on the Saturday of the festival with over 50 breweries participating, and the audience exercising their rights to vote for the best. Tasters get a full three hours to savor the samples of what Blues and Brews bring in.

The music does not disappoint, and legends like the Allman Brothers, Warren Haynes, The Black Crowes, Phil Lesh, Otis Taylor, BB King, Grace Potter, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, and more have played this stage and wowed the crowds. Other bonuses of Blues and Brews include the Acoustic Blues Competition, where the top six entries play for the Elks breakfast event,  and the Juke Joint events at night, where live Blues music goes late.

Kids under 11 years of age are free, and there is much for them to do. With the rock climbing wall, bungee jumps, kids crafts, and games, the party is not just for the adults, and young people actually do love to come play at Blues and Brews. If you’re bringing kids, you’ll surely find the Rainbow Area. Don’t let the lack of money stop you. Volunteer passes are available, and the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival always needs help. Applications can be found online. Exchange usually involves working two shifts to earn a 3-day festival pass.

Telluride Jazz Festival

It’s not New Orleans, but if you close your eyes, listen, take a deep breath, and imagine, you might be able to transport yourself there for a few moments. But, then again, why wish to be in New Orleans when you can experience Jazz in Telluride, Colorado? Telluride Jazz Festival is a unique summer experience that celebrates the music, food, and culture that is Jazz, and done so uniquely on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains.

Despite Telluride is a small town, but there is nothing small-town about its Jazz Festival. In the past, Jazz has pulled in outstanding acts like The Motet, Victor Wooten, Allen Toussaint, Tower of Power, Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, and even Herbie Hancock. There’s a reason why Jazz fans come to Colorado again and again for the Telluride Jazz Festival. It’s a world-class show, in an intimate setting.

August in Telluride is a gorgeous time of year, with warm sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70s. Evenings are refreshing with an average in the 50s. Telluride Town Park, home of many local festivals, is also the Telluride Jazz venue, and Jazz fans tend to appreciate the scenery surrounding the stage: aspen and pine trees, 12,000-foot peaks, the freshest air possible, and the rushing of the San Miguel River.

One of the coolest things about Telluride Jazz Festival is the poster that celebrates the festival. With a different artist each year creating the annual artwork, and sometimes the same artist employed for consecutive years, the poster, itself, becomes a collectible. Telluride Jazz posters from years past become both memory and treasure. Roger Mason, Kathryn Vinson Tatum, Mark Barry, and Kent Rich are just a handful of the artists that have had the honor of commemorating Telluride Jazz in poster form.

The band contests each year is a highlight for Telluride Jazz, and festival-goers young and old appreciate this element of competition and the organization thinks of the big picture: Jazz fans can and do make donations that go straight to the community and educational outreach programs. From scholarships for the youth to the Challenge Grant Program, the festival works toward making and keeping music an attainable dream for young people and also expanding music in the schools. Jazz Fest may be one big party, but it’s a party for many purposes, and some of those include making sure the workshops, opportunities, and funding are provided for the next generation.

While celebrating the past of Jazz is certainly a priority, the festival really works to bring the new artists to light. “Finding the new voices in this scene is one of the cool things about Telluride Jazz,” one local states.

In summary, as the mission statement for the Telluride Jazz Society states, this festival exists for the “preservation, appreciation, and artistry of the American art form – Jazz.” At the same time, the organization also maintains that “by bringing internationally acclaimed artists to Telluride, as well as exciting new talent, [they] strive to entertain and educate our audiences and students.”

Telluride Film Festival

The Show is Telluride Film Festival. It happens every Labor Day Weekend in the Telluride mountains and has for almost 40 years and it usually sells out. With more than 50 programs screened during the festival weekend and the most popular repeating at different venues, Telluride Film offers an experience to be remembered. Choices exist to meet the budgets and interests of all.

There are five different pass options available for the Telluride Film Festival, the first being the most basic and affordable. This is the Cinephile pass. At $390, this gains admission to unique and unrepeated programs, as well as new and other special programs, including the Labor Day lunch. At $580, the Acme pass is a step up and gives the option of exclusive admission to the Chuck Jones’ venue, Labor Day picnic, and two bonus choices in the Town Park. Above that is the Festival Pass at $780, and this includes unlimited choices in film, first-choice seating, and admission to the picnic and Opening Night Feed.

Beyond that is the Patron Pass. With admission to all events and sites, it also grants priority seating in all cases, as well as the opportunity to sit as a guest of honor at the Patron’s Brunch and the Patron’s Preview. A special Sponsor Pass is also in existence, which includes all Patron Pass benefits, plus a few unmentioned perks. This can only be obtained through the Development Director.

There are three existing year-round theaters in the town of Telluride, at the Sheridan Opera House, the Nugget Theater, and then also the Palm Theater. However, six more are re birthed each year to make the Telluride Film Festival the tradition that it is. And The Show does also exist outdoors in open-air theaters in Town Park and the Elks Park. Many big options exist in the small town of Telluride.

And big is not just about the variety of viewing locations. Major films that have touched the hearts of many international audiences have debuted right in Telluride at Telluride Film Festival: BLUE VELVET, STRANGER THAN PARADISE, EL MARIACHI, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, EL NORTE, TALK TO HER, BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, CAPOTE, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, JUNO, THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, THE LAST STATION, UP IN THE AIR, and THE KING’S SPEECH are just a few.

The surprise of the filmmakers and artists in attendance is also a juicy treat. In the past Francis Ford Coppola, Penelope Cruz, Meryl Streep, Laura Linney, Bill Murray, and others have made appearances. You might see them strolling the streets or watch them be introduced at one of the Telluride Film events. Of course, you never know who might be there until you show up.

Program guides are available at the hospitality booth during the festival, and can also be downloaded online when the festival begins. Lodging can be problematic, so plan hotels in advance. Transportation is unnecessary once you arrive. The entire town is walkable. September introduces fall in full-force, so get ready for the changing of the aspens, autumn rain showers, and chilly evening temperatures that may surprise you. It’s best to also bring a layer or two so that you are most comfortable in the venue when it’s time for The Show.

Telluride Horror Show

“Don’t be scared to come. It’s actually a real treat”.

As if the town of Telluride, with its small population of just 2000 people, didn’t have enough festivals already, and even film festivals at that, but The Telluride Horror Show Film Festival is another one you can put on the calendar. And honestly, can a place as majestic as Telluride really have too many festivals? Can there be too much celebration in the beautiful box canyon? Is there any reason not to have a party and festivities and movies and music and entertainment? Nah.

So welcome to another show- not just any show. MovieMaker Magazine calls the Telluride Horror Show Festival one of the 20 coolest film festivals in existence. For three days in October, the recently new Horror Show Film Festival celebrates the macabre in the stunning, but daunting, backdrop of the Telluride mountains. With venues like the historic Sheridan Opera House (Isn’t this allegedly haunted?) and the Nugget Theater, fans of this genre get to immerse themselves in horror, fantasy, and sci-fi. And both theaters are just a block away from each other in distance. Telluride Horror Show boasts more than twenty feature length films and over thirty shorts. On top of that, like other film festivals, this one brings in special guests, hosts exciting events, and then offers special programs.

Filmmakers, experienced and amateur, are welcome to submit their horror movies to the festival for review. Online submission forms are available with a meager entry fee. Tickets to the festival are just $72 with an average of only $6 per program. This includes admission to the opening event and meeting the visiting filmmakers. The whole thing is quite a deal for the folks who love the thrill of horror.

So the weather can be the scary part of Telluride Horror Show Film Festival. October means fall is in full swing. We’re talking sunny afternoons with aspen leaves blowing from the bare limbs of trees to possible rain storms in the frigid evenings and temperatures dropping likely below 32 F. Plan for a little frost out on the pumpkin. And, camping is not recommended. Talk about a flirting with horror. Luckily, accommodations this time of year are more affordable in Telluride due to the off-season. Alpine Lodging is the rental company of choice for Telluride Horror Show, and using Alpine to book your festival room will save you 15%. Gondola transportation may likely be out of service, though the town itself is walkable, bikeable, and has free bus service. Getting around is not a problem.

Flying directly into Telluride might even be possible for those on a budget. Off-season offers price-reduced flights right into the canyon, though flying into Montrose, Grand Junction, and even Durango are all fine, but require shuttle service or rental car. Due to the off-season, some restaurants may not be open or have shortened hours. La Cocina de Luz and Brown Dog Pizza are two that stay open year-round. Both have gluten free and vegetarian options.

Like most Telluride festivals, the Horror Show Festival accepts applications for volunteer positions beginning the summer season. 

The Telluride Horror Show…..taking fright to new heights.

WOW Festival

“Life in Balance”

For many people in Telluride, every weekend is a workout weekend. It takes a lot of energy and oxygen to hike around with the pets, peddles the bike to the local market for groceries, or play outdoors with kids. Telluride families are probably more active than most in the United States, skiing, skating, biking, rafting, practicing yoga, and kayaking in their spare time. That being said, some of those very active and healthy Telluride locals recently started a new festival dedicated to physical fitness. It’s the WOW- the workout weekend festival. And it seems to be taking off.

In a country where obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses are prevalent and actually becoming epidemics, the Telluride community moves forward into a future of optimum physical health, through nutrition, exercise, wellness, and other latest trends in the field of health and human performance. What a gorgeous place to celebrate health: Telluride, Colorado.  In the San Juan Mountains, those coming to the WOW festival can experience not only the forums that will be held for the festival indoors, but the scenic beauty of the mountain biking trails, the bike path along the valley floor- perfect also for running-, and the many trails like Bear Creek and Judd Weibe. These trails can easily be hiked in just a few hours or less, and at the same time offer breathtaking views of waterfalls, peaks, creeks, and wildlife.

Some of the incredible teachers and health gurus that the WOW festival is bringing in include Jonathan Ross, Matthew Corner, and Tony Horton, the creator of P90X.  Also presenting at the Workout Weekend are Telluride’s own Alyssa Saunders and Becca Tudor, one the founders of the festival.  Xercise Lab, Pound Girls, and Jeannie Reilly are a few other well-known faces in the world of health and fitness, and these leaders each have their own unique style and way of teaching and inspiring.

For those interested in getting in on the event, the festival pass is $299 for the full three days. To get a single-day pass for either Friday or Saturday costs $175, but snagging just a Sunday pass will only set you back $125.  There is also the option of entering just the adventure race and hill climb, which might be fun for locals, and the entry fee is just $50. A three-day full pass does include this race. And, the Via Ferrata is another action activity the festival is sponsoring and involves scaling the face of a rock wall while harnessed in and clipped to iron supports. This adventure is $125 through the festival.

Founded by locals Albert Roer and Becca Tudor, the Workout Weekend Festival is expected to be impressive.  And with the variety of Pilates, Hiking, Zumba, Yoga, Cardio Circuit, Trail Running, talks on Nutrition and Supplements, and Pound Fit Pro Training, there is likely a little something for everyone.

Applications for volunteers are available online. Short shifts equal full festival pass and tee shirts.

Wine Festival

“If Lord Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and winemaking, were going to make an appearance in Telluride, he surely would at the yearly Wine Festival.”

For thirty-something years, Telluride has been honoring the grape with a variety of events in late June in a true celebration. It’s an important event in Telluride- one that sells out quickly, and for good reason. Wine lovers spend a few days in the luxury of the San Juan Mountains in the gorgeous summer weather, immersing themselves in fine food and incredible wines. How fitting. Some say it truly is a divine experience.

It’s a weekend of tasting, brunches, cooking, and other cocktails. Wine experts from around the world, sommeliers, and winemakers from renowned vineyards enter the Telluride canyon to take part in the celebration. Creating an elegant synergy, local and visiting chefs also gather for pairings of incredible foods for the featured wines. It’s a celebration of the senses, and a way for one to deepen one’s interest and knowledge-base in what is wine culture. And truly there is no better way to learn than to jump right in and go with the “flow”.

So come ready to learn something. Presenters have much to share in the industry, and most are authors, educators, researchers, and wine makers. Telluride Wine Festival is about the discussion as well as the experience of wine. The exhibitors who participate bring in the goods that make Telluride Wine Festival truly superb. Connoisseurs will have opportunities to sample wines from vineyards like Barlow, Camelot, Chamisal, Mondavi, Deadbolt, Gratien, Magician, Landmark, Justin, Palm Bay, Rodney Strong, and many, many others.

An event schedule does exist, and wine lovers can take part in the celebratory toasts that occur, as well as the grand tasting, and the various cooking events showcased by the chefs in appearance that year. Like many Telluride festivals, this one also loves volunteers. Applications are online and those accepted have the opportunity to serve the festival by working events or the box office in exchange for admittance to the other events. Every Wine Festival is a little different, but the thread and theme that hold it together are constant. The same traditions and atmosphere of elegance and beauty persist.

Lodging should be reserved in advance, with options in the town of Telluride available with notice. Suggestions include the New Sheridan Hotel, Hotel Telluride, and Hotel Columbia. Other hotels in Mountain Village are also of quality but do require gondola transportation. Craigslist and local lodging companies do feature high-end short-term rentals as well.

Bring comfortable shoes. Telluride is a town to be walked. Though the style is always present, high heels are usually not. Rain jackets are suggested, as well as Available for purchase are the annual posters commemorating the festival.

Mushroom Festival

Victory to the mushroom!

The first time I experienced the Telluride Mushroom Festival was several years ago after I had first moved to town. I had then seen some event tents throughout Telluride in a few of the local parks, but I was not sure what exactly was happening. I found myself walking on the main street one afternoon that weekend when a parade was starting. I stayed to watch and was glad I did. Folks dressed in wild and elaborate costumes with banners and holding giant chanterelles and other mushrooms like Amanita muscaria as scepters swept the streets singing, “We LOVE mushrooms!” It was a celebration, all right, and I quickly figured out that Telluride honors the incredible mushroom in the prime of its season in the San Juan Mountains every year in August.  

Wow, what an event!

The Telluride Mushroom Festival: It’s a gathering of like minds, or mycophiles, as they say. People from all over the country convene in August in Telluride, Colorado to celebrate fungus and its many amazing and positive qualities. Many local people and also tourists would say that Art Goodtimes is the guru of this gathering. He is a teacher, and a “fun guy”, but he is also considered “Mr. Fungi”. He organizes much of the festival, and many people look to him as a source of knowledge with mushrooms in general. Mr. Goodtimes is also an esteemed local poet and winner of awards, as well as one of the county commissioners in the Telluride area.

The web site for the Telluride Mushroom Festival might seem a little cosmic. Rest assured. There is as much academic knowledge as there is spiritual wisdom. And, you can bet that experts in the fields of health and science will be present. In the past, the festival has brought Dr. Andrew Weil, Ralph Metzner, Paul Stamets, Laura Huxley, many others, and this includes Telluride Sherriff Bill Masters.

Sponsored by the Telluride Foundation, you will find no shortage of things to do and learn at this festival. From cooking and foraging and identification to medicinal properties and cultivation, many aspects of this amazing plant in its many varieties will be explored. You can also find movies, dance, poetry readings, and even a yoga class at the Telluride Mushroom Festival. Some restaurants will even feature a special of the day with some sort of emphasis on the mushroom. The Mushroom Festival truly seeks to examine the relationships that the mushroom holds between other plants, animals, the earth, and the possibilities that exist for healing the planet and its populations.

And, a certification course has been implemented. One can now become certified in mycoremediation. With topics like land design, native fungi and biodiversity, yeast reactors, and mycoremediation and contaminated soil, the Telluride Mushroom Festival looks at real-world applications. The course is $300 and does have attendance requirements. A festival pass is required to participate.

Tickets to the annual Telluride Mushroom Festival are $150.00 per person, but many options are available for savings for groups. There is something for everybody, they claim, at the Mushroom Festival.