Started in 1979, Mountainfilm in Telluride is one of America’s longest-running film festivals. Through the years, in and out of trends and fads, the Mountainfilm in Telluride Festival has always been best described by one unchanging word: inspiring. Far more than any other adjective, that’s how festival audiences describe their experience.
In addition to screening leading independent documentary films from around the world, the festival includes a full-day symposium on a critical contemporary issue, art and photography exhibits, early morning coffee talks, a book signing party, an ice cream social, student programs and a closing picnic/awards ceremony. Presentations and panels are scheduled throughout the Memorial Day weekend event with a wide diversity of special guests, ranging from artists to adventurers and academics to activists.
The 41st Annual festival promises a magical four days of only-in-Telluride performances. Beloved Festival veterans and inspiring new talent. The Telluride royalty of virtuosic bluegrass superpickers, soulful songwriters, and some of the biggest stars in the rootsy Americana landscape.
The festival is built around the many artists that have defined the Telluride Bluegrass sound, as the weekend is sprinkled with inspired sets from Peter Rowan, Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile, Tim O’Brien, and of course the “King of Telluride” Sam Bush. These artists come together for the festival’s epic set from the Telluride House Band.
Since its very beginning, the festival has embraced a wide swath of roots music to create the unique genre of “Telluride Bluegrass “Recent lineups have welcomed Robert Plant, Mumford & Sons, The Decemberists, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, David Byrne, Ani DiFranco, Lyle Lovett, Ryan Adams, Counting Crows, Bonnie Raitt, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, and so many more.
Performers say there is a unique thrill to performing in front of the smartest, most attentive audience in the country. Artists are encouraged to take risks in Telluride, and the Festivarian audience is regularly rewarded with unique blends of voices sharing the stage for the first time – as new musical friendships cultivated backstage make their debut on the Telluride stage.
With music on the main stage all day, intimate workshops on the Elks Park stage in the middle of town, prestigious band and songwriting contests, late-night Nightgrass concerts at every indoor venue in town, and jam sessions throughout the night in condos and around campgrounds, this is a week of uncommon musical riches.
In addition, through the Monica Callard Foundation, we work to give scholarships to talented Telluride residents who would greatly benefit themselves and the community through wine and/or culinary education. Our long-term goal is to create a community kitchen to be used for cooking classes and to provide a low-cost production facility for local entrepreneurs to create their food-based products.
The day kicks off with the Telluride Foundation’s Rundola, a recreational foot race to benefit the Telluride Foundation. Participants begin at the base of the gondola in the town of Telluride and finish at the top of the ridge adjacent to the San Sophia gondola mid-station. Get your sweat on for a good cause before the rest of the day’s festivities! The Fireman’s Parade begins at 11 am on historic Main Street. The sidewalks are packed as locals and visitors cheer for goofy costumes, homemade floats, music, and the Air Force Academy jet fly-over.
The Telluride firemen then put on their famous barbecue in Town Park. The whole town is invited to dine, play the family games in the park, and enjoy the sunshine. The firemen pile the plates high with mouth-watering BBQ, only $12 for adults and $7 for kids.
As the sun sets over the San Juan Mountains, the town collectively holds its breath for the unbelievable fireworks show. The firefighters shoot off the fireworks just above Town Park making for a display that you can see from almost anywhere in town. Enjoy the show from a blanket in the park, while enjoying a cocktail along Main Street, or from the top of the Gondola! Note that the fireworks are dependent upon the weather conditions. If wildfire danger is high, then it is likely that the town will cancel the fireworks for the safety of everyone in Telluride.
Individual tickets — priced at $25 each — will be available for sale just prior to show time and only after all pass holders have been admitted, provided there are still seats remaining. Hearing a lot of buzz on the Telluride main street about a particular flick? The most popular programs repeat throughout the weekend to meet demand, so pass holders have ample opportunity to catch them. Choose the pass that best suits your needs and order as soon as possible. If our experience of 40 years repeats itself, it is highly likely that the Festival will again sell out — and far in advance of the weekend. Join us — we’d love to welcome you into the Festival family.
The Black Crowes, Jim James, and Melissa Etheridge are among this year’s headlining acts. For the entire weekend schedule, check out the website.
All of the shows are performed on the Main Stage in Town Park located at the east end of downtown throughout the festival. The Grand Beer Tasting will be held on Saturday, September 14 from 12 pm – 3 pm with more than 50 microbreweries represented and over 150 different beers. As the sun goes down, venues aroud town turn into the famed “Juke Joints“. Acts from earlier in the day play intimate late night performances at these smaller venues around the town of Telluride and Mountain Village.
Performers and fans alike are drawn to our majestic box canyon; the old adage around town is that you came for a festival, and 20 years later, you’re still here. The historic mining town of Telluride sits at 8,750 feet above sea level surrounded by the San Juan Mountains. It is home to some of Colorado’s best skiing in winter and becomes festival central in the summer.
Don’t miss out on this truly unique and special event here in Telluride, Colorado.