Since moving to Telluride in 1983, Laurel has in one capacity or another, been involved in Festival production. First as a volunteer, then as the back-stage food operator in Telluride for the Bluegrass Festival, the Grateful Dead in Telluride 1987 produced by Bill Graham, then in Europe for Paul McCartney, Simple Minds, Pink Floyd and the 1989 Montreaux Jazz Festival to be followed by 25 more yearly stints in different capacities with the Telluride Film Festival, Telluride MountainFilm, Telluride Jazz Festival, Blues and Brews, and finally with the Telluride Wine Festival which she took over in 2014.
Because of her experience as a bar-owner, San Francisco special-event company owner, Nutritional therapist and caterer, organic farmer and Alaska Fisherman, the Wine Festival was a natural place to continue her love of fine food and drink and to hone her leadership skills and event planning abilities. Under her leadership, the Festival has grown 20% each year and this year made history by offering the first Cannabis/Wine paired dinner to be hosted by a Wine Festival.
Currently she lives on her farm outside of Telluride with her sheep, chickens and miniature Angus (“Angustina”) where she makes cheese, grows her own food, runs her Festival and her food-brokerage business and grows a little pot.