Here in Colorado the arrival of the Spring rains signals impending green, blooming wildflowers, rising rivers, and... the countdown to our Summer Solstice gathering of Festivarian nation in Telluride. With just over a month until the 42nd Telluride Bluegrass, we have lots of news to share. So turn up some new music from Punch Brothers, the Scottish trio Lau, or Jason Isbell (one of the headliners at the historic 25th Annual Folks Festival in Lyons this August). It's time to begin your packing list for Telluride.
For the 7th consecutive year, we invite you to board the free gondola from Telluride to Mountain Village on the eve of the festival, Wednesday, June 17, for the free FirstGrass Concert. This year we're excited to present the string-infused quintet Fruition (whose only other TBF set is a sold-out NightGrass) followed by Grammy-winner (and recent Americana Music Awards "Artist of the Year" and "Album of the Year" nominee) Rhiannon Giddens and her band. Music starts at 5pm at the gorgeous Sunset Plaza in Mountain Village, with its spectacular views over the mesas to the west.
It's not too late to join us for the 42nd Telluride Bluegrass (June 18-21). We've recently released some additional Thursday and Sunday single-day tickets. And due to exceptional camping demand, we're now allowing single-day ticket holders to purchase camping passes for the Mary E campground, along the river in the Ilium valley. As well, for 4-day pass holders, camping is still available in the family-friendly Telluride High School campground.
As you organize your packing list for Telluride, think about how your campsite might compete in this year's Leave No Trace Campsite Challenge. Last year's winners -- Camp Blow-It-Out and Camp BoBCO -- both received free 4-day passes and camping by inspiring fellow campers through their cleanliness, sustainability, and creativity. Learn more and begin your planning now. Entry forms are easy to complete at the Leave No Trace booth during the festival.
Congratulations to this year's Telluride Troubadour finalists. These 10 talented songwriters will be performing throughout Telluride during the festival, including Elks Park, main stage 'tweeners, and a special main stage set on Saturday evening following the awarding of a new Shanti guitar to the winning Troubadour.
In the upcoming week watch our Facebook for the complete main stage schedule and the announcement of this year's festival MC, as well as tips to help you prepare for your journey to Telluride as a Sustainable Festivarian. Keep your copy of Forty Years of Festivation by the nightstand; it pairs well with this upcoming month of Telluride dreams.
Twenty-five years ago we commemorated the 1st Annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Estes Park with a painting of a single Colorado Columbine. In the ensuing 25 years, the Folks Festival has relocated to Lyons, survived a historic flood, and brought joy and inspiration to thousands of Festivarians. So for this year's silver anniversary artwork (unveiled today on Facebook), Lyons artist Diane Dandeneau has beautifully painted a single Lyons sunflower, nodding to the festival's history, resilience, and enduring home in Lyons.
The lineup for this historic 25th Annual Folks Festival (August 14-16) brings together many of the world's most powerful songwriters from all genres, including Gillian Welch, Sufjan Stevens, Mary Chapin Carpenter & Shawn Colvin, Richard Thompson, Jason Isbell, Kasey Chambers, The Wood Brothers, Shane Koyczan & The Short Story Long, and many more for 3 magical days of songs, stories and summertime.
Three-day passes, single-day tickets, and camping (in 3 different campgrounds along the St. Vrain River) are all still available at shop.bluegrass.com or 800-624-2422. Be warned: single-day tickets continue to sell at a record pace.
Aspiring songwriters still have several weeks to submit music for our Songwriter Showcase. We'll continue accepting submissions through June 5. Then our committee of music professionals will carefully listen to all the entries to select the 10 finalists who will perform Friday on the Folks Festival main stage. We'd love to hear from you!
Red Knuckle & the Trailblazers continue to marvel at their newfound RockyGrass headliner status. In their latest "insider" video, Trailblazer Waldo Otto visits with Nick Forster to talk about Hot Rize's role in this landmark set closing the 43rd Annual RockyGrass (July 24-26).
The RockyGrass Academy sold-out via the online lottery in November, but last Tuesday we released several additional RockyGrass Academy spots via the Returned Ticket Resale -- including spaces in the banjo and bass classes. Have a look at shop.bluegrass.com.
We also just announced that Allie Kral (now a full-time member of Yonder Mountain String Band!) will be joining the fiddle faculty at this year's Academy. Allie joins a stellar team of instructors that includes the Infamous Stringdusters, Kruger Brothers, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, and many others, all helping us evoke bluegrass's ancient tones in the days leading up to the sold-out RockyGrass Festival in Lyons.
Finally, spaces are still available in all 5 of the RockyGrass instrument contests, where pickers compete in the Wildflower Pavilion and on the main stage for cash and gorgeous new instruments. Spring is the perfect time to commit to woodshedding on some contest tunes. Put your name in the hat right now at shop.bluegrass.com.
The countdown to summer festival magic has begun. It's a great time to be on Planet Bluegrass. We hope you're able to join us.
The Folks on Planet Bluegrass