As citizens around the world celebrate this glorious time of American renewal, we find ourselves immersed in history and in hope. It warms our souls; it cultivates community and inspires service. As we look toward June - and the 36th renewal of our festivarian nation - we can't help but feel that the Telluride air will be even more fresh and welcoming; that we will experience the music and the mountains and the magic of Telluride Bluegrass (June 18-21), differently.
We've already told you this will be Jerry Douglas's 25th Telluride Bluegrass. Now, with the release of the preliminary festival lineup, we can tell you more about the artists who will be joining him for the summer solstice...
The endlessly fascinating, always adventurous singer-songwriter Elvis Costello will join Jerry and other acoustic all-stars for a historic set of bluegrass-influenced music. A frequent collaborator of Elvis, Emmylou Harris, returns to Telluride, a year after her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Yonder Mountain String Band celebrate their tenth consecutive year of kickin' up dust for the Telluride kinfolk. Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile return to their roots for an only-in-Telluride traditional set dubbed "Punch Brothers Play & Sing Bluegrass." Railroad Earth return to the festival that helped launch their career eight years ago. The gritty Australian star Kasey Chambers, hilarious hippie Todd Snider, and one of our favorite new discoveries the Zac Brown Band fill the valley with their songs and stories.
All weekend long we will share in acoustic adventures and colorful collaborations. Tim O'Brien and Jerry Douglas provide Thursday morning's convocation. The King of Telluride, Sam Bush, will amaze once again - on his 35th Anniversary! - as he finds a way to outdo last year's bluegrass-ified "Maneater." The many artists who have defined the Telluride sound - including John Cowan, Peter Rowan, and Béla Fleck - return for their annual addresses to the festivarian nation. And the Telluride House Band - Sam, Jerry, Béla, Edgar Meyer, Bryan Sutton - cap the weekend with virtuosity and uncommon grace.
From the gospel music of Mike Farris (2008 Americana Emerging Artist of the Year), to the international stringband The Greencards, to the soulful bluegrass of The Steeldrivers and Blue Canyon Boys, we explore the Telluride trails with the next generation of Americana music. Check out the complete lineup at bluegrass.com. But remember, we're far from done. Look for numerous major lineup additions in the coming weeks, as well as the NightGrass schedule later this winter.
Tickets and camping - including the High School campground in the town of Telluride - are available now. We still have a very limited number of holiday-priced 4-day passes ($30 discount), but we expect our allotment of discounted tickets to sell-out before the end of the month. Order yours now at bluegrass.com or 800-624-2422.
Want to become more involved with the Planet Bluegrass festivals? We are now accepting volunteers for all our 2009 festivals. Volunteering is a great way to become a part of our community and help us spread joy throughout Telluride and Lyons.
In the spirit of sustainable festivation, a group of dedicated festivarians are organizing an eight week bike tour around Colorado and Wyoming, with stops at Telluride Bluegrass and RockyGrass. To learn more about their Heart of the Mountains Bluegrass Bicycle Tour, and how you can join in, contact Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more at the Festivarian Forum.
In case you missed it amongst your holiday excitement, our 2008 holiday video highlights many of our favorite performances from last summer. We're proud to be able to share it with festivarians around the world (for free) at bluegrass.com.
Don't forget that discount tickets are also now available for the 19th Annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival (August 14-16) - we'll have a preliminary lineup in a few weeks. If you haven't bought your tickets for RockyGrass (July 24-26), you should probably start thinking about it. Demand for those has never been higher.
Next time you're at your local bookseller, check out the current issue of the Fretboard Journal. It features a gorgeous article about the 35 years of Telluride Bluegrass. The extensive twenty-page piece includes historic photos of Johnny Cash, Hot Rize, Bill Monroe and interviews with numerous festival artists.
Help out a fellow festivarian by reminding them that the discount prices for Telluride Bluegrass will be running out soon. We are living in exciting times. We can't wait to share them with everyone this summer.