Telluride Mushroom Festival 2015: Overview

The 35th annual Telluride Mushroom Festival – Thursday, August 13 – Sunday, August 16, 2015 – with pre-conference workshops, Wednesday, August 12. Festival celebrates multitude uses of all things fungi. This year, the event is being held at the historic Sheridan Opera House, so seats are limited. If you plan to attend lectures, go on a foray, and enjoy the culinary cook-off, it is best to purchase a full festival pass. Single lecture tickets are available for lectures at the historic Sheridan Opera House for only $25, space available. To go on a single foray, you can purchase a pass for $25. Cook-off tickets are available for a suggested donation of $10. Go here to purchase.

And meet 2015 Festival Director Maggie Klinedinst:

Maggie Klinedinst, Mush Fest Director 2015, by Marc Shapiro

Maggie Klinedinst, Mush Fest Director 2015, by Marc Shapiro

This year’s festival director is Maggie Klinedinst, a research manager at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit. Maggie first attended the festival in 2013 and presented on psilocybin (psychoactive ingredient found in certain types of mushrooms) research being conducted at her lab. The research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and has been featured in popular media such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, Scientific American, and numerous documentaries. Maggie returned to the festival in 2014 as a plenary speaker and expanded on her previous talk to discuss mystical experiences and recently completed research.

Maggie’s passion for mushrooms stemmed from her experience at the Telluride Mushroom Festival. It was there she attended lectures, went on forays, and learned about all things fungi from the most passionate and knowledgeable mycophiles around. To be asked to direct the festival was an incredible honor that she could not turn down.

Outside of the office, Maggie enjoys hiking, volunteering in Baltimore, cooking, binge watching trashy television, and spending time with her partner Marc, her amazing group of friends, her supportive family, and her two cats.

Maggie starts her MBA at Johns Hopkins University this fall and hopes to work for a philanthropic organization dedicated to psychedelic research and the betterment of society.


Mushroom Festival Overview:


mush fest poster

The theme of this year’s Telluride Mushroom Festival is “The Future of Fungi.” The goal of the long weekend is to get every single attendee to buy into the idea that mushrooms have the potential to revolutionize our relationship with the world and with ourselves. Workshops, lectures, facilitated group discussion, forays, and panels should bring that goal into sharp focus.

Keynote Speakers:

Eugenia Bone is a nationally known food journalist and author. Her work has appeared in many magazines and newspapers, including Saveur, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Martha Stewart Living, Sunset, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Denver Post. Eugenia is also the author of five books.

Eugenia Bone

Eugenia Bone

“At Mesa’s Edge” was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award. Eugenia wrote “Italian Family Dining” with her father, celebrated chef Edward Giobbi. “Well-Preserved” was a finalist for a James Beard Award and was on many Best Cookbooks of 2009 lists.”Mycophilia: Revelations From the Weird World of Mushrooms,” was featured on Amazon’s Best Science Books of 2011 list and a finalist for a Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries Award. Eugenia’s fifth book, “The Kitchen Ecosystem” (October 2014) was a finalist for a Books for a Better Life Award and was on many Best Cookbooks of 2014 lists.

Eugenia’s writing and recipes are anthologized in numerous publications, including “Best Food Writing,” “Saveur Cooks,” and “The Food & Wine Cookbook”. Eugenia has lectured widely, in venues such as the Denver Botanical Garden and the New York Pubic Library; judged food and wine competitions; and appeared on television and radio many times. She is the founder of Slow Food Western Slope in Colorado and president of the New York Mycological Society. She writes the blog

Eugenia splits her time between New York City and Western Colorado.

Eugenia Bone’s Keynote Lecture is entitled “Mycophiles: Festivals, Forays, and the Companionship of Mushroomers.”

How do mushroom enthusiasts vacation? Amateur mycologists hit public forays and festivals all over the country and throughout the year, congregating for hunting, socializing, and learning. This fun, illustrated talk shares stories about some of those gatherings, how they can shake up one’s point of view, and open your mind. R-rated.

Sue Van Hook is a mycologist, naturalist, teacher and healer.  She began her coursework in the Pacific Northwest where the mushroom season lasts nine months per year, and has been studying the taxonomy and ecology of fungi for the past 40 years. Sue completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in botany and mycology at Humboldt State University under the tutelage of Dr. David L. Largent, an authority on pink-spored mushrooms and author of the “How to Identify Mushrooms” series.

Sue Van Hook is Ecovacative

Sue Van Hook is Ecovacative

For five years, Sue worked in land conservation for The Nature Conservancy, managing a Northern California Coastal Dunes Preserve where she also conducted her graduate fieldwork. She moved to Belgrade, Maine in the mid-80s to work as Director of Land Conservation and Stewardship for Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

For 18 years, Sue taught biology and environmental science labs at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. She currently works as the Chief Mycologist for a new Green Tech company, Ecovative Design based in Troy, NY.

Sue Van Hook’s Keynote Lecture is “Mushroom Mycelium as Natural Resin.”

Ecovative in upstate New York pioneered fungal mycelium as a natural resin used to bind plant waste products into packaging shapes, particle boards, automotive parts, surfboards and buoys. All it took was the beginners’ minds and eyes of two young engineers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to see that the elasticity and network of fungal hyphae made for a great new biopolymer.

Join Sue Van Hook, Ecovative’s Chief Mycologist, for a look at the science of mycelial resin.

Ecovative Workshop, $30. Sue will be leading workshops using Ecovative’s grow-it-yourself kits. Festival attendees will be able to start a kit on the Friday of the festival and watch them grow over the course of the weekend. Attendees will then be able to take the kits home to continue the growing process.


Gary Lincoff is author or editor of several books and articles on mushrooms, including “The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms.” He teaches courses on mushroom identification at the New York Botanical Garden.

Gary Lincoff

Gary Lincoff

Gary has led mushroom study trips and forays around the world and is a past president of the North American Mycological Association.

A fungal psychonaut and visionary, most recently Gary starred in the award-winning film “Know Your Mushrooms” by Ron Mann of Toronto. His most recent book is “The Complete Mushroom Hunter.”

Highlights of talks/workshops and additional presenters:

Dr. Fred Barrett and Mary Cosimano of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are a team at the forefront of the psychedelic renaissance. Their work has been featured in the New Yorker, The New York Times, Scientific American, The Baltimore Sun, and highlighted in hundreds of news outlets.

Psilocybe semilanceata

Psilocybe semilanceata

Dr. Barrett is a cognitive neuroscientist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who uses brain imaging to investigate mystical states under the influence of psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient found in certain types of mushrooms. He notes: “The future of fungi is really the future of consciousness. And the past. And the present. Our society is just now catching up to what has been known for centuries about the power of mushrooms to open the heart and the mind.”

Fred will expand on this idea in his talk that looks at the light and dark sides of psilocybin experiences.

Mary is a clinician who works with research volunteers during their psilocybin sessions. It is said that Mary Cosimano holds the record for guiding the most legal psilocybin research sessions in the world.

She and Dr. Barrett sharing the findings of his research. Mary will also discuss her 15-year experience working in psilocybin research.

Daiva Chesonis, owner of Telluride’s premier independent bookstore Between the Covers, always tells customers that author Vera Evenson’s first book, “Mushrooms of the Rocky Mountains,” is the most requested of all the mushroom literature she carries at her store. Lucky for festival attendees, Vera is back with “Mushrooms of the Rocky Mountain Region,” a 300-page guide for any enthusiast wanting to learn all about some of the major mushrooms in the Colorado region. Vera will be making a stop on her book tour to chat with festival attendees. You do not want to miss this opportunity to, ahem, dig deeper into the mushrooms in Telluride’s backyard.

Dr. Jonathan Reisman talk about the “Ugly Side of the Kingdom Fungi.”


Joanthan gives an overview of the role of fungi in human disease. From mycotoxins to invasive fungal infections, he will focus on the dangers fungi pose and the role of the immune system in keeping us healthy. The lecture will be illustrated by lots of scary photographs that underline the variety of diseases caused by fungi.

“Mushrooms Don’t Smoke Cigarettes, They Digest Them.”


A few months ago a video that showed a species of oyster mushroom digesting used cigarette butts went viral. Learn how to digest the cigarette butts littering your hometown in this unique demo and workshop offered by Radical Mycology co-founder Peter McCoy.

In Peter’s presentation and demo, you will learn how decomposing mushrooms can help mitigate cigarette waste and how you can apply those practices at home or in your community. Using simple and scalable techniques, Peter will show how the power and potential of mycoremediation can change our everyday lives.

“Dying to Know: Ram Dass and Timothy Leary.”


Mushroom Festival 2015 features a special screening of the film “Dying to Know” by director Gay Dillingham. Robert Redford narrates this beautiful film about the deep and loving friendship between notorious scientists Ram Dass and Timothy Leary. Dass and Leary gained fame over psychedelic drug research conducted at Harvard in the 1960s. This film contains rare and never-before-seen footage from the psychedelic Sixties. It is a perfect reminder of what happened in the past as we live through a psychedelic renaissance that carries forward important work started decades ago.

Ram Dass

Ram Dass


Timothy Leary

Timothy Leary


For a preview of “Dying to Know,” watch here:

“The Creeping Garden.”

CreepingGarden finalposter. film jpg

“A real life science fiction movie exploring a world creeping right beneath our feet, where time and space are magnified and intelligence redefined. ‘The Creeping Garden’ is a multi award-winning, feature-length creative documentary exploring the work of fringe scientists, mycologists and artists, and their relationship with the extraordinary plasmodial slime mould. The slime mould is being used to explore biological-inspired design, emergence theory, unconventional computing and robot controllers, much of which borders on the world of science fiction. But as well as exploring the slime mould in the lab, the film also travels out into the wild, hunting for the organisms in their natural habitat. Co-directed by artist film-maker Tim Grabham and writer and film curator Jasper Sharp, the film follows in the unconventional footsteps of Grabham’s previous feature ‘KanZeOn’ and Sharps fascination with the extended world of mycology. With an original soundtrack composed by celebrated musician and producer Jim O’Rourke (‘Sonic Youth,’ ‘Werner Herzog’s ‘Grizzly Man’) this is a unique exploration into a hitherto untapped subject matter, observing and immersing the audience into the worlds of the observers and the observed.” (From the press release.)

For a preview, watch the trailer here:

Chilean environmental activist Giuliana Furci.

Giuliana Furci

Giuliana Furci

The festival is honored to be hosting Giuliana Furci of Chile. Furci is the mastermind behind The Fungi Foundation, which promotes fungal conservation. Fungi are not an exception when it comes to conservation action for biodiversity in Chile. At The Fungi Foundation, they believe fungi are critical for the outcome of conservation at large. Putting fungal public policy in place is a task never undertaken until an NGO from Chile committed to getting political justice for Kingdom Fungi. Be inspired to take action to protect the kingdom that we know is so important to the whole ecosystem.

Highlights, additional activities:

Vendor FairThe gallery of the historic Sheridan Opera House will be transformed into a vendor fair, where the public may enter free to see what the mushroom world has to offer in terms of clothing, food, and art. Vendors are encouraged to hand out goodies to the public. No need to purchase a ticket to the Telluride Mushroom Festival to enjoy this free exhibit and demonstration space.

Mushroom Lounge and MycoBeer. The party can’t stop at the Telluride Mushroom Festival. Continue socializing and talking shop with other mycologists each evening at the Elks Lodge, which will be turned into a Mushroom Lounge that features Tradd Cotter’s MycoBeer (a partnership with Telluride Brewing Company).

Tradd Cotter. This year he created medicinal mycobrews with Telluride Brewing.

Tradd Cotter. This year he created medicinal mycobrews with Telluride Brewing.

The MycoBeer will also be available and during Friday cook-off.

Telluride Voucher Program. The Telluride Voucher Program returns for its second year. Each festival attendee will become a citizen scientist and collect mushroom specimens for DNA analysis. The DNA analysis helps the mycological community better describe the over 300 different species of fungi found in the Telluride region.

Chef Cook-off, Friday, August 14, noon – 3 p.m. The cookoff is one of the most exciting events of the festival. Chefs compete for best mushroom dish and festival attendees are able to sample all of the dishes. Past years have included Puffball Pistachio Ice Cream, Porcini Pancakes with Candycap Whipped Cream, and last year’s winner was a Chanterelle Custard Tart. Some of the plated presentations by the chefs resemble little gnome gardens and feature mushroom-themed decorations to garner audience favor and votes. Chefs travel from all over the United States to compete in this highly competitive and delicious event. Cowboys and Indians Magazine named the Telluride Mushroom Festival one of the 15 best foodie festivals in the West. (Note: non-passholders welcome to enter festivities at 1:30 p.m.)


All attendees of the Telluride Mushroom Festival get a ticket to the cookoff with their full pass. Members of the public can also acquire Cook-off tickets for a suggested donation of only $10 donation, while supplies last. Visit to purchase your ticket now.

Parade, Saturday, August 15, 4 p.m. (Starts at Elks Park.) Each year festival attendees follow the “Shroompa” himself, Art Goodtimes, on a parade down Colorado Avenue exclaiming “WE LOVE MUSHROOMS”! Festival attendees don’t take the parade lightly. Many spend months planning elaborate costumes. As 2014 Executive Director Rebecca Fyffe notes, “People bring extra suitcases just for their costumes and  are competitive all throughout the year saying ‘you better pick up your game because I’m already working on my costume.’”

Shroompa at the 2014 Mushroom Fest parade.

Shroompa at the 2014 Mushroom Fest parade.

Chaga at the Parade, by Rebecca Fyffe

Chaga at the Parade, by Rebecca Fyffe

Another Parade costume, by Marc Shapiro

Another Parade costume, by Marc Shapiro

Guided Mushroom Forays. Festival attendees have the opportunity to go on a guided foray each day to explore the fungi of the region with leading experts in the mycological community. The guides are what make the festival extra special, as famed mycologist and author Larry Millman explains, “Foraging at any location depends on the expertise of the foragers, and the foragers at the Telluride Festival are world-class.”

Basket of porcinis, by Gary Lincoff

Basket of porcinis, by Gary Lincoff

Dying to try some of the best edible mushrooms in the country? Eugenia Bone notes that the Telluride area is the premier foraging spot of the Rocky Mountain region. The porcinis found in the area are considered to be one of the best edibles in North America and the chanterelles have an apricot flavor. Do you need help learning to slice, clean, and cook your finds, too? After each foray, visit the free public cooking station in Elks Park, where experts are standing by to offer prep advice and show you how to cook your finds. Butter, spices, clean cutting boards, and knives are on hand for your use.

Pre-Conference Workshops (Wednesday August 12):

Culinary Pre-Conference Workshops (Beginner and Advanced), $125. Are you a little confused in the kitchen? Do you have an adventurous palette, but no way to satisfy it with your sub-par cooking skills? Or do you know the basics, but want to kick your skills up a notch to make sure your in-laws enjoy your cooking this Thanksgiving? The festival is proud to host the dynamic mushroom duo of Nick Martinez and Graham Steinruck of Hunt and Gather, LLC. Nick and Graham come with a wealth of experience from award-winning Michelin-rated restaurants in Denver and Chicago.


All-Day Mycoremediation Workshop, $200. Last year’s workshop was so successful Tradd Cotter suggested an encore. This one-intensive covers all the basics and beyond, giving attendees the skill-set required  organize, plan and install their own mycoremediation project at home or anywhere in the world.


Mycoremediation is the art and science of using fungi in laboratory and real-world systems to reduce or remove the background contamination levels present in the water, soil, and air. This overview covers the basic function of fungal enzymes and degradation pathways in a down to earth approach for beginners to intermediate attendees wishing to gain enough knowledge and experience to begin a project immediately with the skillset learned form this workshop. This course is designed to empower your will to make a difference, which includes several hands-on activities that will persist for all to see throughout the festival weekend.

Topics covered:

General Biology, Life Cycle, and Ecology of Mushrooms

Spawn Expansion Techniques for Mycoremediation Projects

Overview of Mycoremediation Projects Local and Worldwide

Testing and Data (e.g. biological assays, interpreting data)

Mycological Barriers: Runoff Containment and Remediation Techniques

Surveying Town Park Site

All-Day Mushroom Cultivation Workshop$200. This is a perfect class for beginner-to-intermediate cultivators wanting to learn how to easily cultivate edible and medicinal mushrooms at home or on the farm. Intercropping mushroom species in gardens, landscapes, and in composting piles is an easy way to cultivate edible mushrooms, while providing soil creation and biodiversity to harmonize microbial populations using organic methods of agriculture.


Specialty Dinners:

WildFoods Dinner with Katrina Blair $40.  Join forager and wild foods advocate, Katrina Blair of Turtle Lake Refuge in Durango, for a meal prepared from locally procured wild foods, as well as wholesome organic farmed items. Katrina will walk to the Telluride Mushroom Festival from Durango (a week-long hike) and collect much of the fare for the WildFoods Dinner on her way.

Katrina Blair, forager, Turtle Lake Refuge, Durango

Katrina Blair, forager, Turtle Lake Refuge, Durango

Gourmet Dinners at La Marmotte. $200. La Marmotte is joining forces again this year with the Telluride Mushroom Festival to offer a gourmet dinner featuring special guests, four delicious courses of mushroom foods, and wine pairings. Last year’s dinner included a delicious ending of local peach crumble with a huckleberry and chanterelle ice cream. Tickets to this unique event help support the continuation of the festival.



Sharing is Caring!Pin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn
The following two tabs change content below.

Maggie Klinedinst

Latest posts by Maggie Klinedinst (see all)

One Response

  1. wow, this is an amazing lineup. nice job summarizing, sus…