2019 round-up of Telluride festivals you should find time to go to

by Amanda Push

Telluride really knows how to put on a festival. In fact, they know how to put on festivals that draws national attention and visits from stars like Matthew McConaughey and Melissa McCarthy. So if you’re a big fan of art, skiing, film, dogs, mushrooms, you name it – you should probably check out one of these many, many badass sounding festivals in the gorgeous San Juan Mountains.

20th Annual Telluride Comedy FestivalFeb. 14-18Tickets: $35-125Incorporating both local acts and performers from all over the country, the 20th Annual Telluride Comedy Festival is a lineup of laughs that sells out each year. Some of this year’s attendees even include Jason Mantzoukas, Paul Scheer, and Matt Braunger. So get your ass on over to Telluride and prepare to laugh it off for the 20th year in a row.

Telluride Gay Ski WeekFeb. 23-March 3 Time to get snow-fabulous at the 16th Annual Telluride Gay Ski Week where – aside from the skiing, ice skating, snow boarding, dog sledding – you also find yourself at a drag show, karaoke, and a White Party.

MountainfilmMarch 22-27Tickets: $25-5,000This year’s Mountainfilm Festival’s theme is migration and will include a selection of 85 films for your viewing pleasure. On top of all the badass films, attendees will get to watch guest presentations and attend parties and book signings.

Telluride Balloon FestivalMay 31-June 2Tickets: Free Watch as dozens of hot air balloons take off from Town Park at sunrise and maybe even get the opportunity to help out with the launches. Then, turn around and watch as the balloon pilots participate in the Glow and light up Main Street.

Telluride WOW FestivalJune 5-9Tickets: $175-350Take some time off from your regular hustle and bustle and dedicate a weekend to your health and wellness and focus on life’s simple pleasures. Attend boutique size classes, customized programs, and one-on-one sessions.

Telluride Bluegrass FestivalJune 20-23 Tickets: $85-240Watch the likes of Brandi Carlile, the Sam Bush Band, and Kacey Musgraves at this year’s 46th Annual Bluegrass Festival, and celebrate America’s long history of blues.

Telluride Wine FestivalJune 27-30 Get yo wine on and taste test the fine wines of the 37th Annual Telluride Wine Festival alongside seminars, luncheons hosted by local restaurants, and seminars.

Telluride Yoga FestivalJune 27-30 Tickets: $345-445Connect with your inner peace at the Telluride Yoga Festival and rest easy knowing that each year 25 percent of the net proceeds go to a local non-profit. Attend presentations, guided meditations, and community yoga classes to reach your inner zen.

Telluride Plein Air FestivalJune 30-July 6 Every year, 20-25 artists from across the country find themselves at the Telluride Plein Air Festival painting scenes of Telluride and surrounding area. Cap this outdoor fest off by buying one of the many beautiful outdoor paintings during the end of the festival’s three-day sale.

The Ride FestivalJuly 12-14 Tickets: $75-568This year, the Southwest’s big rock fest is coming on for three days for the first time. Grab your tickets ASAP as this festival tends to sell out six months in advance. Among past performances are Pearl Jam, Cage the Elephant, Widespread Panic, David Byrne and St. Vincent, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Ben Harper, Thievery Corporation, North Mississippi Allstars, The Lumineers, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Drive-By-Truckers, Cake, Los Lobos, and Steve Earle.

Telluride Art + Architecture WeekendJuly 16-22Tickets: $105-600What’s behind the beautiful architecture in Telluride, you ask? Well, if you take the tours of the Telluride Art + Architecture Weekend you can find out. During these tours, learn about the creativity that went into Telluride’s homes, studios, and restaurants on top of getting to sit through artist talks, chef demonstrations, and live music.

Bow Wow Film FestivalJuly 27 Tickets: $8-15These event organizers love dogs so much, they’re dedicating an entire film fest to them. Bow Wow Film Fest is an event dedicated to short-films focused on canines. Funds from the festival will benefit the Second Chance Humane Society.

Telluride Chamber Music FestivalAug. 5-11 Relax into some classical chamber music at the annual Telluride Chamber Music Festival. Previous musicians that have performed at the festival include Roy Malan, Robin Sutherland, Susan Freier, Nancy Ellis, Polly Malan, Stephen Harrison, Larry London, Eileen Morris, John Dukyers, and William Smock.

Telluride Jazz FestivalAug. 9-11 Tickets: $60+Since 1977, Telluride has been putting out one helluvah jazz party. Earning national and international applause its top of the line classic, mainstream, blues, African, Cajun, and Latin jazz music, the festival sets to honor this country’s long history of this music genre that is rooted in blues and ragtime. Last year’s musical lineup included Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Irma Thomas, Soul Queen of New Orleans, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, Badbadnotgood, Turkuaz, Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, Gogo Penguin, Sammy Miller and the Congregation, No BS! Brass Band, and Polyrhythmics.

Telluride Mushroom FestivalAug. 15-18This festival is putting the fun back into fungal – OK, that was a terrible dad joke, but for real, if you’re a fan of the ‘shrooms, consider checking out this festival dedicated to “all things mycological.” Attendees will learn about the new advancements in science when it comes to mushrooms and even a good ol’ fashioned mushroom cook-off.

Telluride Film FestivalAug. 28-Sept. 2 Tickets: $60-4,900This mountain film festival draws some of the biggest names in the industry. The lineup is always a secret but there’s a good chance that if you’re attending this festival, you’re probably getting an early peak at some big award nominees.

Telluride Blues & Brews FestivalSept. 13-15 Tickets: $30-625There’s not much more you can ask for if you’ve got a beer in hand and some good live music in front of you – which is basically the gist of Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. Some of last year’s acts included Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Pee Wee Hayes, and Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite.

Telluride Festival of Cars and ColorsSept. 26-29 Tickets: $50-200If you’re a car nerd, you’re in luck. The Telluride Festival of Cars and Colors will be here to fulfill your every cool car desire. Throughout the four-day fest, get your fix with vintage, exotic, and restored vehicles.

Original Thinkers FestivalOct. 3-6 The Original Thinkers Festival is an event created for artists, speakers, and films and the original ideas they create. The festival is put on by David Holbrooke, former Mountainfilm festival director, and Nancy Shafer, the creator of SXSW Film Festival.

Telluride Horror Show Film FestivalOct. 11-13 Tickets: $75-150With a lineup of more than 20 feature films and more than 50 shorts, you probably shouldn’t miss Colorado’s longest-running horror film festival. Catch some horror, fantasy, suspense, thriller, dark comedy, and sci-fi tales at this spooktacular mountain film fest.

Telluride FIRE FestivalDec. 6-8 Tickets: $40 – tickets at the doorKeep warm at this mountain festival of flames inspired by Burning Man, the Telluride FIRE Festival is an event dedicated to fire artistry. Attendees can watch performances after the sun goes down as well as attend events and workshops.

Amanda Push


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