Video Footage: Last Time Phil Lesh Played in Telluride

Here’s an excellent and quite extensive YouTube clip from when the Grateful Dead played in Telluride for two nights in 1987, uploaded by ElectronicCinema:

The above two-hour clip provides excellent footage of the scene around town during the dead’s visit; including an appearance by “Acrobat Pat” on a unicycle around the 7:00 minute mark! Pat is still in town and is always inventing/creating new things … including some great metal work images of Jerry. You can often find him hanging out on main street.

I don’t think the Phil & Friends appearance at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival will garner the same level of fan attendance for several reasons:

– Many Blues & Brews regulars (who’ve been visiting year after year) will have already purchased their 3-day pass or VIP tickets long ago prior to the announcement of the lineup. I’m not sure exactly how many fall into this camp, but I’m guessing it’s fairly significant … probably in the neighborhood of a few thousand on the low end is my suspicion.

– While there are affordable camping options available in the Town of Telluride and the general region, given that Blues & Brews is now a popular recurring festival, many visitors have gotten into the habit of booking their lodging well in advance. Also, given that the lodging sector knows about this demand, the prices for getting a room anywhere in town or the mountain village are going to be on the very high end. I’ve heard reports on the Phil Zone of rooms being in the neighborhood of $400/night.

– It is true that many fans are still very devoted hardcore followers of the Grateful Dead’s remnant incarnations, but lets face it … most of us who did get a chance to see Jerry play now have a touch of gray and the responsibilities of life which go along with getting older. This is not to say I haven’t seen a great mix of ages at recent Furthur, P&F, Ratdog, 7-Walkers, etc. shows which include many younger college aged kids … but lets face it, 1987 was probably approaching the pinnacle of the Grateful Dead’s “mainstream popularity” with the release of “In The Dark” – and the wave of “in the darkers”.

So if I had to bet, I’d say we’re probably looking at about 2,000 – 4,000 deadheads (of one stripe or another) out of about 10k total festival attendees. It’s certainly plenty enough to make a scene happen around town, but I just don’t think it’s going to be quite to the same level as 1987.

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