As festivarians, all winter we've been sharing the same summertime daydream... Rolling into Telluride after days and weeks of travel and planning; the setting sun casting an orange alpenglow on the mountains; the spring runoff cascading down over Ingram Falls in the distance; Colorado Avenue welcoming us home as banjos and guitars seem to hover overhead somewhere in the slow moving clouds.
This year's Telluride Bluegrass artwork captures that initial moment when goosebumps, joy, and a profound sense of awe fight for our attention. It's perhaps the most powerful moment of the year. Telluride Bluegrass (June 18-21) is finally within our grasp...
If you squint just right, this year's artwork holds the future glow of Town Park and the music on the main stage. If this painting could talk, it would sing out like David Byrne or Emmylou Harris or Elvis Costello. Somewhere in this year's painting is the high energy of Yonder Mountain String Band; the whirling late night jams of Railroad Earth; the royal fanfares for Sam Bush, Béla Fleck, Tim O'Brien, Peter Rowan, John Cowan; the heartfelt ovation for Jerry Douglas's 25th. And so much more.
These magical moment of orange alpenglow and instrument-filled skies are easily within your grasp. Tickets and camping (including Telluride High School, Lawson Hill, and Mary E) are still available - shop.bluegrass.com or 800-624-2422. Or if sleeping under the stars isn't your thing, numerous lodging options remain in Telluride and Mountain Village.
Thanks to our friends at MusiqBase, we continue to add main stage videos from last year's festival. Check out our most recent additions: several songs from the Sam Bush Band (including the Newgrass Revival classic "Souvenir Bottles"), several songs from Cadillac Sky (check out the fiery fiddle and banjo on "Slow Train Coming"), and a special interview with Béla Fleck - discussing his Throw Down Your Heart project, the state of banjo music, and his ongoing collaboration with Edgar Meyer. If you haven't seen the Telluride House Band videos yet, stop reading this and fire up "Same 'Ol River" - it's guaranteed to make your week.
If you're like a lot of us, part of the joy of Telluride Bluegrass is discovering new music and your favorite new artist. It's time to begin this year's new music prepping... Conor Oberst just released "some of the most spirited singing and playing of his career" (Onion A.V. Club) on his latest Outer South. Though he'll be sharing this year's Telluride stage with "three girls," Buddy Miller just put out a new collection with his wife Julie, that "electrocharges their music with the heat and heart of conjugal passion" (Rolling Stone's 4-star review).
This year's gospel voice Mike Farris has a soaring new live album recorded at his weekly Sunday Night Shout gig in Nashville (check out this video trailer). And The Greencards and Blue Canyon Boys both have fine new records, we wholeheartedly recommend for the trek to Telluride or just the trek to work tomorrow. Who are you most excited about seeing on this year's main stage? Join the discussion at the Festivarian Forum.
It's still contest season on Planet Bluegrass. Register to win a pair of 4-day passes and camping for Telluride Bluegrass at Jambase.com - entering is quick and easy. You can join the growing list of Telluride winners...
Congratulations to James Reich and Steve Leftridge, the two writers who will be guest-blogging from the festival for NoDepression.com (check out the many fascinating entries chronicling the Telluride experience from the history of the town to the tarp line).
The Telluride Troubadour judges convened last night at the Grammy Award-winning Airshow Mastering studio in Boulder to select this year's ten Troubadour finalists from more than 500 entries. Look for that announcement on www.bluegrass.com in the next couple days.
We're putting the finishing touches on this year's Sustainable Festivarian Toolkit - everything you'll need to be a certified sustainable festivarian. In the meantime, we'd love for you to start thinking about your travel to Telluride. If you're driving, consider sharing an empty seat with a fellow festivarian. Share the gas money, share your CD collections, share the anticipation as you experience that Telluride alpenglow for the first time this June. Check out the "Hitching a Ride" board on our Festivarian Forum.
Gillian Welch is the greatest American songwriter of her generation. Few would argue with this bold claim, and those remaining few will almost certainly be converted when Gillian Welch and her partner David Rawlings return to Lyons for the 19th Annual Folks Festival (August 14-16).
The last time Peter Himmelman played the Folks Festival he found himself stretching microphone cables from the main stage, over the poser pit, out onto distant tarps to share his spontaneous songwriting with its festivarian inspirations. We're thrilled to welcome Peter back to the Folks Festival for another unforgettable, thoroughly unique performance under the Lyons sun.
For fifteen years Over the Rhine has been building an intensely devoted following for vocalist Karin Bergquist's torchy, devil-may-care voice. There’s a life-and-death commitment dripping from her every word. This August they'll make their Planet Bluegrass debut on the Folks stage.
These new artists join a Folks Fest lineup that already includes Rufus Wainwright, Susan Tedeschi, Brett Dennen, Madeleine Peyroux and many more along the St. Vrain River in Lyons. We're not finished, look for more major lineup additions in the coming weeks.
Tickets and camping — including the coveted on-site campground — are available now at shop.bluegrass.com or 800-624-2422. Single-day tickets will go on sale in a few weeks, with the single-day lineup announcement.
Both Peter Himmelman and Over the Rhine's Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist will be among the faculty teaching at this year's Song School (Aug 9-13). Just a handful of spots remain to spend the week focused on songwriting craft and inspiration.
Tonight (May 7), the St. Vrain will be transformed into the Seine River meandering under the near-full-moon through the cafes and jazz clubs of 1930s Paris, as we welcome the passionate gypsy jazz of the John Jorgenson Quintet. Not since Mark O'Connor's Hot Swing Trio played RockyGrass five years ago, has a gypsy jazz group of this caliber played in Lyons. This is a rare treat to enjoy this romantic, invigorating music in the intimate setting of the Wildflower Pavilion. (Check out their live set on NPR's Mountain Stage, watch this video, or catch them on Denver's KUVO today at 3pm).
If you haven't made it out to Planet Bluegrass yet this spring, you have just two more chances: tonight's John Jorgenson Quintet show (May 7) or an evening of contemporary bluegrass next Friday (May 15) with Cadillac Sky. These relaxed indoor shows feature beer and wine, bonfires by the river, free and convenient parking on the Ranch (here's a map), and one of the best sounding rooms on the Front Range.
Tickets are available now at shop.bluegrass.com or 303-823-0848. Or purchase tickets at the door (cash-only) beginning at 7pm. The music starts right at 8pm.
Saturday tickets for the 37th Annual RockyGrass (July 24-26) may be sold-out, but it's still possible to join us for Saturday (along with Friday and Sunday) by grabbing one of the few remaining three-day passes. None of the RockyGrass tickets will be around much longer, so now's the time to make firm plans to join us in July. If you don't, some other bluegrass die-hard certainly will.
Earl Scruggs, Hot Rize, Del McCoury Band, Steve Earle & the Bluegrass Dukes, Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, "TBA", and many others will be pickin' from dawn 'til late into the night for three remarkable days of music along the St. Vrain in Lyons. Camping is still available at Meadow Park and Olson.
Finally, congratulations to Anne and Pete Sibley for winning the Prairie Home Companion "Great American Duet Sing-Off" several weeks ago (listen now). Their stirringly pure harmonies will grace the RockyGrass stage on Friday morning. We can't wait.
The Folks on Planet Bluegrass