via Justin Criado, Editor at Telluride Daily Planet
The Sunset Concert Series, the free annual outdoor event held Wednesday nights in Mountain Village’s Sunset Plaza, isn’t going to happen this year. At least, that’s the case as of this week. After going without the series the past two summers due to the pandemic, Mountain Village officials looked forward to welcoming back the popular offering, but Telski hasn’t granted producers an easement to use the plaza, which the resort owns. Mountain Village Mayor Laila Benitez explained the current concert series situation in her mayor’s update during last week’s council meeting.
“I will make it brief, but there was one thing that I wanted to talk to all of us about because I keep getting this question and I’m sure all you guys have been getting it as well, and that is regarding the Sunset Concert Series, including FirstGrass,” she said. “I know that there was a hiatus with COVID, and we were all hoping that is was going to be coming back. TMVOA (Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association) did sign a contract. They did budget for it to come back. The town has received a request from TMVOA. We’ve been completely supportive. And we would love to see the Sunset Concert series come back. Unfortunately, it has historically occurred on Sunset Plaza and on that grassy hill, and that is owned by TSG. They are currently not allowing an easement to hold those Wednesday night concerts.”
Teddy Errico, operating as the Telluride Society for Music, has produced the series since 2011, in partnership with TMVOA. He confirmed the circumstances to the Daily Planet Wednesday morning, but he’s still optimistic that the two sides can come to some sort of agreement before the summer season starts.
"We are hopeful that we can come up with a solution to work with Telluride Ski and Golf so the series can happen,” Errico said. “It’s a great community event for the Town of Mountain Village, and it would be a shame to see a long-standing tradition go away.”
Representatives from Telski didn’t immediately respond to questions about the state of the series, but this story will be updated online at telluridenews.com as more information becomes available.
Benitez expressed a similar sentiment and wanted to clear the air.
“The reason I wanted everyone to know that is because there is a lot of confusion that maybe the town is not allowing this to have that type of gathering or that TMVOA is. It really just is out of all of our hands. We are completely supportive of this happening, and we hope that we don’t run out of time if they do change their mind and we are still able to get bands. But as of right now, there’s just no clear direction that that’s going to happen,” she said during her update to council. “I just wanted you guys to know, because like I said, I’m sure you’re getting the same questions. It is probably one of the most popular things that we have in our community. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to come together, so It’ll be a real disappointment, I know, to all of us.”
The Telluride Bluegrass Festival is returning to a full-capacity format June 16-19. The free FirstGrass show has been the kick-off for both the summer’s largest festival and the Sunset Concert Series. Over the years, the Wednesday evening concerts in Mountain Village have hosted musicians across numerous genres, representing nationally touring acts or regional favorites.