First-timer necessities

Hey everyone!!! :wave
I will be a first timer to TBF this year, but have been to so many festivals around the country–High Sierra, 10KLF, Hardly Strictly, etc. We are camping in Mary E Ilium and aren’t able to get up there until Wednesday night. Just wondering what the camping sitch is like.
Will we need to squeeze in to a place after making friends with neighbors who allowed us to join their crew like at High Sierra or is it pretty open?
Is it possible to blow up our aerobed at the car and then carry it into the campground or is it too far?
How is traffic from Denver?
Is the tarp run just for getting spots to see the shows for the day? Kind like people lay out tarps at Hardly Strictly?
Do people give you evil looks for joining in on their tarps or are they nice a friendly?
Any other suggestions? or etiquette specific to TBF?

Thanks! We are SO excited. :flower


Welcome to TBF!!!
The situation at Mary E. should be somewhat between a squeeze in where you can and a free for all Wednesday night. There will still be plenty of spaces available. You probably won’t get your own firepit, but you can always share with someone else.
The two times I camped at Mary E, we were allowed to drive in and unload and then drive out. We got there earlier than you’re planning to, however, so that might make a small difference in how far you can get your car in.
I’ve only come through Denver once, and the traffic was only bad around that area. Once you get out of Denver, you should be fine.
Yes, the Tarp Run is for people who want to stake out their spot for the day. I’ve never participated. As long as your group is small enough, you should have no problems finding a space to sit and enjoy the music. Any unoccupied tarp is open game until the owners get back. In the unlikely event that they ask you to leave, it will simply be because they have a lot of people coming in and really need the space. They won’t be rude about it at all. 9 times out of 10, they’ll just ask you to make room.

Enjoy!!! :cheers

Thanks! :thumbsup We are super stoked! I will see if we can’t just take Wednesday off work too. A nice home base is essential in my book.

Any word on biking to and from the campground? I have a beach cruiser, so if the incline on the road is too steep I might not even waste my time with bringing the bike.

Oh, and another question: Do most people stay over on Sunday night? Or do most people leave Sunday night…just wondering if I need to take work off on Monday.

It’s a steep, narrow, winding road with NO shoulder to speak of… so it’s not a good idea to ride a bike. There may be a trail below the road, but I’m not certain of that.
I’d just take the shuttle every day and be safe. :flower

Only those people that have to work Monday will leave Sunday. It’s better to stay overnight Sunday and get rested for the drive home. :cheers

I believe there is a bike trail, but it’s a long, steep ride at very high altitude. The shuttles have never let me down in the past.

Besides being rested up, staying Sunday night gives you a nice sense of closure. My party left after the final set last year and I definitely felt like I was missing something the entire way home.

Be super careful on the drive in if you’re arriving late Wednesday. The last stretch especially (Ridgway to Telluride) you’re almost guaranteed to have an exciting moment with a deer. In 22 years I’ve only hit one, but every late night arrival has had a couple of tense moments.

Deer and ELK! and the ELK are BIG! :deer

The tarp situation is very much like Hardly Strictly except for the fact that the gates do not open until 10 or 11 a.m, depending on which day we’re talking about, and we make a sport out of the tarps hitting the ground, complete with bagpipes urging the runners across the festi-field. Afternoon shows, for the most part, allow for calm sitting and resting on the tarp. Round about sunset most days it’s time to pull up the tarps and get ready for the big forward push for the bigger named sets.

Don’t forget your “day pack” that should have everything you need to stay warm on the festi-field in the evening, and should include sunscreen and a hat to stay out of the sun during the day! :thumbsup

About traffic from Denver…
You’ll be fine after leaving Denver headed West into the mountains. It’s about 4 hours to Grand Junction from Denver, and after heading South out of Grand Junction, DO WATCH YOUR SPEED!!! Those officers between Grand Junction and Montrose love their jobs and they’re really good at them too!!!

I know a guy that says. "it wouldn’t be Telluride Bluegrass if I didn’t get a ticket either coming or going to FESTIVVVAAALLL!!!".

Welcome to the Family Rikki! How many are in your group and what the age range of your campers?

Auntie Hope :festivarian2 :green

You don’t have to go to Grand Junction though. There are much quicker and more scenic routes you can take if you want to have a nice trip through the mtns. instead of a race down I-70.

I like to drive Hwy 285 out of Denver, down to the Arkansas River, go over Cottonwood Pass, drive the beautiful Taylor River passage, drop into Gunnison and skip over to Montrose enroute to Placerville, ultimately ending up in Telluride, listening to the Fatman “send it home Jerome!” (a la Bill Rafterty)

So I’m also a first timer and will be camping at Lawson Hill. I understand showers are available at the HS. Do the Lawson Hill campers have access to those?

You sure do. The High School showers are open to all festivarians.

Basically ANY route you take from Denver to Telluride is going to be BEAUTIFUL! For a newbie, especially if you’ve never been in those mountains, it would be best if you had someone to switch off with for the driving part, if at all possible. If your plan right now is to drive and you have room for one or two more folks, please post in the “Hitchin’ A Ride” section and see if there might be someone looking to share the journey. It’s more fun, more cost effective and just better for our world in general! :thumbsup

Auntie Hope :festivarian2 :green

Hey again!
Thank you all so much for the information adn feel free to keep it coming. It will just be me and my husband right now, but I believe we will run into friends coming from the Twin Cities and Duluth, MN. Either way, we are pretty good company and always make new friends at festivals…especially when we break out the grilled cheese maker and pass out sandwiches for everyone to enjoy. Nothing like grilled cheese and tomato soup to warm the soul after a great long evening of music and dancing! We are in our late 20s-early 30s.

We are pretty experienced mountain drivers. When we lived out in the Bay Area we did the drive to High Sierra at night, that was pretty sketch! I have encountered everything from deer to elk and even a MOOSE once on Colorado back roads at night!

I love the idea of a day pack! We haven’t ever camped so far from a venue. What is the sitch on bringing in beverages? If I have my camelbak filled with water will that be ok? Also, any way to get other beverages in?

Thanks for the warm welcome and cant’ wait to see you all there. Stop by for a grilled cheese and a hoopin’ sesh if you can find us in Mary E Ilium!

Bringing in a camel back is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. TBF has a free, local water filling station in the festival grounds and in the campgrounds. Water is very important with the combination of heat and altitude you’ll experience. I also find that a nice squirt bottle is a great thing to have. It helps you keep nice and cool. As for other beverages, you can’t bring in your own alcohol or anything in a glass container. Cans and plastic bottles are fine and they even have recycling bins in the festival grounds.

If you’re not in a hurry at all, and don’t mind the dirt road, go to Georgetown on I-70, and go over Guanella Pass to 285. Guaranteed Bighorn

Ya any route out on the Arkansas is always pretty sweet. I’ve always loved 133 out of Carbondale; reminds me of Cali for some reason. And if you have time for a side trip jump off past marble and check out Crested Butte. That is such a cool road and CB always gives me the warm fuzzies :butterfly Anyone know if that pass is open in June?

We cant come until Thursday morning/noon-ish, will I still be able to squeeze in when I get to Lawson?

Thank you all for being so helpful to us TBF noobs! After lurking around here a bit I feel like I’ll be right at home when I pull up!

There are basically two main routes via Denver: I-70 & 285 … with all sort of options within each. I personally always look to the CDOT website for major closures:;jsessionid=4D11DD63963E6B009CBAD40D56A62E41.node1

If you do go I-70, Carbondale → Delta is the quickest (and very scenic), but is also very windy & a two lane road for a good stretch. I think it’s about 20 minutes faster vs. Grand Junction (which I’dd suggest “cutting the corner” in Clifton 140 if you do go that way … saves at least 10 minutes, unless you want to stop in GJ or see something up there). However, I often take the GJ route vs. Carbondale if I’m tired and it’s dark … since it’s an easier ride.

285 is also very scenic & much less populated, but it’s two lanes most of the way.

Is that road open again? It was closed for quite a while for maintenance. It is a pretty drive though, and you don’t really need 4WD to do it.

You’re right! But the good news is they hope to have it open by May 27, 2011