Telluride Jazz Fest: Behind the Scenes, Jam in the Van

Telluride Jazz Fest: Behind the Scenes, Jam in the Van

The Telluride Jazz Festival 2.0 boasts a robust and diverse artist lineup thanks to the new management group, Steve Gumble’s SBG Productions, which also programs Telluride Blues & Brews and the Durango Blues Train.

Passes and tickets to the Telluride Jazz Festival, are still on sale, including the Patron Experience, VIP Experience and general festival passes. Purchase them here now.

This year’s headliners include Bruce Hornsby, Karl Denson – and Irma Thomas, Soul Queen of New Orleans.

But there is more to Telluride Jazz than what’s right in front of your eyes.

Behind the scenes is, of course, the unforgettable, luxurious Patron Experience, also a new kid on the block: Jam in the Van. Please scroll down for a preview of one of the most anticipated acts of the weekend, Turkuaz, thanks to Jam in the Van. They recorded the group live at the Sierra Music Fest.

One way to define good fortune is the ability to walk your bliss all the way to the bank.

Welcome to the world of Jam in the Van, on site and behind the scenes for the first time at the 42nd annual Telluride Jazz Festival.

Thanks to Steve Gumble, whose SBG Productions took over the management of Telluride Jazz last year, the action up front on stage is the (hip) cat’s meow. This year, headliners include Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, Irma Thomas, Soul Queen of New Orleans and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. Up-and-comers whom Gumble thinks are changing the face of the genre include Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, BadBadNotGood and Turkuaz, the latter recently recorded by Jam in the Van.

And Turkuaz is keeping some pretty heady company: Ziggly Marley, George Clinton, Phil Lesh, Gary Clark Jr., Spin Doctors, The Revivalists, Mike Love, Robert Delong, Elle King are on a growing list of artists filmed in action in the Van.

For a taste, go the Jam in the Van’s You Tube channel here and join the legions of Van fans. In June alone, over 200 K followers enjoyed the company’s 3600+ videos. That added up to 76 million views.

What’s more the company releases new sessions, which means one band performing three songs every day of the week. That adds up to 250 new sessions and 750 videos a year.

The boys must be doing something right.

Jam in the Van, a brief history:

In New York City, musicians are known to play rock shows in the subways.

Folk sessions in the back of London taxis?


But in mobile vans? In 2011, having often rented RVs to attend festivals like Bonnaroo, Jake Cotler and his friend Dave Bell purchased an RV for $2000. According to one source, the original vehicle had issues: on a ride home, its gas pedal went straight through the floor.

“Armed with crowbars and some whiskey, the guys ripped out the bunk beds and kitchen, added platforms for speakers and amps, and covered the van’s interior in iconic music posters and handbills. Before they knew it, they had themselves a studio.

“It wasn’t immediately easy to entice folks into the vehicle, however. (Weird.) This Eastside artist Milo Greene was like, ‘You’re asking me to bring all of my gear to some back alley in Venice and meet some dude with a van?’, Cotler remembers. He still did it, but he was kinda creeped out. Parked behind Cotler’s and Rubiner’s apartment building in Venice, the van also has drawn the police a number of times, via calls from irate neighbors…,” wrote La Weekly.

That was then.

Two years ago, Jam in the Van opened new headquarters in Los Angeles. The complex houses offices and a production studio, a merch store and a lounge for the artists. Jam in the Van sessions are filmed in a private lot behind the venue, which also hosts private events and parties.

And six years later, the Van continues to make tracks across the country, now with hot groups lining up for the privilege of playing in the tricked-out motor home/HD mobile recording studio –  which operates via state-of-the-art solar panels. The  two- to three-song live performances they give on board continue to be shared exclusively on the aforementioned website.

Not only are musicians lining up, so are Jam in the Van sponsors.

And all that jazz…

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