Summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean the good times are. The Telluride Blues & Brews Festival this weekend is the last of the season’s grand musical events, featuring headliners John Fogerty, Boz Scaggs, and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.
The festivities started Friday under blue skies and sunshine. Southern Avenue of Memphis took the stage first, followed by Low Cut Connie, Samantha Fish, Ryan Bingham and Fogerty. Local band and last year’s Blues Challenger winner Alex Paul and the Birds of Play, Ida Mae, Willie Farmer, and Joanee Shaw Taylor played the Blues Stage Friday, while Otis Taylor and Jake Xerxes Fussell did their thing during the Campground Sessions.
Friends Heidy Perez-Phillip and Michael Phillip, and Andrew and Julie Cunningham, all from the Denver area, were enjoying libations during Low Cut Connie’s set. The Phillips were married in the Telluride mountains almost a year ago, and were treating their first trip to the festival as an anniversary present.
“We’re here to see some good live music,” Michael said.
They all were excited to see Fogerty. The legendary Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman and founder is on the road for his My 50 Year Trip tour. It’s also the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, which Creedence played. The festival’s tagline this year is “3 days of Peace, Beer & Music” — an homage to Woodstock’s “3 Days of Peace & Music.”
“It’s good music and good beer. What more do you need?” Julie said. Good question.
Near the campground entrance, a shirtless man who called himself Trippy relaxed in a hammock. He said he’s been coming north from Durango to Blues & Brews for the past several years. His eyes, hidden behind sunglasses, coupled with his laid-back stoner demeanor (not to mention his self-assigned nickname) fit the Friday vibe.
“I love supporting this. It’s something of the best music around,” he said from his hammock hangout.
Sisters Sammy and Rachel Mestnik, both of the Denver area, were on “trash duty,” as they put it, near the main gates. Rachel, the older of the two, has been a festival volunteer for the past three years and convinced her sister to join this year.
“I’ve always been on trash duty,” she said.
Sammy interjected, “She’s always been a trash person.”
The sisters liked their current post since they could enjoy the show during their shift.
“It’s so fun. It’s beautiful. Everyone is outside and having a good time. It’s chill,” Rachel said. “It’s a good way to get away from Denver.”
“Everyone is in a great mood and enjoying the music,” Sammy added.
The crowd continued to grow throughout Friday. Festivalgoers trickled down Main Street to Town Park in a pilgrimage of sorts. (Fogerty was set to close down the main stage Friday in a performance after the Daily Planet’s presstime.)
Friday night late-night shows at the Blues Stage, The Moon at O’Bannon’s, Sheridan Opera House, Wood Ear and the Liberty were scheduled to include Tab Benoit with Eagle Eye Williamson, Low Cut Connie with Husky & the Slow Attack, Joanne Shaw Taylor with Ida Mae, the Joanna Connor Band, Molly Gene One Whoaman Band, Mitch Woods Club 88 jam sessions, and stand-up comedy.
Other artists slated to play throughout the weekend included Ms. Hy-C & Fresh Start, Phil Cook, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Alabama Slim, The Como Mamas, Durand Jones & The Indications, Ruthie Foster, Hiss Golden Messenger, Sandra Hall, Grant Sabin and Michael Jennings and Mitch Woods.
Associate Editor Suzanne Cheavens will handle MC duties with Ashley Boling all weekend.