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Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Telluride Bluegrass FestivalThe Telluride Bluegrass Festival has been one of the nation's most progressive bluegrass festivals for over thirty years, and it began in 1974. Although bluegrass music is its main focus, other genres of music have found their way into the festival. These include pop, country, jazz, celtic, and rock. Set in one of the country's most magnificent locations, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival makes its home in the San Juan Valley. Those attending the festival, are fondly referred to as festivarians. Because the festivarians are such a loyal group, many of them make the event a yearly vacation.

Enjoying approximately 10,000 visitors each day, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival has, throughout the years, hosted musical acts such as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tim O'Brien, Jerry Douglas, Emmylou Harris and Tony John Cowan. Because of the spectacular lineup's, the festival typically sells out earlier and earlier each year. The band, Fall Creek, started the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which was held in 1974 as an Independence Day celebration. Although it didn't attract as many "festivarian" as it does today, the festival attracted about 1,000 spectators. By the time the 6th annual Telluride Blugrass Festival rolled around, it became so popular that two CDs resulted from it. In addition, the event was picked up by the public television station in Boulder.

The founding members of the festival who played in the band The Fall Creek Boys include musicians J.B. Matiotti, Fred Shellman, John Herndon and Kooster McAllister. The first festival was born out of 4th of July day celebration that had roots steeped into early mining days. It was then that the Telluride miners would travel to the valley to gather and party, eat, dance and race horses. A group of men including Davy Greever, Scott Brown, Ralph Parker, Burk Thompson and George Greenbank built a stage that was made for dancing, listening to music, eating and drinking. That concession stand still stands there today and is as popular now as it was during its early inception.

The Allman Brothers Band, Johnny Cash, the Dixie Chicks and Robert Plant are also among the notable performers who appeared at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. The Telluride house band is a very popular act and includes Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas and Bryan Sutton. Instruments featured in the band include the guitar, the upright bass, the fiddle, the dobro, mandolin and banjo. Other Telluride activities that coincide with the Bluegrass Festival include the Telluride Farmer's Market, the Ride the Gondola event, the Kickoff Party and the "Hike."

Since the weather in Telluride can be unpredictable, it is wise to come prepared. Those attending the festival should bring a rain jacket, hiking boots, sandals, a festival hat and sunscreen. Although the temperatures in the daytime are typically mild, they can dip into the 40's late at night.