Telluride Bluegrass Festival


Telluride Bluegrass, an unparalleled event

By Brian F. Johnson

June 17-20

Telluride Town Park

Telluride, Colo.

In its 37 year existence, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival has become the shining example of what a festival should be. Though regal in its experience for both artists and fans, the promoters have never gotten too stodgy about the event and allow even rock musicians to headline the festival. This year, Telluride will let its mulleted-hair down with Leftover Salmon and the Manson family of rock groups, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

But in addition to the musicians that the festival attracts every year, the entire event goes off so smoothly year after year because there’s nothing these guys haven’t dealt with before. They were one of the first festivals in the country to really start pushing the green envelope and several years ago went so far as to offset carbon emissions for its audience’s travel to the event — making it the first festival in the country to be carbon neutral.

The afternoons and evenings in Town Park can be filled with epic moments of music, but the NightGrass events are the time to really whoop it up and this year, with sets by Yonder Mountain String Band, Punch Brothers, Keller Williams, Drew Emmitt & Friends and more, the NightGrass shows are the icing on an already tasty cake.

A lot of festivals discuss a family feeling, but Telluride is like that multiplied. Festivarians and musicians alike aren’t content with attending a couple years in a row. It’s all about longevity at Telluride.

Travel time: (As calculated by from Denver, Colo. to Telluride, Colo.)

Total Est. Time: 6 hours, 53 minutes

Total Est. Distance: 330 miles

YOU NEED TO KNOW: Don’t sleep in at Telluride. The troubadour contest and band competitions, which are held early in the day, feature the artists that you’ll want to know about. Often the folks who win this year, are next year’s hot-stuff, so keep an ear pealed.

PRICE: $$$$

Camping: Yes — but if you’re just thinking of camping now, think again. Pray to the Craigslist gods.

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