Making impacts: KOTO live-broadcasts all four summer music festivals

Every year the summer solstice -- when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky – launches music festival season in Telluride. Four concerts are scheduled for town park stage this summer beginning with the 45th Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which rolls through town June 21-24.

KOTO-FM radio in Telluride live-broadcasts all four music festivals, with staff and volunteers producing live interviews and original features programming throughout festival weekends.  

“Summer is a busy time for Telluride, bringing all the festivals in,” explained Steve Gumble, producer of both the Telluride Jazz Festival and the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival.  “People need to be fed, sheets need to be changed, infrastructure needs to be set. So if we can broadcast the festival to the community, that’s good community service, a way to give back to people who have to work and can’t experience the festival in person.”

Craig Ferguson, who has produced the Telluride Bluegrass Festival for 30 years, points out that while some music managers balk at allowing festival content to be broadcast, the artists know about KOTO, support it and often say, “just do it.”

“It’s out of long-term respect for KOTO,” he said. “Not only in the public radio world but also in the Telluride community.”

“Artists return to their hotel rooms and hear Bela Fleck live on the radio,” added Ferguson. “Or they go to the bars and restaurants and hear the live broadcast and that’s pretty cool.”

Todd Creel, who is in his seventh year of producing the Ride Festival, has been a KOTO radio deejay for over 30 years, host of  “Flying with the Fishbag” radio show on Wednesday afternoons. He also served as board president for KOTO, a non-profit, non-underwritten community station.

“We’re so lucky to have our free-form, community-based station,” he said. “It’s one of the greatest parts of this town, a remnant of classic, old school, hippy Telluride.”


Amy M. Peters, "Revel Without a Pause," every Monday 3-5 p.m.