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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.

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