Telluride Bluegrass veterans insist that part of the festival's charm is its single main stage. Every performer has exactly one opportunity to address the entire Festivarian nation; and Festivarians stake out their tarp spot knowing they'll hear every artist on the day's lineup - no running between noisy overlapping stages, no having to leave midway through a set to hear another artist. It's ingrained in the Telluride experience.
But it's not wholly true. One of the many treasures of Telluride Bluegrass is the intimate Elks Park stage. Sure, this intimate stage right on Colorado Ave (Telluride's main street) showcase "workshops" rather than formal performances, but it has hosted its share of unforgettable only-in-Telluride moments over the years. This year's Elks Park schedule adds to this rich heritage...
Once again Elks Park will host unique collaborations between some of our favorite main stage performers - members of Railroad Earth and Greensky Bluegrass; Crooked Still, The Greencards and "friends."
But we're also treated to some of the artists who are in town just to enjoy the festival - artists who made the trek because for the next week Telluride is the center of the acoustic universe. Abigail Washburn and Sarah Jarosz collaborate on Sunday; KC Groves (of Uncle Earl) plays a set of old-time mountain music with the great Riley Baugus.
Festival headliners stretch out with some of their musical friends: Béla Fleck pursues new musical directions with jazz guitar whiz Julian Lage. Tim O'Brien talks about songwriting with Blue Merle leader Lucas Reynolds. Jim Lauderdale (a member of Elvis Costello's band) collaborates with the John Cowan Band. And much much more...
Not familiar with Elks Park? These are free, informal sessions open to the general public (here's a map). Most "workshops" will entertain a few questions; few have a prepared setlist or structure. Bring a blanket and hang out for a few minutes or a few hours. It's one of the many treasures that makes Telluride Bluegrass so unforgettable.
We're only a week away from the 36th Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 18-21), but it's not too late to make your plans to join Sam Bush, Emmylou Harris, Conor Oberst, Shawn Colvin, Jerry Douglas, Elvis Costello, David Byrne, YMSB, and many others for the summer solstice in the San Juan Mountains.
Tickets (single-day and four-day passes) are still available, as is camping at the beautiful Mary E campground in the Ilium Valley. Order online at shop.bluegrass.com or call us at 800-624-2422. While you're ordering pickup tickets to a NightGrass show or a matinee screening of Bela Fleck's film Throw Down Your Heart. As always, we charge no handling fees on any tickets.
If you're planning to camp, download our camper's handbook (1MB PDF file) - it'll answer all your camping questions (even the ones you didn't know you had) before you get to Telluride.
Our official lodging sponsor, Telluride Reservations Center, has information about fresh lodging availabilities. Let their friendly, knowledgeable reservation specialists help you plan your perfect festival experience - hotels, condos, and private homes are now available. Visit www.telluride.com or call them at 877-443-1843.
If you're thinking about bringing the whole family to Telluride — you should, kids 12 and under are free and guaranteed to have a ball — check out the 2009 Family Tent schedule. All day during the festival the family area presents arts and crafts, magic, juggling, concerts, performances from the Living Folklore clowns, and more. The family activities culminates in the children's parade through the festival grounds on Sunday afternoon, a colorful Telluride tradition.
Struggling to get through these last few days before Telluride? Listen to Béla Fleck live last week on NPR's World Cafe. Read David Byrne's eloquent advocacy for bike commuting in the New York Times. Watch Elvis Costello live on David Letterman with members of The Sugarcanes. Head over to the Festivarian Forum to share your Telluride haiku's, favorite artists, or general "festivipation" issues. Or invite a friend to experience Telluride Bluegrass for the first time - they'll thank you for years to come.
As we mentioned in our last Notes from the Planet, we're celebrating sustainable festivarians like you this year with our new Eco-Punchcard. This punchcard will be a detachable part of our new pocket schedule (a free pocket-sized festival guide, available in addition to the full-size 52-page festival program).
By completing at least half of the 13 Eco-Punchcard items, you'll be eligible to win a 15-day vacation for two from Intrepid Travel. The list of possible trips includes: Egypt Explorer, Unforgettable India, Northern Thailand, The Road to Budapest, or Mexico Unplugged.
You can complete 4 of the Eco-Punchcard items before you've even reached Telluride. Here's the complete list...
1) Home - Adjust your thermostat, unplug power strips, turn off lights.
2) Precycle - Pack in reusable containers, shop to minimize waste.
3) Toolkit - Pack your water bottle, bag, utensils, beer cup, sturdy chair.
4) Transportation - Carpool, use public transportation, drive a hybrid or bio-diesel.
5) Waste - Recycle and compost inside the festival.
6) Camping - Compost at your campsite with free Eco-Products BioBags.
7) Micro-Trash - Drop off a bag of cigarette-sized waste at TNCC booth.
8) Bicycle - Join or re-commit to Team Wonderbike at the New Belgium booth.
9) Wind - Get home wind power info from Renewable Choice Energy.
10) Solar - Learn about home solar systems from Sunsense Solar.
11) Travel - Visit Intrepid to learn about carbon offset trips.
12) Pledge - Commit to a greener lifestyle with Clif Bar's "Pledge to the Planet".
13) Nourish - Go for a hike, make new friends, howl at the moon.
Get started right now by packing your reusable "festivarian toolkit" items (utensils, vintage beer cup, water bottle); thinking "precycle" as you avid disposable containers and wrappers in your packing; and making a note to prep your home by turning off your air conditioning and disconnecting your power strips before you leave for Telluride.
We can help you with Eco-Punch #4: carpool. Checkout the Hitching a Ride board at www.festivarian.com, whether you're coming from Denver, Arizona, or further away.
As a sustainable festivarian, you're probably already doing many of these things. So challenge yourself: be the first in your festivarian family to check-off all 13 items.
We can't wait to see you next week in Telluride. Don't forget: the music starts at 3pm on Wednesday (June 17) at the FirstGrass Concert in Mountain Village with The Greencards and The Lovell Sisters. Gather a few Festivarian friends (forward this email) and hop on the gondola for a free afternoon of music at Sunset Plaza in Mountain Village. We'll see you there.
The folks on Planet Bluegrass