Telluride House Band (photo: Benko Photographics)
Telluride House Band
(photo Benko Photographics)

The annual Festivarian pilgrimage to 8,750' in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado has begun! The 41st Annual Telluride Bluegrass is upon us for 4 days of community, inspiration, and unbridled acoustic adventures -- June 19-22, 2014...

The Summer Solstice...

The 41st Annual Telluride Bluegrass coincides with the Summer Solstice -- the longest day of the year which begins the Colorado summer. It's a magical time of sun and light, when the the high country of Colorado puts away its skis and grabs hiking boots, guitars, and a low-back festival chair to take in "Bluegrass."

Elks Park stage (photo: Benko Photographics)
Elks Park stage
(photo Benko Photographics)

The 41st Annual festival promises a magical four days of only-in-Telluride performances. Beloved Festival veterans and inspiring new talent. The Telluride royalty of virtuosic bluegrass superpickers, soulful songwriters, and some of the biggest stars in the rootsy Americana landscape.

The festival is built around the many artists that have defined the Telluride Bluegrass sound, as the weekend is sprinkled with inspired sets from Peter Rowan, Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile, Tim O'Brien, and of course the "King of Telluride" Sam Bush. These artists come together for the festival's epic set from the Telluride House Band.

Since its very beginning, the festival has embraced a wide swath of roots music to create the unique genre of "Telluride Bluegrass." Recent lineups have welcomed Robert Plant, Mumford & Sons, The Decemberists, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, David Byrne, Ani DiFranco, Lyle Lovett, Ryan Adams, Counting Crows, Bonnie Raitt, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, and so many more.

Yonder Mtn String Band on the Telluride stage (photo: Benko Photographics)
Yonder Mtn String Band on the Telluride stage
(photo Benko Photographics)

The Bluegrass Festival...

Performers say there is a unique thrill to performing in front of the smartest, most attentive audience in the country. Artists are encouraged to take risks in Telluride, and the Festivarian audience is regularly rewarded with unique blends of voices sharing the stage for the first time - as new musical friendships cultivated backstage make their debut on the Telluride stage.

With music on the main stage all day, intimate workshops on the Elks Park stage in the middle of town, prestigious band and songwriting contests, late-night Nightgrass concerts at every indoor venue in town, and jam sessions throughout the night in condos and around campgrounds, this is a week of uncommon musical riches.

Festivarians...

Telluride festivarian
Telluride Festivarian
(photo Tory Williams)

The voices of Telluride Bluegrass are also the voices of festivarians, many of whom have been finding their way back year after year for twenty or more years. Today, children raised on Telluride Bluegrass return to introduce their own children to the festivarian experience.

“I feel like I grew up with the festival. It’s like a big family that welcomed me in.”
—Béla Fleck
“It’s so ridiculous to just be in that valley, to look at those mountains. It’s inspiring and humbling to everyone.”
—Mike Marshall

Cherished friendships, informed by music and inspiration, reunite every summer in the Town Park campground. New friendships are created as festivarians choose their tarp spot every morning to the sound of bagpipes echoing off the jagged peaks overhead.

Listen to the mayor of Town Park, Telluride Tom, talk about the festivarian experience on Colorado Matters and join the year-round community in our Festivarian Forum, where there's an active thread right now about Festivarians' favorite Telluride memories.

Telluride...

Nestled in the rugged San Juan Mountains and surrounded on three sides by the natural architecture of the Telluride Box Canyon, Telluride is arguably the most spectacular town in the American West.

Planet Bluegrass flood
Bela Fleck on the Telluride Stage
(photo Benko Photographics)

Founded in 1875, the Victorian charm of the town is protected as a National Historic Landmark District. The town of Telluride (elevation 8,750') is connected to the modern resort community of Mountain Village (elevation 9,450') via a free commuter gondola.

The San Juan Mountains are the highest concentration of 14,000 mountains in the US. Activities in and around Telluride include mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, numerous hot springs, historic ghost towns, and whatever else your sense of adventure shows you. Popular hikes from town are the Bridal Veil Falls - the highest cascade in Colorado - and the 2-mile hike up to Bear Creek Falls beginning right behind the festival stage.

Make sure you're signed up for our email newsletter for all the latest festival updates. And follow us on Facebook for more regular inspiration from Planet Bluegrass.