live shows

Alex Paul, above, performed with Leah Song, of Rising Appalachia, at the Transfer Warehouse on March 7. (Photo courtesy of Austin Halpern Photography)

When full-blown concerts and festivals finally return, they won’t be the same, at least right away.

For a feel of what’s to come, you don’t have to wait: You can get a preview of the transformation right now.

It’s happening at the Telluride Transfer Warehouse.

It’s out of doors (the historic Transfer Warehouse lacks a roof, and open-air concerts are ideal for this time).

Audience numbers are limited.

And yet, as the number of vaccines has gone up, and coronavirus-rates have come down, the show, or rather shows, are not only going on, they are gathering steam. Small numbers of people are gathering for Tiny Concerts, the name Telluride Arts has given its short-duration, limited-attendance events in the warehouse.

This week and next, the cultural organization will play out the season with a series of live performances under the big sky. The caveat is the concerts are weather-dependent.

“Everything is ‘weather permitting’ at the moment,” said Evan Tueller, the programs manager for Telluride Arts and its monthly gallery-exhibit event Art Walk. “If it’s snowing, it’s not that comfortable for our performers or our patrons, in which case, we’ll try to reschedule.”

Assuming big storms hold off, the calendar is currently packed. Tonight (Wednesday) brings a drag performance by The Gaggers at 6 p.m., followed by music from Sean Deland at 7 p.m. in the warehouse (the bar opens at 4 p.m.).

On Thursday, musician Tyler Simmons will play from 4-6 p.m.

The get-togethers Wednesday and Thursday are free.

Friday brings a Tiny Concert Series ticketed performance with folk-pop-Americana duo LVDY (pronounced Lady), and on Saturday, there’s yet another free performance, this one featuring Cousin Curtiss and Chris Harden.

“We’ll be offering a mix of free, apres-ski events and ticketed events through the end of ski season,” events manager Austin Halpern said. “People who aren’t interested in purchasing a ticket are definitely welcome. It feels good to bring live music to town. It’s something we’ve all been craving, and it fills our souls to be able to offer it again. But we’re doing it in a health-conscious way.”

Specifically, although the spacious warehouse can accommodate more than 75, “We’re capping capacity at 75 to 80 for ticketed events,” Tueller said. “Part of our protocol is keeping people separated (‘pods’ of families and friends seated together are ideal). We ask that if you stand up to listen to the music, you keep your mask up. We’re trying to keep this safe for everyone, and fun.”

Most importantly, “We want to keep this going.”

The phrase “keep this going” speaks to the ongoing challenge arts programmers face right now: Bringing live music, and visual art, to the public during a time when health-protocols are critical, and constantly changing, is difficult, particularly on a small budget. For this reason, Telluride Arts would very much appreciate (and is now actively recruiting) volunteers. In return, volunteers will receive not only a cultural immersion in a town beloved for its arts programming, but can attend events for free.

“We have a variety of different roles and responsibilities available,” Tueller said. “We welcome all ages and abilities. We want to create, and to keep this, an inclusive, welcoming space. We’re obviously not going to ask someone who can’t lift a certain amount of weight to help us with chairs. We also need help with the people-management side of things, such as asking guests to please remember to keep their masks on. There are lots of different ways that volunteers can help. I have a form I’ve put together, to allow me to compile people’s details. If you’re interested in assisting, give us a call at our office, at 970-728-3930, or send an email to info@telluridearts.org.”

The Transfer Warehouse hosts free apres-ski events, featuring live music and beverages, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday beginning around 3 p.m. On Friday, there’s a Tiny Concert Series ticketed performance in the Warehouse by Colorado duo LVDY (pronounced Lady). Live music continues next week. For more information, visit telluridearts.org.