By Nessa Fried
June 19 – 22
Telluride Town Park
Born on the Fourth of July in 1973, Telluride Bluegrass is a festival that celebrates the revival of the American Bluegrass tradition. Forty-one years later, the festival is still going strong selling out months before the gates open in the San Juan mountains, and drawing festivarians from around the world each year.
Not surprisingly, after four decades, the main festival boasts the biggest names in bluegrass and beyond, as the organizers long ago learned how to make multiple styles of music fit under the bluegrass umbrella.
NightGrass, the late night component of the festival, are exclusive shows that require separate tickets. These performances will feature extra sets from Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass, and even Del McCoury’s 75th Birthday Extravaganza.
A valued Telluride tradition of various workshops will continue this year at the festival. In addition to intimate musical collaborations and informal performances, multiple contests with be held again this year. The Telluride Troubadour Competition which is a nationally recognized songwriter competition, and the bluegrass Band Contest is a coveted prize that allows audience members a preview of “the new kids” who are coming up in the bluegrass ranks.
You’re going there to see: Del McCoury Band, Nickel Creek, and the Telluride House Band feat. Sam Bush, Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, Stuart, Duncan with guests Alison Krauss and Del McCoury
You’re going to come home talking about: Jason Isbell, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers and Béla Fleck with the Colorado Symphony.
Travel Time: (Denver, Colo. to Telluride, Colo.)
Total Estimated Time: 6 hours, 28 minutes
Total Estimated Distance: 330 miles
You need to know: All four-day and single day tickets for Bluegrass sold out in about 10 minutes this year — beating their previous record by almost three hours.
Camping: Both on-site and off-site camping available, but very limited and super sold out.