Telluride Bluegrass goes way beyond the twang

By Brian F. Johnson

 June 15-18
Telluride, Co.

For 33 summers Telluride Bluegrass has been the premiere festival in Colorado. While the festival is and always has been routed in its bluegrass heritage, in recent years the promoters have continually pushed the envelope of what bluegrass means, changing the festival into more of an Americana catch-all music festival.

From traditionalists like Del McCoury to progressive bluegrassers like Sam Bush, this year’s line-up is no different. But the festival also has some very non-bluegrass acts, like The Barenaked Ladies and southern rockers and storytellers Drive-By Truckers.

Set amid the picturesque San Juan mountains, the festival is quite possibly the most visually stimulating gathering of its kind anywhere in the world. The natural backdrop is just that good, and Planet Bluegrass, the company that organizes the festival, runs it like a well-oiled machine, giving festival goers a fantastic outdoor concert experience.



Bonnie Raitt

Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, Tim O’Brien, Bryan Sutton

Neko Case

Tim O’Brien

Drew Emmit Band

Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband

Wayword Sons

Bela Fleck & the Flecktones

The Decemberists

Drive-By Truckers

John Lehndorff

Jerry Douglas Band

The Greencards

Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers

The Badly Bent

Sam Bush Band

Yonder Mountain String Band

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

Shawn Camp

John Cowan

Missy Higgins

Barenaked Ladies

John Prine

Nickel Creek

Tim O’Brien Band

Del McCoury Band

Edgar Meyer & Mike Marshall

Peter Rowan & Tony Rice



(As calculated by from

Denver, Co. to Telluride, Co.).

Total Est. Time: 6 hours, 15 minute

Total Est. Distance: 363 miles


ALONG THE WAY: The drive to Telluride can sometimes seem to take forever, but the drive through Glenwood Canyon makes it all worth while. It begs to be driven in a top-down convertible with music cranking.

Once in Telluride, trips via gondola over to Mountain Village provide some of the most spectacular views of the Telluride Box Canyon. A hike to Bridal Veil Falls, the highest cascade in Colorado, is also a must.


PRICES: $$$$


CAMPING: Limited on-site

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