The summer festival season raged on this past weekend as 10,000 beer and music fans attended the 21st annual Telluride Blues & Brews. From the first beer cracked in the Town Park Campground, to the final strains of Peter Frampton's talk box vibrating off the canyon walls, it was a memorable three days, and Curbed Ski was there to experience it first-hand. Read on for what rocked- literally and figuratively.
10. Black Joe Lewis: The Austin-based blues rocker (think love child of Jimi Hendrix and James Brown) killed it, and the crowd let him know it. This guy is going to be huge (but we love that he still breaks down his own set-up, post-show).
9. The complete lack of douchey behavior: Volunteers, staff, musicians, and attendees kept it cool and kind, despite being at a beer-soaked festival. Given Blues & Brews' motorcycle biker roots, it's become a UN of music lovers and beer aficionados from the Southwest. Nice to see that sometimes, we can all just get along.
8: Beer, with a side of beer: In a sea of the stuff- the Saturday Grand Tasting had 170 offerings from 56 craft breweries from the Southwest and California- a standout were Telluride hometown heroes Smuggler's Brewpub. Head brewer TJ Daly's Vanilla Porter is the bomb.
7: George Clinton and his fans: Given the slow internet service in town, George Clinton's final upload to the Mothership may take awhile longer, but props to this (very, very well-aged) 73-year-old mutha for turning out. Parliament Funkadelic fans, watching you spend a long, hot, beery day in polyblend bell-bottoms, platform shows, and towering afros…well, we admire your commitment.
6. The Violent Femmes getting countrified: Gordon Gano plays a hell of a fiddle, as shown during a bluegrass number that wasn't just legit, but totally ass-kicking. American Music, indeed.
5. The drinking scene: The bars were packed-out, but not sardine-like. It was all about good folks, strong drinks, and free live tunes.
4. People kept it clean: For the most part, the festival was without the literal, figurative, and olfactory evidence of dirty hippies. Word must have gotten out that there would be no hackysacking permitted on the festival grounds.
3. Town Park Camping was at its finest: The makeshift festival campground community on Town Park's softball field was downright amazing. Clean, free of sticky-fingered sketchballs, not over-sold, and very styley, in some instances.
2. The locals were awesome: Shout-out goes to the owners and staff of Maggie's Bakery & Café for never failing to smile and have a kind word, despite being constantly slammed. P.S. Your bagel breakfast sammy is the best damned hangover cure in town.
1. Telluride just plain rocked, as always: It's been a long summer of festivarian town takeover, so gracias, Telluride, for keeping it welcoming, from the bars to the restaurants. And hey, thanks for all the perfect, bluebird days.
That's a wrap, folks. See you next year!
· The Ten Ski Towns You Absolutely Must Visit This Winter [Curbed Ski]
· Beers or Bust: The Best Ski Town Breweries [Curbed Ski Archives]
· Your Guide to Getting the Most Out of Blues & Brews [Curbed Ski Archives]
· Mapping the 14 Most Spectacular Ski Concert Venues [Curbed Ski Archives]
· Dirtbags, PBRs, and Shot Skis: The Best Ski Town Dive Bars [Curbed Ski Archives]