Plan your weekend and don’t miss a beat!
The 43rd Annual Telluride Jazz Festival is almost here and we have everything you need to know to get ready! This year, the festival weekend is more dynamic than ever! With special events complementing the world-class music, the festival is full of fun opportunities to make life-long friends and memories. Telluride also offers outstanding dining, shopping, outdoor recreation and sightseeing opportunities to make the most out of your time here.
To ensure that you have the best experience possible, our staff has put together a comprehensive festival guide of pro tips, tricks, and how-to’s for the most epic weekend ever. Explore all the information in our Insider’s Guide below.
Mid-August - Historic Average Temperatures: Low 41 High: 73
Summer is a beautiful time in Telluride! Lush hillsides shimmer with vibrant wildflowers and alpine landscapes. In the Rocky Mountains, weather can move fast and can be sporadic. Telluride’s weather is no exception. Sunshine, rain, overcast and everything in between should be expected during the month of August. Festival veterans know it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
Packing for the Festival
Each day of the Festival, the gates open in the mid-morning and the event spans into the evening. During the daytime, weather can be mild and perfect for tee shirts, sandals and shorts. UV rays can be higher than you’re accustomed to and the air is dry, so we recommend that you bring sunscreen and a water bottle to fill at free water stations located throughout the venue.
Nothing beats a tarp when things are looking wet! In case of precipitation, we recommend you bring waterproof, quick-dry and insulating layers. The Telluride Town Park field can get a bit muddy with precipitation. Wearing waterproof boots and wool or synthetic moisture-wicking socks are also encouraged.
Sunsets during this time of year typically happen around 8:20 pm and can be stunning; however, be prepared for the quick drop in temperatures. Even on a warm day, temperatures can swing more than twenty degrees in a matter of hours. We recommended that you bring a change of clothing layers for this evening shift. Hats and long underwear are all great items to bring to the show in a backpack.
Getting Here, Parking & Getting Around Telluride
“ONE OF THE MOST STUNNING DESTINATIONS IN THE WORLD”
Telluride is located 8,750 feet high in the beautiful San Juan Mountains! Travel by car on scenic mountain roads or fly in to one of my regional airports to enjoy the festival.
DRIVE IN, PARK AND GET READY FOR THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE!
Take it from us - for most, a festival in Telluride is best enjoyed without a car! We encourage attendees to arrive, park and use our free transportation system to get around town. We provide parking staff to help direct you into a spot for the weekend. After that, our free Galloping Goose bus system, along with the one-of-a-kind, scenic gondola system between Telluride and Mountain Village, Dial-A-Ride services in Mountain Village and other custom transportation options make getting around a breeze. The festival late night venues, bars, restaurants and shops are located a quick stroll from the festival grounds.
Where To Stay: Camping & Lodging
CAMPING, VACATION RENTALS, LUXURY HOTELS AND MORE
From vacation rentals, to hotels, luxurious to budget lodging, to festival camping, there’s a place to stay for every type of festival-goer in Telluride. View a list of our lodging partners for a variety of accommodations and special lodging deals in Telluride and Mountain Village.
At the Festival, you'll find accommodations with intimate Victorian settings or modern design elements—all just steps away from award-winning restaurants. You have the option to stay in the Town of Telluride or head to Mountain Village and discover well-appointed lodging with town access via the free Gondola System and on-site, full-service spas.
Camping at the Telluride Jazz Festival is a righteous experience! The beautiful Town Park Campground can be a fun, social camping experience that is a short stroll from the festival. It does get chilly at night so, pack appropriately-rated sleeping bags and gear. In the event of rain, a ground cloth or tarp does wonders.
Box Office - Tickets & Wristbands
Exchange your tickets for wristbands (required for entrance) at the Festival Box Office. Please arrive to the box office as early as possible! Avoid waiting in lines and exchange your tickets for wristbands earlier in the day.
The Festival Box Office is located at 300 E Pacific Street next to the Telluride Post Office. The Box Office is open during the week of the Festival, and the hours of operation are listed below:
Thursday, August 8: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday, August 9: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday, August 10: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sunday, August 11: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
You've got questions, we've got answers
What do I do with my ticket when I get to the festival? What can I bring to the festival? What facilities are provided on the festival grounds? Which handicap facilities are provided? Can we bring our pets? Is smoking allowed? Are there Showers/Bathrooms? ADA accessible?
Check out our FAQ Page for all of the info you'll need to enjoy your time at the Telluride Jazz Festival.
Festival Like a Pro
In addition to the Main Stage, the Telluride Jazz Festival offers a variety of special event programming to keep you busy all weekend!
The “Society Stage” at Elks Park
Located in the heart of historic downtown Telluride, the grassy outdoor amphitheater at the Society Stage will host a series of interactive performances by student bands throughout the festival weekend. These performances give attendees and locals a chance to interact with festival artists while learning about jazz culture, history and methods. See the full schedule →
Brought to you by the generous support from the Dalton Family Foundation, Dworbell Inc., the Raynier Institute & Foundation, The Telluride Foundation and Telluride's Commission for Community Assistance, Arts, and Special Events (CCAASE).
Jazz After Dark
On Friday and Saturday nights, after the festival ends in Town Park, we continue the music with “Jazz After Dark” shows located in various venues throughout Telluride. One pass allows entry into three different shows.
The 2019 Jazz After Dark schedule includes shows from Battle of Santiago at the Sheridan Opera House, The Mattson 2 at The Moon at O'Bannon's and Matthew Whitaker at the Liberty Bar & Lounge on Friday night. Along with SPAGA and Turkuaz at the Sheridan Opera House, Cha Wa at The Moon at O'Bannon's and Veronica Swift at the Liberty Bar & Lounge on Saturday night.
Jazz After Dark passes allow access to all venues for the night purchased. Be aware, Jazz After Dark passes do not guarantee entry to the show, all venues are first come, first served and based on the capacity of each venue. As they fill up, we direct you to which Jazz After Dark venues are not full. As the night goes on, crowds at the Jazz After Dark tend to rotate, so even if you can't catch the start of the band you want to see, there's a good chance you can catch the last half of their show. So, if there is one particular band you really want to see, get in line early for the show! After the shows begin, entry is dependent on capacity.
Jazz On Main
Kick off the 2019 Telluride Jazz Festival in style with the new Jazz On Main! The Jazz Art Walk will take place from Thursday, August 8, from 5:00 - 8:00 pm in the heart of historic downtown Telluride. The event will feature live music at five restaurants and bars. Learn more →
Following the “Jazz After Dark” shows, a new late night series named “Liberty Sessions” will take place at The Liberty Bar & Lounge in downtown Telluride. Free and open to the public, the series will feature the series will feature The McCarthy Trio on Friday evening and J-Calvin on Saturday. Shows begin at 11:30 pm. Full schedule here →
Start your Telluride Jazz Festival mornings off with pleasant live jazz music, coffee and breakfast at the Phoenix Bean. Morning Jam will offer a jazzy wake up to a full day of music on Saturday and Sunday of the Festival. Attendees can enjoy performance led by Jack Kotz and John Rose, along with a variety of breakfast dishes, baked goods and coffee drinks from the Phoenix Bean in the heart of downtown Telluride.
Any and all musicians are welcome and encouraged to join in on the jam for an improvisational performance to get their day swinging. The jam will be will be first-come-first-play, with a sign up sheet. The music jams will go from 9-10 am on both Saturday and Sunday. The event is free and open to the public, coffee and food are available for purchase.
First Note Yoga Sessions
Guided by professional instructor Julia Johnston, enjoy a smooth yoga flow at the free “First Note” Yoga Sessions. Learn activating breath techniques, liberating movements and playful exercises in the crisp mountain morning air. Nestled in the cozy amphitheater of Elks Park in downtown Telluride, the yoga sessions are a fun and inspiring way to start your mornings.
Guests of all skill levels are welcome to join. New to yoga or considering for the first time? Join in and discover the healing power of yoga.
What to Bring: Water, Yoga Mat, Towel and Active Wear (Come with or without - these items are not mandatory to join in the class)
For more info, click here.
Historical Walking Tour
Discover the past with Saturday morning's Historical Walking Tour presented by the Telluride Historical Museum. Presenter and long-time resident Ashley Boling will guide visitors through Telluride’s storied past and celebrated landmarks. This tour is sold out, ticket holders can meet at 9 am in front of the Courthouse, across from Elks Park on Colorado Ave (Telluride’s Main Street).
All festival pass holders receive free admission to the Telluride Historical Museum throughout the event. Festival attendees will have the chance to visit the museum and learn about the region's rich Ute Native American heritage, mining, ski and festival history. Show your festival wristband for museum entry. The Museum is located at 201 W Gregory Ave.
New Orleans 2nd Line Parade
Second Line Parades are a New Orleans tradition. Brass-bands take to the street, play and march. Onlookers who followed along to enjoy the music were known as the second line.
On Sunday, August 5 at Noon, join the Festival staff, attendees, No BS! Brass Band and Hooligan Brass Band at Elk's Park for a Second Line Parade down Main Street all the way to Telluride Town Park. Everyone is welcome! Colorful floats, costumes, beads and decorations are all welcome as attendees join in on the march through town.
The Final Waltz
After Lettuce closes down the Main Stage Sunday, August 11, the festival concludes with a special performance by Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio at The Liberty Bar & Lounge. The upbeat, soulful and funky performance from the award-winning artist will be the perfect way to cap off the weekend! Get tickets →
Drinks at the Festival
The beer, wine and cocktails will be served throughout the festival. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will be serving up a full menu of craft beer including the celebrated Pale Ale, Hazy Little Thing IPA, Sierraveza, and Oktoberfest. Read more about the craft beer menu here.
In addition to beer, the festival features a vast array of wine from full-bodied reds with bold flavors to dry, and zesty whites with a smooth finish. The 2019 wine list has something for every kind of wine enthusiast. Explore the list here.
Lastly, Mile High Spirits will be serving up cocktails all weekend.
Patron and VIP Experience pass holders will be treated to an open bar featuring a menu of specialty craft cocktails!
Patron and VIP Craft Cocktails
The sophisticated menu of craft cocktails at the 2018 Telluride Jazz Festival is the perfect touch to round out the elegant Patron and VIP Experience. The extensive selection of craft cocktails featuring premium vodkas, gins and tequilas prepared by co-owner and operator of Telluride's cutting-edge bar and restaurant, "there...", Jonathan Yaseen, will keep you feeling festive all day long. From original creations like, "Ella’s Old Fashioned", "The Duke Duck" - Duke Ellington’s Duck Fat Sazerac to twists on classics like Satchmo's Bloody Mary & Maria Bar the menu is an inventive masterpiece. See the full menu below and get all of the details here.
Drinks on the Town
There's many great establishments to grab a beverage in the Town of Telluride.
New Sheridan - Go shoot pool and play some foose in this historic old-timey bar. Great vibe, music and drinks.
Last Dollar Saloon “The Buck” - Very historic bar with a new rooftop and spectacular mountain views.
Oak: The New Fat Alley - Grab some fried okra and a pint of Schlitz on the patio! The best place to mellow out during the festival and eat great BBQ.
Smuggler's Brew Pub - With a diverse menu and extensive beer list, this restaurant is not to be missed! Be sure to try the seasonal beer styles.
there… - A diverse collection of cocktails and food menu, a fusion of the new with the old, the trendy with the traditional. Staff suggestions: Grapefruit martini, Blueberry Gin jam cocktail.
Telluride Brewing - Take a trip out to Lawson Hill and check out Telluride’s microbrewery. Fresh beer from the source and brewery tours available.
Tomboy Tavern - Wraparound bar, oversized leather couches, beer garden and patio in the heart of Mountain Village.
Poacher's Pub - Classic American menu with a sunny patio and wide selection of food and drinks.
Cornerhouse Grille - Casual dining in Telluride with a great selection of traditional pub fare. Check out the specials menu!
Click here for a full list of bars in the area.
If you're a foodie, prepare for food heaven! The delicious food vendor menus at the Telluride Jazz Festival will keep your taste buds satisfied all weekend long. View our vendors →
Patron Experience Dining
Putting a priority on a high quality culinary experience this year's Patron Experience features an eclectic menu served in an exclusive, covered Patron Lounge located in the backstage area of the festival. Tantalize your taste buds with this delicious 'tour de food' presented by Telluride chef Josh Klein.
Food on the Town
Telluride is filled with a variety of great dinning experiences.
Brown Dog Pizza - Brown Dog Pizza is located on Main Street and has delicious pizza, subs, salads and beer on tap. Also, late-night slices!
Siam - Fun fact: some of the best Thai food in the world is found in Telluride! Staff suggestions: Drunken Noodles, Pad Thai and Molly's Lobster Tempura.
Floradora - Looking for the best burger in town? Check out Floradora on Main Street for delicious burgers (get the Matty Burger), jalapeño poppers, salads, sliders and more!
New Sheridan Chop House - Easily some of the best food in town. You can eat two ways – very nice or laid back. ‘Very nice’ consists of sitting down for a nice steak and glass of wine. Or you can eat ‘Laid back’ by sitting at the bar or in the Parlor Bar for an informal meal with the same tasty menu. Tasty brunch, too.
Baked in Telluride - Great spot to grab coffee and a quick breakfast in the morning - "B.I.T.” offers bagels, doughnuts, croissants, muffins, pizza, sandwiches, cookies and a whole lot more.
Cosmopolitan - Hands down the best happy hour in town! Half-price sushi and Cosmos from 5:00 -6:00 p.m. every day of the week!
La Cocina - Delicious menu featuring local and organic Mexican food on Main Street with indoor and outdoor seating.
Pescado - Looking for some good sushi? Our friends at Pescado have some of the best in Colorado. Follow them on Twitter for special deals!
La Marmotte - A modern take on elegant bistro fare. An excellent romantic getaway tucked into one of Telluride's oldest building. Staff suggestions: Roast Quail, Short ribs and Molten Chocolate Cake.
For a list of Telluride restaurants, visit Telluride.com's Dining Guide.
Explore like a Local
Hands down, Telluride is one of the best towns in the world for outdoor recreation! With towering 13,000 foot Rocky Mountain peaks and 160,000 acres of pristine wilderness with trail systems, waterfalls and more all surrounded by alpine mountain views. There are endless adventures for novices to pros alike. Click here to explore the local and regional opportunities for hiking, biking, stand-up paddleboarding, fly fishing, horseback riding, shopping and more!
Hiking - If you’re up for adventure, there are plenty of beautiful hikes starting directly from downtown Telluride to explore: Bear Creek Trail is less than one block from Town Park (S. Pine Street) and is a perfect beginner trail up to a waterfall.
If you seek a more challenging hike, check out the Jud Wiebe Trail (N. Aspen Street) which takes you to a gorgeous overlook of the entire town.
Mountain Biking - Miles of mountain bike trails span the Telluride box cannon. Beginners should start with the Valley Floor Trail.
Experienced bikers might consider the Prospect Trail Loop off of the Telluride Mountain Village Gondola.
Scenic Off-Road Drives - Many scenic paved and backcountry roads weave through the peaks and valleys of Telluride. For those without a four-wheel drive car, HWY 145 South towards Dolores offers stunning views of the Telluride Valley, Wilson Mesa and Lizard Head Pass.
Those with a four-wheel drive, high clearance cars can consider a trip to Bridal Veil Falls.
Ride the Gondola - The only FREE transportation of its kind in the country, Telluride’s Gondola is a must-do while visiting during the week. If you don’t journey up to the free concert on Thursday night, make sure you take the time to check out this spectacular ride. Get out up top (Station San Sophia) to hike around or ride the Gondola down into Mountain Village to check out the local bars, shops and restaurants. The Gondola starts running each day at 6:30 am and goes until midnight on Thursday, 2:00 am on Friday and Saturday, and midnight on Sunday of the Festival weekend.
Paddleboarding - Located 27 minutes South of Telluride, Trout Lake offers stunning paddleboarding with beautiful alpine views. Paddleboards can be rented locally at BootDoctors™ Paragon Outdoors.
Fly-Fishing - Telluride is an angler’s paradise. Alpine lakes, creeks and rivers are frequent throughout the Telluride region. For more information about fly-fishing click here.
For more information about hiking, diving, paddleboarding, fly-fishing and biking in Telluride’s visitor guide.
Shop and See
Historical downtown Telluride is home to an abundance of great merchant shops and art galleries. From boutique clothing shops, inviting art galleries, and unique Victorian architecture, it’s easy to spend a day exploring. Click here for a full shopping guide.
Don’t forget to check out the official program guide here.