Coming to You
Live from Town Park Festival Fever
Suzanne Cheavens aka The Electric Angel
Live Festival Broadcaster for KOTO
“It’s just a big carnival.”
SUZANNE CHEAVENS IS BLESSED. Cheavens, aka “Electric Angel” on the local KOTO airwaves, gets to broadcast the summer music festivals and live interviews with the artists that come to town. For some people, attending an outdoor music festival in Telluride, encircled by a natural mountain amphitheatre, is an experience of a lifetime. But Angel gets to do it several times each summer. Effervescent, with glimmering eyes and a permanent smile, Cheavens admits how much she loves broadcasting the festivals. “I live for it.” The festival scene in Telluride is vibrant and colorful. Tarps are spread out on the grass in the town park and some have elaborate set-ups: lawn chairs, wind screens, sunscreens, backpacks and big flags or wind socks in bright hues to help friends locate your spot. The whole park is thrumming with activity: barefoot dancing, hula hooping, Frisbee, hackysack. Families abound and kids tackle the climbing walls and bungee trampolines, wear fairy wings and wield squirt guns. Anything goes when it comes to festival fashion, from summer frocks to wild costumes, attention-grabbing hats, body paint and glitter. You’ll see cowboy boots and flip-flops, down jackets and bikini tops, often on the same day. Cheavens, who also works year-round as KOTO’s music director, relishes the season. “It’s just a big carnival. Festivals are like an explosion of thousands of new people. There is music pouring out of every door and on every corner. It’s a music lover’s paradise.” It’s fun for the performers, too, says Cheavens. Often the artists will have just finished a set on stage when they go to the media tent to be interviewed, and they are still buzzing with energy. “The artists are always really happy to be here. Look at the view! The natural beauty of this place elicits some very inspired performances.” Festivals are very visual events, but Cheavens and her team work hard at making sure the whole picture—not just the live music—translates over the radio. The broadcasts offer an intimate backstage perspective of the festival, and because they are streamed live over the web, they cast a wide net around music aficionados, Facebook friends and Telluride’s extended family of people who have lived here or visited here and fallen in love with the town. Keeping people connected is the business of KOTO, and that collective energy is what makes the festivals such a powerful experience. “The festival community is very large and engaged. It feels like we’re reaching out to an awful lot of people.” 800.525.3455
Telluride was first called the “Festival Capital of the Rockies” in the 70s, but in 2012, we fit that bill better than ever before. Every weekend is devoted to some type of celebration. Music festivals include Telluride Bluegrass Festival in late June, Telluride Jazz Celebration in early August, Telluride Rock and Roll Festival and Chamber Music Festival in late August and Telluride Blues and Brews Festival in September. Two film festivals bookend the summer season; on Memorial Day weekend cinephiles celebrate films and mountain culture with Mountainfilm in Telluride, and the internationally acclaimed Telluride Film Festival hits the big screens each Labor Day. The colorful Telluride Balloon Rally lifts off in spring, after which the Sheridan Opera House trots out the annual celebration of the spirit of the West, the Wild West Fest. Each June, yogis and yoginis hit the mat for the Telluride Yoga Festival, and visitors can take a step back in time at Heritage Fest. In July, Telluride Compassion Festival celebrates spiritual and emotional evolution, and for some regional flavor, check out the Telluride Mushroom Festival, which sprouts up each August. Visual artists congregate for Telluride Plein-Air in mid-summer and in late August for the Telluride Festival of the Arts. In October Telluride Horror Show is a festival dedicated to horror movies.
A resource for visitors to Telluride and Mountain Village, Colorado.