Telluride Fire Fest: A Flaming Success

Telluride Fire Fest: A Flaming Success

The 2nd annual Telluride Fire Festival consumed three plazas in Mountain Village for three nights with over 30 fire-art performers on two stages, as well as fire art installations and fire-breathing art cars. The sky was ablaze with flames spewing from a Phoenix Dragon of Fire, a shack with the roof on fire, 30-foot tall roofers, and a 25-foot flaming archway.

Sven Jorgensen of Fractal Tribe enchanted all juggling fire while balancing on a spinning ball called “a walking globe.” Dance of the Sacred Fire and Dream Team Spinners also performed acrobatic feats while spinning fire on the two stages nightly. Children from all over the region came and pushed the buttons on various interactive fire art installations, which sent flames into the snowy night sky.


What set Fire Fest on fire, the inspiration:

Burning Man, the annual celebration of community and art in the Nevada desert – which drew 70,000 people this last Labor Day weekend –was the inspiration behind the event. Producers Erin Ries and Chris Myers have been to Burning Man a combined 16 years and wanted to bring some of the energy and dynamic that occurs there to Telluride.

Burning Man offers up so much fire art that it is impossible to see it all in one week…and much of it burns—never to be seen again. Spreading the Burning Man ethos is an important part of the Fire Festival and the reason it is offered for free.

The Festival opened Thursday with a VIP reception showcasing musical entertainers JD Gluckstern from New York, and Noah Souder-Russo from Los Angeles, along with theatrical performers, Stacy Everson of Carbondale on aerial silks and Bryan Pope of Denver spinning hoops. The crowd roared as Stacy dropped from the 30-foot ceiling on silks. The Friday, January 15, Rob Garza (of Thievery Corporation) dance party was a sell-out.

Festival climax:

The event’s climax was the Saturday night costume Fire Ball fundraiser with theatrical black lighting in a venue with a vaulted ceiling. LoveTribe, along with DJ Phoenix and The Strangfellow’s explosively, fabulous dance music, plus jugglers, hoop spinners, and aerial silk performances entertained the crowd indoors.

Fire performers on the snow deck, which could be viewed through the expansive windows, also mesmerized attendees.

Guests were treated to appetizers, cocktails, intimate lounge spaces lit by Harry Potter-styled “floating” lamps, and a lounge with over 700 pillows.

The evening’s grand finale —which ended at 2:00 a.m.— was the massive explosion of the towering “Spruce Bomb.” Created by Niel Ringstad and a host of volunteers with rescued wood pallets, this art installation was located on the Telluride Ski area.

At midnight, guests left the Great Room (located at 10, 540 feet above sea level) and walked out into the darkness on to the ski run to witness “Spruce Bomb” succumb to the flames. Standing majestically in front of the burning “Spruce Bomb” was Hin-Han: Guardian Of The Milky Way, a awe-inspiring steel owl sculpture, which stood 11-feet tall with an outstretched wingspan of 24-feet. The owl warming all with its fiery chest was brought to the Festival by Gammaspace out of Denver.


Closing Party:

Lexie Torelli DJ’d the closing party at Mountain Lodge Telluride, where guests were had an opportunity to mingle with the artists, watch impromptu performances inside and fire spinners outside on the pool deck, while relaxing in the lobby lounge.

Artists adding to the pyre:

Fire sculptors showcasing their unique fire installations and art cars were: Moab artist, Brent Cain; Seattle artist James Reinhardt; Oakland artist, Ryon Gesink; Alex Nolan with his spinning, wood burning Inertia Flame; Jamie Vaida with partner Alvin Sessions of Grand Junction showcasing the “The Burning Pink Organ”; Charlie and Gail Holthausen of Steamboat Springs; 15-year-old Max Ewy of Gunnison with her first Rubens Tube; Keith D’Angel, of Denver with two installations, the flaming Heart and LOVE.

Free Workshops and Gallery Shows:

Free workshops were offered both in the Towns of Telluride and Mountain Village. Subjects ranged from learning how to spin fire to how to create a bow drill out of found objects. Both Telluride Gallery of Fine Art and the Ah Haa School for the Arts hosted fire-themed exhibits.

Rave Reviews From Attendees of the Event

“As a 1st time attendee it was a very uplifting and mesmerizing experience. We enjoyed the workshops and gained a lot of knowledge by attending them. Three words to sum it up…. Spectacular, entertaining, and creative.“ —Sandy Poe, Gaithersburg, MD.

“Kudos! What a superb festival!!,” Lawrence de Bivort, Telluride, CO.

“The second Telluride Fire Festival was over the top, entertainment in the Mtn. Village Plaza, Fire Ball with aerialists and fire dancers, burning Owl and Tower. So well done!! ! Thanks Telluride Fire Festival!,” Janet Grant, Grand Junction, CO.

“Thank you so much for everything! It was wonderful to be at the Fire Festival again.  All your hard work really paid off, I got so much positive feedback about the festival, and my contributions,” Keith D’Angelo, Denver.




The Festival’s sponsors included AmeriGas, The Butcher and The Baker, Brown Dog Pizza, Camel’s Garden, CCAASE, Community Banks of Colorado, Cosmopolitan Restaurant, Element 52, Hotel Telluride, InvitedHome, La Cocina de Luz, La Marmotte, Lumière Telluride, Madeline Hotel & Residences, Mountain Limo, Mountain Lodge Telluride, New Sheridan Hotel,  Pernod Ricard, Siam, Ska Brewing, Scott’s Printing, The Peaks Resort, Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association, Telluride Bistro, Telluride Newspapers, Timberline Ace Hardware, Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association, Tracks Café & Bar, Tree Realty, LLC, and The Victorian Inn.

About the Telluride Fire Festival:

The Telluride Fire Festival, a 501c3 organization, is an interactive fire art experience offering free workshops and outdoor displays of fire artistry free to attendees to enable all to immerse themselves in fire arts. Dates for 2017 are January 12-15.

To submit a fire installation for consideration for 2017, become a sponsor, or subscribe to their enews, visit or email

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