At Ride Festival, bands were clearly happy to be playing "the most beautiful venue in the world"

Real life stops at Ride festival . Sheer rock faces in the distance and a heavily forested backdrop for the small wooden stage make it easy to feel a sense of escape for a weekend. No wi-fi signal, no cell phones out, with the focus on music and the people around you -- the way a music festival should be.

See also: Why mountain concerts like this weekend's Ride Festival are especially appealing for bands

From Denver up I-70 past the ski towns, through Grand Junction and the winding San Juan mountains, sits a boxed canyon that holds the small mountain town of Telluride. Ride festival, now in its third year, has built an audience of three and a half thousand that suits the vibe well. There is always room to dance or set your chair or sun shade with no competing for grass space.

"An interesting piece of this festival in general is that a lot of festivals have to put a lot of money and a lot of thought in to the fan experience by setting up certain areas, and and vibe out the space, and here, they don't have to do that," says Darcy Schneider of Xsposure Events, which works on sponsorship for several festivals. "You're in Telluride, and the moment you get here there is that energy, that vibe, that feeling of being down here."

The strong lineup makes the festival feel something like a secret club. It's an eclectic mix, featuring everything from folk to rock and gospel to electronic. Todd Creel is Ride's talent buyer.

"It's his brain child, and he books the music he gravitates toward," Schneider says.

Spoon brought hard rock, Thievery Corporation played a set of reggae inspired electronic after Joan Osborne sang soft folk songs on Saturday.

Thievery Corporation specifically asked its management to book an outdoor festival. The band took the day after its set to fly fish in the San Miguel river.

Resale Concert Tickets

Powered By
powered by Seats For Everyone SEE MORE

  • Monday, Oct. 21, 2019 / 8:00pm @ Ogden Theatre 935 East Colfax Avenue Denver CO 80218
    935 East Colfax Avenue, Denver CO 80218

  • Monday, Oct. 21, 2019 / 8:00pm @ Bluebird Theater 3317 E. Colfax Ave Denver CO 80206
    3317 E. Colfax Ave, Denver CO 80206

  • Monday, Oct. 21, 2019 / 8:00pm @ Boulder Theater 2030 14th Street Boulder CO 80303
    2030 14th Street, Boulder CO 80303

On, Sunday morning Harlem Gospel Choir kicked off the proceedings. Nine members dressed in all black with bright tribal print large collars layered neatly on their chests belted "Amazing Grace," Pharrel's "Happy" and "Oh Happy Day." Normally used to playing in metropolitan areas, they made a point to say from the stage that they were playing "what has to be the most beautiful venue in the world." Later, rock band Delta Rae slapped drum sticks together and danced freely on stage.

The Wood Brothers with a trio of bass, harmonica and guitar playing ballads, sounded right at home in the mountain setting. Festivals like this is what are seems their music is made for.

The after parties, hosted at three different venues in town are included in the price of the festival, adding to the variety of the weekend. Some artists doubled up on gigs and performed at the NightRide events.

All of the festival's vendors were from Colorado. "We don't want to just grab twenty people and just throw them in there, we want to really build relationships and grow with the brands and see what else we can do each year. Since everything is so small and everyone knows each other here, it's really great. You can do everything really fast," Schneider says. Ride is small enough the attendees feel like they're getting a special slice of summer, but large enough it can book large enough bands to make the drive from Denver worth it.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >