Most music festivals these days are primarily male-led bands with male headliners. Since this is the norm, at least in the U.S., it often goes unnoticed – that is, until a big-time event like Telluride’s Ride Festival adds two women who absolutely rock to the list of headliners and a long list of female musicians to the two-day lineup.
The festival organizers made a point to stray from an industry that is too often dominated by dudes. A glance at this year’s beautifully designed poster, displaying two dancing women, further exemplifies the theme. For the festival’s first six years in existence, they’ve made a point to consistently feature female artists. But as their seventh year nears and the country sits at an uncertain point for women’s rights, they’ve really focused on the women who rock, especially the ones they’ve managed to bring to the Telluride this weekend.
Not only did the organizers bring out legendary ladies such as Grace Potter, ZZ Ward and Sheryl Crow, but emerging talent that will soon be owning the show as well. For as long as the festival has been running, they’ve promoted underdog talent and allowed many young artists to shine. One of these up-and-coming bands is Larkin Poe, a roots rock ’n’ roll sister duo comprised of Rebecca and Megan Lovell.
The sisters are descents of the acclaimed poet Edgar Allan Poe. They’ve also both been classically trained on violin and piano, yet were heavily influenced by rock classics such as Fleetwood Mac. The two sisters will be playing a few acts before Mike Campbell's band, The Dirty Knobs. The man who many consider to be the greatest living guitarist is known for many different roles, including his time with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Stevie Nicks and, of course, Fleetwood Mac.
Yet, as with any festival, it’s the big hitters that are bringing crowds to Telluride. The String Cheese Incident will quench Coloradans’ jam-band thirst both Saturday and Sunday night. The hometown favorite will be closing down the main portion of the festival each night, starting around 8:30 p.m. and likely ending when the town officials force them out. Ride has been known to encourage collaboration and spontaneity, so don’t be surprised if other artists join the Boulder-based group throughout both nights.
Just before Cheese’s Saturday night show, nine-time Grammy award winner Sheryl Crow will grace the stage. Crow’s classic pop hits offer a different experience than many of the artists and will bring in another crowd entirely. On Saturday night, Grace Potter will be the woman rocking on the main stage. Potter has been described by Spin as “one of the greatest living voices in rock today.” She has been invited to countless major festivals around the world and shared the stage with icons such as Neil Young, The Rolling Stones and Willie Nelson.
The Ride Festival is spread throughout Telluride and neighbor-ing Mountain Village. A ticket provides access to the main stage and Telluride Town Park, as well as various bars and venues around town and Sunset Plaza just up the mountain. Since the festival sits in the center of town, the final headliner will end at a reasonable hour. Luckily, the Ride Festival Night Ride continues late into the evening throughout Telluride at the Sheridan Opera House, The Moon at O’Bannon’s and other historic local venues.