Graced with magnificent, cerulean blue skies, mountainsides of glowing, golden aspen and temperatures in the 80’s, the stage was set for a weekend of stellar performance, outrageous weather and ecstatic experience. Thursday evening opened the festivities with a free sunset concert at the Mountain Village Plaza featuring the Gold Kings – a talented local band of “brothers” – followed by on-the-rise British blues guitarist Matt Schofield – wow!
Friday was a day of fantastic blues guitar – Ronnie Baker Brooks [son of Hall of Fame inductee Lonnie Brooks], Jimmie Vaughn [brother of legendary bluesman Stevie Ray] and George Thorogood [of “One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer” fame] and the gutsy, heartful rockin’ blues vocals of Dana Fuchs, whose amazing voice, edgy style, stunning beauty and soulful moves were downright riveting.
And, of course, the town rocked with the Juke Joint shows when the park stage darkened and the Moon rose up and over Ajax – Friday, Saturday and, this year, Sunday! nights.
On Saturday, the Grand Tasting on the festival grounds offered samples of 150 microbrews and crafted lagers from more than 50 brewers around the U.S. – fruity blends, bold flavors, pale ales, and rainbows of gold, amber, bronze and mahogany – delighting the crowd and maintaining the down-home integrity of the festival’s roots. The Best of Festival award – determined by votes from festival attendees – was given to Eddyline Restaurant and Brewery located in Buena Vista, CO, a mountain town not far from Telluride. The park was full of happy faces and full-then-empty glasses as the tunes of Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcom rocked the crowd with funky blues and rhythmic hip-hop. Then came Terrence Simien and the Zydeco Experience – New Orleans, reggae and accordions – followed by J.J. Grey and Mofro, Galactic and Cyrill Neville, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeshi.