The Rockies: Telluride Bluegrass Festival!

We awoke to frost. I felt frosty and headed to the coffee shop for some heat (and coffee). Dave huddled in line waiting for a good number. I must say, after 40 festivals, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival has got this event running like clock work.

Cars are stopped at the town entrance and directed to parking areas. Volunteers man the entrance of the campgrounds. No one can get in without a wristband. Volunteers man the high school locker rooms. They charge $4 for a shower and the money is used to support their sports. Volunteers hand out the numbers to those waiting in line. Arriving around 6am earns a number around 250 which is handed in when the gates open, today at 9am. To keep the line moving, bags are checked between the numbers being doled out and the gates opening.

Once the tarp run is complete, everyone else may enter. Bags are checked individually as are wristbands. The volunteers give the bands a little tug to make sure they haven’t been cut. Glass, dogs, and alcohol are not allowed into the festival, but just about everything else is fair game. The grassy field is lined with food and shopping vendors, including a free hydration station. Most meals were around $8-10, not too bad, and the beer after purchasing the $10 cup was only $4 a glass, quite a bargain compared to most concerts I’ve been too! There was also a cell phone charging station at the festival and several makeshift ones at the high school and campgrounds.

For those who couldn’t or didn’t want to get a ticket to the festival for all four days, there were several workshop events at Elk’s Park available for free. These events were extremely quaint and nice. Our group bounced between Elk’s Park near town center and the festival at Town Park. We also took retreat from the sun at camp. It is amazing how hot 62 degrees is in the mountain sun and how cold 62 degrees is at night. Nothing like needing a bathing suit top and a parka in the same day.

According to the experts, Ashley and Dave, must see’s were Jason Isbell at 2:15 and Bela Fleck with the Colorado Symphony at 6. A pleasant surprise (and new favorite I think) was Dave Rawlings Machine who played in between Bela Fleck and Steve Winwood. Dave and I had gone back to camp (probably a mile away from the festival) and could hear the crowd go wild at the end of Dave Rawlings Machine. It was pretty cool!

Speaking of a mile away, for a mountain town, Telluride is pretty big. It’s main street, as I mentioned seemed to be a mile long, is peppered with restaurants and shops. Several side streets also include markets and shops and one street is home to the base of the gondola. It was a nice walk back and forth to the festival, but it was also nice to have our bikes and a lot of available bike parking! I’m looking forward to another hike and some more music tomorrow…ETB


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