If you missed the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival in late May, you’re hardly out of luck. The former Victorian mining town (elevation 8,750 feet; population, 2,500) waits out the warmer months with more festivals than you can shake a ski pole at.
“There’s an endless list of reasons why Telluride is Colorado’s festival capital,” says Sabastian Wee, spokesperson for Telluride Ski Resort. “It’s surrounded by the unmatched scenic beauty of the San Juan Mountain range, and the authentic charm of the historical mining remains free of commercialization and city bustle. Where else can you attend a music festival, freeride down mountain biking trails, enjoy awesome food and even get a spa treatment—all in the same day?”
June 20 to 23: The 46th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival belongs on just about every Colorado’s bucket list for good reason—hyper-local bluegrass and a party that can last for days. This year’s lineup includes Lake Street Dive and Brandi Carlile joining the Telluride-born bluegrass.
Don’t miss: Spying on the campgrounds, where some tents even have disco balls.
June 27 to 30: At the Telluride Wine Festival, imbibers and teetotalers alike toast life in the mountains with the latest libations and culinary creations. Mix it with the Telluride Yoga Festival, held during the same weekend this year, and you can practice downward dog in between downing drinks.
Don’t miss: The chance to help kids learn about cooking through ticket proceeds.
July 12-14: The Ride Festival is all about rock ‘n’ roll in Telluride’s Town Park, where Widespread Panic and Big Head Todd and the Monsters, among others, will jam in one of the most scenic concert settings in the country.
Don’t miss: The kids’ tent, where offspring can play games, decorate T-shirts and partake in sing-alongs.
August 9-11: It was 1977—the year that “Star Wars” opened in theaters and the Concord took its first flight—when the Telluride Jazz Festival debuted in the San Juan Mountains. Lettuce entertains this year, along Trombone Shorty and many fellow jazz legends.
Don’t miss: The free jazz concerts on Main Street and at Elks Park.
August 15-18: At the Mushroom Festival, fun guys (and gals) gather to celebrate all things fungi, including movies, workshops, dinners and more on how to enjoy the toadstool. This year’s theme is “healing the mind and the planet.”
Don’t miss: The parade.
The Telluride Reserve, happening the same weekend as the Mushroom festival, is sure to be one of the most talked about events of the summer. Enjoy the tastings of many wines paired with exquisite foods curated by master chefs. This event will feature over a dozen professional chefs to ensure that the pairing of wine and food is nothing but spectacular. The visiting and local chefs will have over a dozen sommeliers to collaborate with as well. Be sure to check ColoradoSki.com in early August for all of the information you need to know. You can also check out TellurideReserve.com.
Still hungry for more? Return for the Labor Day Telluride Film Festival (August 30 to September 2), the Blues and Brews Fest (September 13 to 15) or the Cars and Colors Festival (September 26 to 29). By then, the snow might be flying for the ultimate Telluride festival: skiing and riding.
Sarah Tuff Dunn
Sarah Tuff Dunn recently moved to Louisville, Colorado, with her husband, Carlton, and their two children, Dillon, 12, and Harper, 10. They've been exploring the world-class skiing in Colorado, aided by the Colorado Ski Country 5th and 6th Grade Passport Program. Sarah has been writing professionally for nearly 25 years and her work has appeared in The New York Times, SKI, Skiing and Powder, among other publications. Read more of Sarah's stories here and follow along with her Colorado skiing journey here.