As I said in an earlier post, Telluride Bluegrass Festival is the benchmark on how to throw a music party. Yes, it doesn’t hurt that the surroundings are majestic and the weather idyllic, but it’s still a feat to implant perma-grins on 11,000 faces year after year.
I’ll admit I’m not a uber bluegrass aficionado, but that’s the beauty of TBF, it’s not only kid friendly it’s rookie friendly. To the point, if you want to take a break from the main grounds you can amble three blocks into town and sit in on various workshops and seminars at tiny, tiny Elk’s park stage, or even buy Bela Fleck a burrito and pick his brain and banjo when you see him at the taqueria outside the Fly Me To The Moon Saloon. Either way, bring your sunscreen, keep your ears open, and you can’t help but enjoy yourself.
Here are some of my scribbled notes and general musings from four days of bluegrass bliss:
Tony Rice with Dan Tyminski of Union Station laying down a gorgeous cover of Gershwin’s “Summertime” after the first day of summer.
The light; slant light, golden hues, “friscalating dusklight”, diamond clarity everywhere at all hours. I swear there are seventeen types of green and thirty two shades of blue only to be found within in San Miguel County
Jagermeister shots from the Last Dollar Saloon or “The Buck” shots are at altitude can do severe damage to the frontal lobe.
Los Lobos getting their bluegrass on with extra hot sauce.
Guster’s Ryan Miller telling me “a) this is by far the most beautiful place we’ve ever played, and b) this has the most concentration of facial hair per capita of any place we’ve ever played”
Crowds “busting” through the PINK STRING barrier during Yonder Mountain Sting Band was the funniest and tamest stage rush I have witnessed.
Western Prop Town
The town’s junior hockey team is called the Lizard Heads, which comes from the name of a nearby pass over the Continental Divide. The pass is also at the top of scenic drive worthy of a trip all it its own.
Watching four year old kids and their great grandmother’s hula hoping and juggling in the red clay play pen off the main stage formally known as True Love’s Dance Hall.
Watching my three year old’s face light up at seeing the Monsters from Where the Wild Things are greet him after he walks over the little wooden bridge into the town park.
Peter Rowan, Emmylou Harris and Ron Block at a songwriting workshop discussing “Midnight Moonlight” perhaps my favorite bluegrass tune, and then hearing it live , echoing off the mountain while descending Bear Creek trail after standing in the spray of six story waterfall. I swear I think I started skipping.
Taking my kids to the front row to watch Bela Fleck and Jerry Douglas square off on alternating leads, and watching their little draws agape in wonderment.
Having the glacier green San Miguel lull us to sleep everynight.
Watching my friends turn their lawn chairs from facing the mainstage to the mounatins so they can watch the view instead.
Sam Bush with Steve Berlin, Saxophonist from Los Lobos on Bob Marley’s “Jammin” at a Saturday night sunset into my favorite Stevie Wonder tune, “Master Blaster (Jammin’)”. As usual the lyrics capture it better than any scribe…
Everyone's feeling pretty
It's hotter than July
Though the world's full of problems
They couldn't touch us even if they tried
From the park I hear rhythms
Marley's hot on the box
Tonight there will be a party
On the corner at the end of the block
Didn't know you
Would be jammin' until the break of dawn
I bet nobody ever told you that you
would be jammin' until the break of dawn
You would be jammin' and jammin' and jammin', jam on
Sam Bush knows how to throw a party.
This was the last thing I scribbled before the sun went down, and I started dancing.
Warning: In the future, if anyone plans a wedding, 40th Birthday, Bat Mitzvah, Family Reunion or funeral the third weekend in June I have other plans.
Special Thanks to Craig Ferguson, Brian Eyster (pictured below) Julie Rakotz, and Joe Chisholm for throwing just a good time.