Cassie Pence
Special to the Daily Government Mule's guitarist, Warren Haynes, second from left plays with Greg Allman at the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival.

TELLURIDE – Most young people think of the blues as old people’s music. What they don’t realize is the importance blues has on the music they’re listening to today.Founder and director of the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival, Steve Gumble, however, does know the genre’s significance. Being someone who chooses Muddy Waters over Michael Jackson, he picks bands that hard-core blues fans will enjoy and also attract music lovers in general.

“My programming is eclectic compared to other traditional blues festivals out there. I try to stretch the genre as far as I can and try to appeal to a wider audience,” Gumble said.Gumble thinks of the festival, which begins Friday and goes through Sunday, as a educational process as well. He chooses groups that cross genres but have a solid blues backbone, hoping to draw a younger crowd into the blues and into the festival. Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, who plays with special guest Greg Allman Saturday, is a perfect example.”Warren Haynes is a blues guitarist, although he doesn’t promote himself that way,” Gumble said. “Warren Haynes is someone who crosses out of the blues genre but really his backbone is based in blues.”

The funk and blues go hand in hand, so a lot of the musicians on the bill exude that New Orleans sound. Mofro, playing Friday, is one of Gumble’s hidden favorites – although the group has pockets of popularity. “Blues aficionados aren’t listening to Mofro but will probably enjoy them,” Gumble said.The three-day festival takes place in the Telluride Town Park, one of the most scenic music venues in the country with three 13,000-foot mountain peaks surrounding the stage. The event began in 1994 as strictly a beer festival, each year growing exponentially. Fifty breweries, serving over 150 kinds of beer, will be setting up in tents at the back area of the park in a big semi circle. It’s designed so festival-goers can listen and sample at the same time.

New this year, Denver-based DiscLogic – a music download provider for artists, record labels, music distributors and other entertainment companies – will be recording the live sets, and for a fee, you will be able to download songs from their Web site”It didn’t really take much to convince us to do it. For us, it’s keeping up with the technological times. We think it’s a real positive thing for everyone involved,” Gumble said. “The difference with DiscLogic is the band actually makes money, which is pretty unique. I am not a fan of downloading music off the Internet, (it’s) essentially stealing. This is different. You can download, but the band gets paid. That’s pretty unique.”For more information on Telluride Blues and Brews, go online to Pence is the Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Vail Daily. She can be reached at Colorado

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