Telluride Blues & Brews Festival kicks off in Mountain Village’s Sunset Plaza for the Sunset Blues Concert

Words by Special Contributor / Event

Telluride Blues & Brews Festival kicks off in Mountain Village’s Sunset Plaza for the Sunset Blues Concert featuring Dragondeer and The Bones of J.R. Jones on Thursday, September 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. The event — a short and scenic gondola ride away from the Town of Telluride — is free and open to the public.

Having Denver’s Dragondeer kick off the Main Stage festivities is the best reminder that this is a blues-loving festival. Their first, full-length album, If You’ve Got the Blues, was released earlier this year and captures perfectly the band’s focused, passionate live energy. Recorded in Topanga Canyon in California, the record reflects the band’s belief that we’re all in this together. “It’s about sticking by your loved ones and being there for ’em when they need it; rising up your tribe,” said Eric Halborg, Dragondeer’s lead vocalist, guitarist and harp player. Halborg’s smoking harmonica runs and blues-perfect vocals pair up well with Cole Rudy’s stinging pedal steel work. Drummer Carl Sorensen and bassist Casey Sidwell drive Dragondeer like it’s a Rolls Royce with a psychedelic paint job. Careening from deep Mississippi blues to far-out jams, this is a band with chops, attitude and the swagger it takes to get this party started.

The Bones of J.R. Jones, “Jonathon Linaberry” is a one-man band from upstate New York that will get into your very bones. His music is an earthy blend of blues, soul and Americana and he plays every single instrument you hear. It can make for a solitary existence, playing and touring solo as he does. But the music is irresistibly engaging. It’s a sound that is gritty and moody and filled with confidence and swagger. It may bring to mind the stripped down, beefy blues of early Black Keys. His voice is rich and dark and his playing is at once focused and loose. On Jonathon’s latest record, Ones To Keep Close, he recruits other musicians with whom to work, resulting in a must-have collection of songs that are powerful, introspective and downright rocking. Now get your bones to the Blues Stage and shake ‘em.

Both artist sets are scheduled to highlight the scenic sunset backdrop from the lawn in the Mountain Village Sunset Plaza. The Town of Mountain Village’s Entertainment District allows a fluid social atmosphere where alcoholic beverages purchased from associated restaurants can be taken into the Common Consumption Area and enjoyed during the concert. The free event will take place rain or shine.

Supporting sponsors are The Town of Mountain Village, Telluride Ski Resort, Sierra Nevada Brewing, SBG Productions, and the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVOA).

For a full schedule of events or to purchase tickets to the Blues & Brews festival, visit TellurideBlues.com.

About Festival Transportation & Parking

The towns of Mountain Village and Telluride are connected by a three-stage gondola system starting at Market Plaza in Mountain Village and ending in Telluride at Oak Street Plaza. It takes about 12 minutes to get from one town to the other. During the festival weekend, gondola operating hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and until 1 a.m. Sunday. Long lines are possible during peak times. In addition, Dial-A-Ride will remain open 30 minutes longer than the gondola all three nights and the festival transportation partner, Telluride Express, has a fleet of customizable transport options available.

Due to the large number of parked vehicles during the festival weekend, the Town of Mountain Village has set aside specific parking spaces for its businesses and residents. Mountain Village residents who have procured a parking permit can park in the Market Plaza Parking lot. 26 spaces located along the rock wall are designated for permit holders and are available on a first-come, first-served basis; overnight parking is not allowed. Resident parking permits are also valid in the North Village Center lot; overnight parking is not allowed.

Individuals without parking permits must park their vehicles where directed by parking staff. Free parking in the Gondola Parking Garage will begin Thursday, September 13 at noon and end Monday, September 17 at noon. Other parking options include the North Village Center pay-to-park surface lot; overnight parking is not allowed. Short-term parking will be available for those doing business in Mountain Village; times will be enforced. Alternatively, for those shopping, dining or recreating in Mountain Village, we encourage the utilization of Heritage Parking Garage, located off Mountain Village Boulevard across from Hotel Madeline. Parking costs $2 for each hour until exit, $35 maximum in a 24-hour period.