A hoppy good time: Telluride Blues and Brews
TELLURIDE — For music lovers and beer enthusiasts, there’s one festival in September that combines an all-star Blues lineup with the flavors of more than 50 breweries spanning the American west: The Telluride Blues and Brews, and tickets are half full.
As of Monday, Aug. 16, 60 percent of tickets had been sold for the three-day festival set for Sept. 17–19 in Telluride.
The lineup for this year’s festival reads like a history lesson from the pages of the Blues bible. Legendary guitarists B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughn, George Thorogood and the husband and wife combo of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi solidify the top performances over the three days.
Other performers, such as Mississippi’s T-Model Ford, Little Al Thomas of Chicago, Galactic, JJ Gray & Mofro, Black Joe Lewis and the Otis Taylor Band, fill only a small area of an expansive bill.
The Grand Tasting on Saturday, Sept. 18, features 150 craft beers from 53 microbreweries available to sample from noon to 3 p.m. Entry to the Grand Tasting is included with all three-day and Saturday festival passes.
Upon entering the festival Saturday, each person will receive a free souvenir tasting glass and will get to vote for the festival’s top brewery.
ON THE BLUES
This year, the blues side of the festival is all about the guitar:
• B.B. King and his lovely Lucille.
• Derek Trucks, the southern kid born of the blues tradition that is the Allman Brothers.
• Susan Tedeschi with her one-of-a-kind delivery.
• The cool Jimmie Vaughn and his Tilt-A-Whirl Band.
• And the road-warrior, always bad to the bone, George Thorogood.
In a music world transformed by digital mixing and strange new acts — think Lady Gaga — selling out world tours, Thorogood has kept a dedicated fan base for 30 years.
“What matters is the people, I just can’t thank them enough,” Thorogood said in a recent phone interview.
Thorogood has built a career mastering huge hits such as “Bad to the Bone,” “Move It On Over,” “Get a Haircut,” “House Rent Boogie” and “Who Do You Love,” all the while touring with the same band, the Destroyers.
“They said if you had three hits, you had a job, if you have a dozen it’s a career,” he said.
His longevity Thorogood credits to his fans, among other things.
“I never eat fried food and I stay out of Italian cars,” Thorogood said jokingly quoting comedian Joan Rivers.
Thorogood and the Destroyers headline the festival’s first day with Jimmie Vaughn performing just before.
ON THE BREWS
Colorado has the most breweries per capita of any state in the U.S. and, according to Palisade Brewing Co. brewer Danny Wilson, the Telluride festival is a great place for Colorado breweries to showcase and promote their craft.
Wilson and his crew will pour Palisade’s finest at the Grand Tasting and Wilson is excited about the response from the crowd.
“We’re taking our Dark Wheat, Red Ale and Pale Ale,” he said.
“Our Red Ale is a little hoppier but is very well balanced ... the Dark (wheat) is very refreshing, so smooth and drinkable,” he said.
According to Courtney McCary, director of marketing for Telluride Blues and Brews, Saturday is the festival’s biggest day and usually sells out. Only 9,000 tickets are sold for that day.
For more information about purchasing tickets, camping and lodging, go to http://www.tellurideblues.com.