Each year in August, jazz-lovers of all kinds gather in Telluride, Colorado to take part in the Telluride Jazz festival. This year makes the festival will be making its 42nd annual appearance.

Beginning Friday, August 3rd and ending on Sunday, August 5th, festival-goers will gathered in the mountain- valley town located in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado for a three day, overnight music festival.

Stages were set up all around Telluride Town Park for live performances and many local and traveling attendees spend the night in tents and RV ’s within the available festival campgrounds. Tickets for RV festival camping have already sold out for the upcoming event.



If event-goers did not wish to camp, rental homes, apartments, and hotels, they could be found in both Telluride, and the bordering town of Mountain Village. A quick Google search shows that most of these rooms have already been booked for dates around the Jazz Festival.

Because Telluride is a small town located in a mountain valley, most festival goers either drove themselves to town or book a flight from Denver, Dallas or Chicago to an airport near Telluride and then take to shuttle into the mountain town. This shuttle ride lasts at least an hour and is not provided by the festival.

Although a non-stop flight from Albuquerque to an airport nearby Telluride is not available, the drive from Albuquerque to the festival lasts approximately six hours.

Once festival-goers are at the Jazz Festival they are offered free gondola transportation from Telluride valley up the mountainside to Mountain Village and back.

“Telluride manages to combine a small town feel with a kind of upscale atmosphere and the remoteness in the mountains is something that I have not experienced really anywhere else in my life,” said Jonah Toay, a college student at the University of California, Berkeley studying international relations who frequents Telluride.

This year, the Telluride Jazz Festival featured headlining performances from Bruce

Hornsby & The Noisemakers, Irma Thomas - Soul Queen of New Orleans, and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. There were about twenty other artists scheduled to perform.

“Telluride never fails to amaze me,” Toay said.

The Telluride Jazz Festival offered all festival-goers the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the scheduled artist’s music by composing a Spotify playlist made up of songs from each of the event’s scheduled performers.

Tickets to the festival ranged in price from $60 for a single day pass to $850 for a Patron-Experience pass. Festival-goers could also purchase tickets for Jazz After Dark, which allows guests entrance to select late-night performances. The tickets started at $20 per night.

Festival-goers were also offered free tickets to take part in a historic walking-tour of Telluride which has sold out.

The Safari Cabanas were also sold out, which were offered to VIP ticket-holders and Patrons at a cost of $2,500 each. These “Colorado Yurt Cimarron Tents” are outfitted with their own concierge services and include a “covered front porch, fire pit and relaxed seating for eight” according to the festival’s website, telluridejazzfestival.org. These cabanas were meant to be used as space for attendees to relax and enjoy the music and are not a form of overnight accommodations.

Along with musical festivities, the Telluride Jazz Festival also featured on-site food and vendors and it is within walking vicinity to the historic buildings in Telluride.

According to the festival’s website, “the Telluride Jazz Festival and its programs represents music education of the highest order” and the festival is an opportunity for students, especially those at UNM, to experience jazz music and learn more about it.

The festival welcomes students of all ages to attend and invites students to audition for the Telluride Student All-Stars Jazz Ensemble in the months processing the festival. The student ensemble is awarded the opportunity to perform in an elite student group and are gifted free education, room and board during the program.

Following the Telluride Jazz Festival is the Telluride Blues and Brew Festival which will take place from September 14th through 16th at the same location.

Timber Mabes is a culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @timbermabes.