By Andrew Martin
Telluride Town Park
The Summer Solstice weekend is always a great time for music in Colorado, as Planet Bluegrass hosts one of the best bluegrass festivals of the year. Telluride Bluegrass is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, giving even greater cause for celebration for the anxiously awaited annual pilgrimage down to the beautiful box canyon nestled in the San Juan Mountains.
Over the years, Telluride Bluegrass has built a reputation for delivering exceptional quality musicianship from some of the finest acoustic players in the world, including Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, and Chris Thile. So it’s no surprise that this year’s four-day passes sold out in record time (about four hours).
Telluride is much more than just a bluegrass festival, and every year the promoters take their bluegrass blinders off to host headliners from other genres of music, providing a little something for everyone. This year, some of the big name non-bluegrass acts include Jackson Browne, Mumford & Sons, and Dispatch.
Telluride Bluegrass has a strong community vibe, and each year thousands of returning festivarians indoctrinate newbies into the culture and traditions which have made this festival so great.
You’re going there to see: Yonder Mountain String Band and the Punch Brothers
You’re going to come home talking about: Infamous Stringdusters and Elephant Revival
(As calculated by maps.google.com from Denver, Colo. to Telluride, Colo.)
Total Estimated Time: 6 hours, 28 minutes
Total Estimated Distance: 330 miles
You Need to Know: Make sure to head into town to check out the great music that goes on all week. Bands play all day long at Elk’s Park, and Telluride’s best local venues host Nightgrass shows which continue long after the main stage wraps up.
Camping: Yes, but you’d better act fast. The best camping spots (Town Park, Warner Field) sold out via online lottery months ago, and the “further out” campgrounds will sell out shortly.