Mary E. Ilium Camping


I have a vehicle and camping pass for Mary E. Ilium for the weekend. I haven’t been to the Festival before and I’ve spent a lot of time in the San Juans. I’m happy to roll in, park my car and set up camp. I want it to be uncomplicated.

When should I come?

Campground opens the Saturday before. Wednesday night starts the official TBF events. If you bring a MTN bike you can ride right out of Illium to some nice trails. Last year we stayed there from opening on Saturday through the entire TBF. By Tuesday people were beginning to fill in more, but even at the peak of campers, tents, vehicles and people, you could find a spot easily. Might not be the best spot but you could find one if you came Thursday morning.

I think part of what makes this festival so great is the people. So getting there earlier helps with meeting people and getting to know the ins and outs of the campground. Also by coming early you have opportunity to experience the wilderness around Telluride without missing musical activities. So I say come as many days early as you possibly can. You already paid for the camping and vehicle pass, take advantage of the time that allots you to spend in the area.

If work, school or life can’t allow you the luxury of arriving early I’d say you won’t get the greatest spots after Tuesday. Remember that you have to walk from camp, with your daily festival gear to catch the bus at the road. Some folks look for spot closer for bus, some like further away or thicker tree cover. Illium is a big area, and plenty of level cleared camp sites. Get to know your gate keepers, they’ll have lots of info.
KInda rambling but hope that helps.

This will be my first time going to TBF and I am so excited! We got the pass to camp at Mary E. Ilium, but car passes were sold out. How far is the parking from where we camp? Are there actual camp sites that are assigned or is it a free for all and you pitch a tent where you can?

I am so excited and I have SO many questions!!

The bus rides are the best!!! The view!!! Required Sing a longs oh such good times waiting for you & the cool @$$ drivers keep your mind occupied for the short ride… It’s big kids summercamp :cheers

Camping is free for all. You can have your car at your site till wednesday, and depending it will be parked after weds anywhere from a few hundred feet from campground entrance, to near a mile down the road.

Camping is free for all? :huh

I think he meant “a free-for-all.” Which is true. For the low, low price of $60/pp.

Awesome! Thanks for the tips, we unexpectedly got tickets and so I want to learn as much as I can. Only 2 months!!

Gotcha :thumbsup

This is our first time camping at Mary E. Ilium. Have not been to TBF in 20 years! So I am sure things have changed. My daughter and I are driving from central NY and hope to get there by Tuesday, Wednesday the latest. My questions is, when does the music start on Thursday? Wondering when we should get on the bus in time for the music! :wave

First grass will be Wednesday evening around 5pm. Thursday main stage should be going around 10-11am. Buses start running around 7am I think??

Same Ol River!!!


Will shuttles run to town on Wednesday for first grass? Also, do we have to buy water at the festival, or carry it in? I thought I saw somewhere that you could refill water bottles free at the festival? Just wondering if that’s true.

Galloping Goose is running not sure if it goes down to Ilium in regards to water go buy you a Nalgene or other refillable bottle… we have two water fill stations on each side of the field- one by the vendors and food the other by the privies and medic tent… (please pardon :hug the muddy feet and little Hellions with water guns… for some of us watching them have fun and laugh iis undeniably one of the best parts of the festival) imo :wink:

Water inside the festival is FREE! Bring a reusable bottle and drink up. Mary E. will also have free, potable water.

The school bus shuttles will be running from Mary E. to town on Wednesday. You’ll then need to take the free gondola up to Mountain Village for first grass.

:thumbsup Skube you are awesome

Thanks Skubes & TRL…
I am sure it will all work out but want to stay & see all of Lil Smokies with our new chairs… Get to gondola ride & Dierks late. What to do with backpacks & chairs??. I am sure there isnt room inside for my gear!
Don’t want to but is it possible to drive to mnt village conference & find.parking?
Thanks for input, Randy4bb & Libertydeb

Hello, there is plenty of room in the gondola for all of your gear with no worries. Once you park your car on Wed, that is the last you need to use it. The buses will take you where you need to go from then on. The bus makes several stops in town, High school for showers, Elk park for the side stage, etc,etc. Trust me when I say, we are all used to everybody taking everything they can carry into the fest on the bus. :wave Part of the fun. :cheers

We are camping at Ilium and know we have to lug our chairs and backpacks with us on the bus. Question is we we’re thinking of bringing a wagon as well. Will we be able to bring a wagon on the bus? and will we need one once we get to the festival? I haven’t been in 20 years and we were in town then and used a wagon every day! Thanks for any festy advice! :wink: