Ride Festival 2016 breaks attendance records; proves that mega bands can and will bring fans to Telluride
With a stellar lineup of smallish to medium bands, headlined by Pearl Jam on Saturday and the incredibly unexpected Cage the Elephant on Sunday, the tiny and remote resort town of Telluride, Colorado, has shown in its fifth year that it can attract and comfortably handle 8,000+ rabid bordering on fanatical fans (I’m looking at you, PJ people) over a long weekend. A fairly long and complicated trip from anywhere to get there, Ride was worth it. From the absolutely stunning beauty of even the highway drive from Denver, to the spectacular valley one sits in during the show, to the friendly volunteers and staff, and even the reasonably priced food on the show field, Ride Festival was worth every cent.
Besides Pearl Jam and Cage the Elephant, the lineup included 20-year-old Matthew Curry; the amazing duo of Little Hurricane, The Dirty Knobs (fronted by Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell); the animated and energetic Highly Suspect; and many more. See full lineup here.
While festivals often have a vast difference from opening bands to headliner in terms of fans and reach, this one seemed almost to be of bands from alternate universes: from those with barely a couple thousand “likes” on FB to Pearl Jam’s 10 ,000,000+. One band even announced somewhat sheepishly that they had never played to more than 400 people – which I don’t think the audience would ever have guessed based on their playing and performance quality. Ride built a permanent stage for this year’s festival and brought in stadium-quality video projection and sound. They really could not have done it better.
Ride has shown it can compete with the big boys – Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits – in terms of headliner band draw. But, given that the field the festival is held on is tiny (it’s the town park and maybe the size of two softball fields?), it will thankfully have to remain a “small” festival. Intimate, friendly, clean and dry (pity to anyone who hits Bonnaroo in the rain), and one of the most beautiful settings on earth to lie back and listen to music. Watching the sun set behind the mountains with the soundtrack of your soul playing is heaven while alive.
A few more / different PJ pictures also on Facebook:
Check back here for more Pearl Jam after their Wrigley show on August 20.
Photos and article for 10 Wire Up. © 2016 Maryelle St. Clare, all rights reserved.
A chance front-row ticket to see The Pogues in 2008 led me to curiously wonder who the photographer was in the aisle, who obviously had permission to be there with her pro camera. Those few minutes of seeing this person doing a job I hadn’t really noticed before opened a picture window for me and I immediately knew, “I want to do THAT.” And that was the start. When I’m not shooting bands, I’m probably still seeing them. Rail, baby, rail. It’s an addiction. See my photography, design, and retouching at maryelle-stclare.com.