Telluride Bluegrass, an unparalleled event
By Brian F. Johnson
Telluride Town Park
Telluride Bluegrass is the gold standard of fesitvals. Its relatively small audience has, for years, always been way out of line with the enormity of the headline acts. With that level of intimacy, coupled with the astounding physical beauty of the place and a festival staff that’s seen it all, but is prepared for the unexpected, makes Telluride the benchmark that most other festivals can only dream of.
In its 38 year history, the event has made it a point to bring in acts that don’t come close to the bluegrass mold, and this year they’ll again stretch those limits with Robert Plant and Band of Joy, and Mumford & Sons.
If this is your first time at Telluride, realize that you’re entering an exclusive club — one that will be a welcoming family, if it’s treated properly. The Festivarian Spirit was born in Telluride, and those lucky enough to see it first hand will not forget it.
You’re going there to see: Robert Plant & Band of Joy, Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, and the Telluride House Band.
You’re going to come home talking about: Jane Struthers & The Bootleggers, who sing tracks that sound like they should have been on Nickel Creek records; and new Sub Pop darlings The Head and The Heart.
Travel time: (As calculated by maps.google.com from Denver, Colo. to Telluride, Colo.)
Total Est. Time: 6 hours, 53 minutes
Total Est. Distance: 330 miles
YOU NEED TO KNOW: Just becuase you have your tarp on the ground doesn’t mean you own that land. As with other festivals under the Planet Bluegrass umbrella, the tarp run to reserve real estate near the stage is nuts. But Planet Bluegrass clearly states that the festival is “general admission only,” so if you see a tarp that is unoccupied, you’re encouraged to have a seat until the owner returns, but don’t be “that guy” and move all their stuff. Respect goes a long, long way in this regard.
Camping: Yes — but it’s the most sought after camping pass in America. Good luck.