Travel: Music in a mountain town
September 25, 2010
TELLURIDE – As the sun set Sunday evening, B.B. King crooned to the ladies, families sat on blankets, couples danced and guys held their last beers. And, so concluded an amazing weekend of musical fun, all-night parties and beautiful weather in Telluride for the 17th annual Blues and Brews weekend, Sept. 17-19.
Gates opened Friday for three days of blues, rock ‘n’ roll and brews of all sorts, with thousands of visitors and locals descending on Telluride, a remote Colorado mountain ski town nestled in the San Juans known for its breathtaking scenery and numerous summer festivals.
Blues and Brews is truly the peak of Colorado’s music festivals, with quality musicians – from Jimmie Vaughan and the Tilt-a-Whirl Band to Galactic to the Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band to B.B. King – performing in one of the state’s most unique venues. The musicians rocked, and the crowd loved every minute – dancing, hula-hooping, swinging little kids on daddies’ shoulders. When Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience took the stage Saturday, the audience was all smiles, grooving to the classics and catching Mardi Gras beads.
The Fred Shellman Memorial Stage, a small wooden stage in the heart of Telluride Town Park, has held the weight of spectacular performers over the years during numerous summer events. This particular event took advantage of the just-turning fall colors and autumn smells, along with delicious food and numerous drink options. It offers something for everyone – a variety of music, brews, good eats, henna tattoos, even a massage booth for weary dancers.
For festival-goers ready for nightlife, Brews and Brews also offered Juke Joint passes for shows held around town Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights on the main street, just steps from the festival grounds. These events turned into all-out parties, with musicians and DJs playing for already excited crowds at various music
venues found around town.
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At 8,750 feet above sea level, the historic mining town of Telluride is both a top-tier ski resort in the winter and the
festival capital of Colorado in the summer. Telluride’s main street hosts a wide variety of shops, restaurants and bars.
Fat Alley BBQ, a local’s favorite hot spot on Oak Street, is a not-to-be-missed restaurant specializing in barbecue, beer and bourbon – as well as its signature Fat Alley hot sauce. Fat Alley had its own food stand at Blues and Brews, with a long line no matter the time of day. Yum!
Don’t hesitate to grab a drink at the Sheridan Hotel too. It has this Wild West ambiance and tasty drinks – a combination not to be ignored by the weary traveler.
According to its website, “during the San Juan gold rush, the smell of worn leather and the sounds of hard labor filled the air of Telluride.
As precious metals were unearthed, more prospectors and profiteers moved to the area. The growing mining town of Telluride needed boarding for its passers-by and thus the Sheridan Hotel was constructed in 1891. Destroyed by fire in 1894, the New Sheridan was built, this time in brick, in 1895. As decades passed and Telluride’s riches changed from gold to white snow, the New Sheridan Hotel evolved as well. Recently renovated with 26 handsome rooms, the New Sheridan is Telluride’s newest oldest hotel. Home to the town’s oldest bar, the historic New Sheridan Bar, a world-renowned restaurant, the Chop House, and a charming cafe, the Parlor; the New Sheridan has raised impeccable quality and service to a new level. Offering rich tradition paired with historic ambiance, we invite you to discover the New Sheridan.”
The Bubble Lounge on Colorado Avenue is also a fun place to stop for a drink – it’s an aromatherapy oxygen bar where you can also sip a glass of wine or have a bite to eat. It served as a Juke Joint location during this year’s event.
For more information about the annual Blues and Brews Festival, visit
SDN reporter Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.