September 18-20, 2015
Telluride, Colorado: Questionably the most gorgeous place I have ever been, Telluride will not disappoint! The mountains provide the perfect backdrop for the festival, especially this time of year with all of the aspen trees changing to an addicting shade of green and yellow. The town has festivals in and out of it all summer long, so everything is very well organized and the town is very welcoming.
Town Park: The venue itself is right next to downtown Telluride in the town park. Inside the venue there is the beautiful Main Stage as well as the Blues Stage, lots of food and merchandise vendors, a VIP area, as well as a large kids area. Just outside of Town Park is the campground, a lake, and a little creek with a waterfall. Downtown Telluride is only a short walk away, with lots of restaurants, bars, shops, and more!
Passes were at a pretty fair price with so many blues legends! Camping is extra, as well as late nights, but if you ask me they are totally worth the extra cash. The late night shows are incredible, and you get super intimate shows in the campground as well.
- Early Bird 3-Day Pass: $160
- 3-Day Pass: $185
- Friday Pass: $65
- Saturday Pass: $70
- Sunday Pass: $65
- Late Night Shows: $25 per night
- Rock & Roll Photographer Pass: $485
- VIP 3-Day Pass: $425
- 4-Day Camping: $40
- VIP Glamping Package: $999
- GA Glamping Package: $750
- Gear Package Standard: $149
- Gear Package Premium: $399
- Campground Vehicle: $150
- Campground RV Pass: $275
- Lot A RV Pass: $250
There were lots of camping options, although not too many people seem to camp for Blues & Brews. Of the roughly 9,000 people that attend the festival, only about 1,500 people camped. There are both tent-only options as well as car camping, although the car camping price is a little steep. I did tent-only camping and loved it! There are plenty of trees to hang hammocks on and relax in the shade. You are not allowed to have campfires, which is a bummer, but understandable in such a dry climate. I was a quick 5 minute walk away from the venue, and about 10 minutes away from downtown. There is a gorgeous little creek and waterfall right in the campground, and there is even a special little campground stage to give an intimate feel to the festival. They let you drive up relatively close to the campground, and even provide some wheel barrels to help you bring your gear in. You then had to park your car about a mile away in the ski resort parking lots. There were options for glamping and gear packages, and if you really don’t want to rough it there are lots of lodging opportunities as well.
FestiTip: The ground is quite hard and rocky so you will want to bring your heavy duty stakes for your tent!
Blues & Brews gives you lots of options for transportation, although my recommendation is to drive if possible. Telluride is centrally located in southwestern Colorado, along the scenic San Juan Skyway. A perfect base camp for adventures, Telluride is the perfect escape and easily accessible from a variety of locations.The drive is incredible any route you take! Coming from the western slope of Colorado, I took the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway and pulled over constantly to take pictures! It was too gorgeous not too!
If you are coming from out of state, you can fly nonstop into Telluride airport from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco/Oakland and Phoenix. International airports in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Albuquerque are a scenic six to seven-hour drive away as well.
Once you get to Telluride, say goodbye to your car! Everything in Telluride is within walking distance, so there is no need for a car during the festival weekend. Both Telluride and Mountain Village offer free ground transportation called the Galloping Goose. There is also a free gondola system to move between the two communities. The gondola system is the most convenient and scenic way to travel between Telluride and Mountain Village, and it runs all day and most of the night!
They were checking at the gates, digging through backpacks if you had them and checking for wristbands. For the most part, the only thing I saw them have an issue with was booze – so leave that at the campground! There was no car check for the campground either.
Amazing people, everywhere! Blues & Brews is a very family friendly festival so there were many children and families. The traditional blues lineup brought out a much older crowd, but people of all ages came out to enjoy beer and music. Most people I met live in Colorado, but fans traveled from all over for this incredible festival! If you had the pleasure of being in the campgrounds, I’m sure you will never forget the amazing Rachel & Kyle wedding!
Blues & Brews was graced with blue skies nearly all weekend long! With no rain and hardly any clouds, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!
HANDLING OF THE WEATHER:
There really wasn’t much to handle – it was perfect! Blues & Brews, you’re a lucky one 🙂
Ooooo how I loved the music at Blues & Brews! Every band was amazing! Some of my favorite music was at the Campground Sessions. Featuring Hillstomp, Leo “Bud” Welch, and Eagle Eye Williamson, these sessions were much more intimate than the large main stage.
On the main stage, The Apache Relay set the mood for the festival by opening on Friday. Blue & Brews had the final shows for this Nashville, Tennessee band, as they are splitting up to explore new endeavors. Following their incredible set, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats tore up the stage with some folk rock, only to be followed by blues aficionado Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, and a rocking set from Blackberry Smoke.
Saturday’s lineup was filled with some incredible music to enjoy while tasting lots of free beer! The Bright Light Social Hour started out the day, followed by Otis Taylor’s Hey Joe Opus, Tab Beniot, and Anders Osborne.
Sunday was the true blues day, with The Blind Boys of Alabama opening the stage followed by the legend, Leo “Bud” Welch. The Revivalists were joined on stage by future legend Jaden Carlson just before Taj Mahal Trio took the stage!
There was tons of daytime music and comedy at the Blues Stage as well, but my favorite had to have been the Ben Miller Band! Coming from Joplin, MO, this trio features Ben Miller, Doug Dicharry, and Scott Leeper. Self dubbed as “Ozark Stomp”, Ben Miller Band gets their unique sound by “combining the urgency of rock and roll, the frenetic energy of bluegrass, the soul of the delta blues and the haunted spirit of Appalachian mountain music into a unique musical stew.”*
Legendary. That’s truly the best word I can use. Coming from Houston, Texas, these Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have been playing music for over 40 years. Here is the setlist:
- Got Me Under Pressure
- Waitin’ for the Bus
- Jesus Just Left Chicago
- Gimme All Your Lovin’
- I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
- I Gotsta Get Paid
- Flyin’ High
- Foxy Lady (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
- Catfish Blues (Robert Petway cover)
- Cheap Sunglasses
- My Head’s In Mississippi
- Sharp Dressed Man
- Encore: La Grange / Sloppy Drunk Jam
- Encore 2: Sixton Tons (Merle Travis cover)
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings are spearheads of a revivalist movement that aims to capture the essence of funk and soul music as it was at its height in the mid-1960s to mid-1970s. I first saw this fiery ball of energy at Snowmass Mammoth Fest back in June. Sharon took the stage with so much passion that I was hooked! She was so excited because she had just found out her body was rid of the terrible cancer she had been fighting since 2013. Unfortunately, only a few months later, Sharon revealed that the cancer was back – but she is fighting harder than ever! See this incredible band on tour now and bring some soul into your life!
After The Allman Brothers finished their touring days last summer, I wasn’t sure I would have the honor of seeing Gregg Allman again. And WOW was his show amazing! Not only was he joined on stage by Taj Mahal, but he played some all time favorites! Here is the setlist:
- Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
- I’m No Angel
- Come and Go Blues
- Statesboro Blues (Blind Willie McTell cover with Taj Mahal)
- Black Hearted Woman
- Love Like Kerosene
- Midnight Rider
- Whipping Post
- Encore: Southbound
The “Juke Joints” were in the bars of downtown Telluride as well as at the Blues Stage. They were separate from the normal festival ticket at $20 per night in advance or $25 day of. Just because they were extra money, they are going to lose a half a point. Other than that, they were all completely epic! Each venue was very different and unique. The Sheridan Opera House is beautiful and traditional, while The Blues Stage is a large pavilion and ice rank turned into a stage for the festival. Fly Me To The Moon Saloon is a rocking downtown bar, while The Elks Lodge and The Arroyo Wine Bar & Gallery are a bit more intimate. Check out all of the “Juke Joint” late night options:
- Sheridan Opera House – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats with opener Eagle Eye Williamson
- The Blues Stage – Rich Robinson with opener Tab Beniot
- Fly Me To The Moon Saloon – Otis Taylor Band
- Sheridan Opera House – The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band with opener Ben Miller Band
- The Elks Lodge – The Apache Relay
- Arroyo Wine Bar & Gallery – Comedians: Dirty Show with Troy Walker, Brent Gill, Stephen Agyei & Adam Cayton-Holland
- The Blues Stage –Anders Osborne with Tab Benoit & opener Eagle Eye Williamson
- Fly Me To The Moon Saloon – The Bright Light Social Hour
- Sheridan Opera House – Monophonics with Ben l’Oncle Soul & opener Fernando “Bugalu” Velez
- The Elks Lodge – The London Souls
- Arroyo Wine Bar & Gallery – Comedians: Dirty Show with Troy Walker, Brent Gill, Stephen Agyei & Adam Cayton-Holland
- Sheridan Opera House – The Revivalists with surprise guest Jaden Carlson
The Main Stage had a large field for lots of fans, a screen to the left side for easy viewing, a rocking sound system, and amazing lighting. The mountains made the perfect backdrop for some incredible music!
FestiTip: The infamous “Tarp Run” – Fans line up hours before the gates open to lay their tarps in the field. Be sure to bring yours and get their early if you want to claim your spot!
The Blues Stage was indoors, which was great to escape the sun for a bit. This skating rink pavilion was home to some smaller bands during the day as well as a few late night shows.
The Campground Stage was only accessible if you were camping in Town Park Campground, but this intimate stage was located right next to the waterfall and made for the perfect getaway!
Blues & Brews didn’t have much as far as community aspects go, but the festival brought together the community and it was extremely family friendly with an awesome kids zone and fun costumes to have little parades.
Beautiful mountains with changing yellow and green aspen leaves provided the perfect backdrop to some amazing music! Plus there were some sweet fireworks after Gregg Allman’s show Sunday night.
NOMS! So much good food! Plus, if the venue didn’t have enough for you, downtown Telluride has endless options as well!
Blues & Brews featured lots of unique local vendors as well as some big names including Costa. Shout out to O.pen Vape for having Mario Kart on N64!
They had free yoga Saturday & Sunday morning at the Elks Lodge.
Beer was sold on reusable plastic cups, and there were clearly designated bins for Compost, Recycling, and Trash. Blues & Brews encouraged fans to do their part in practicing Leave No Trace. There was a contest in the campgrounds to win tickets for the 2016 festival to see who was best at being Green. When buying tickets, fans were offered the chance to pay $3 extra to help greening efforts. The Galloping Goose provides festival goers an easy way to not use their cars and Blues & Brews is dedicated to help offset carbon emissions.
- FREE gondola rides up Telluride ski mountain
- Fireworks after Gregg Allman on Sunday!
- FREE music on Thursday night on top of the gondola
- FREE Beer Tasting from 12noon-3pm on Saturday – YUM! 56 breweries, over 170 different brews, how can you go wrong?!