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With record snowfall, comes great waterfalls. Such is a timeless proverb in these here parts - or maybe we just made it up. Either way, one thing is for certain...we sure are fortunate to be here in Telluride with our Festivarian community, ringing in our 46th Summer solstice together. Welcome to the valley, friends! As you take in the lush green surroundings and the early-season wildflowers just poking their heads up, please remember to tread lightly. Fill your reusable with free, locally-filtered water, your pockets with micro-trash, and your hearts with the beautiful music that’s lured us all here together. This year, we’ve crafted a festival experience designed to get you off your tarp and engaging with your surroundings and fellow Festivarians. Play the Scavenger Hunt for a chance to win $500 of Kelty camping gear (details on page 6). Get your flow on at free morning yoga (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7:30am in front of the main stage). And toast a delicious Avery Festival Lager with your camp neighbor, your new tarp buddies, or the folks in line behind you for Sisters’ Dumplings. Whether this is your first Bluegrass or your 45th (we’re looking at you, Sammy!), we’re grateful you’ve found your way to this picturesque canyon. Tilt your face toward the sun (don’t forget the sunscreen!) and listen to Bela’s banjo reverberate off the box canyon walls. Savor each moment spent in this idyllic valley surrounded by special folks. Festivarians, we are so glad you’re here.

Love, The Folks on Planet Bluegrass Festival Director: Craig Ferguson Assistant Festival Director: Steve Szymanski Festival Manager: Shauna Nashak Box Office Manager: Geoff Wickersham Festival Grounds Supervisor: Rich Estes Operations Crew: Sean Flynn, Zach Tucker, Tony King, James Hinker, Aaron Kilian, Jordan Bushouse, Griffin Ferguson & Ryan Kean Sustainable Festivation Supervisors: Walter Wright & Tyler Simmons Festival Waste Crew: Alex George & Andrew Kolberg Chief of Security: John Cohn Security Supervisors: Frank Hensen & Joe Piche Crowd Management: Damion Alexander, Jana Alexander, Josh Blakeman, Jake Cohn, Jonathan Greenspan, Rachael Hensen, Alex Laney, Abe Millar, Degrey Phillips, Consuelo Reyes, Arthur Sowinski, Tina Tharpe, Andrew Tokarz, Kevin White & Megan White Customs Gate Supervisors: Franny Cohn, Debby Guarino, Ruth Hensen, Carol Lee, & Erin Thompson TP Camp Gate Supervisors: Marilyn Branch & Larry Stewart

Pedestrian Bridge Supervisors: Calvin Poon & Shawn Hansen Backstage Security Supervisor: Tara Doran Pit Master: Hunt Worth Overnight Security: Shawn Williams, Gary Broughall & Drew Meeker Camping Supervisor: Kathleen Morgan Town Park Campground Hosts: Toni Norris & Tucker Lane Warner Field Campground Hosts: Aaron, Carole & Randy Reece Lawson Hill Campground Hosts: Michelle Foote, Adriana Galue, Berlinnetta Baumer, David Carter & Fawnda Rogers Mary E Campground Hosts: James Addoms, Aaron Cooklin, Amy Hardy & Jordan Neilson Valley E-Team Supervisor: Steve Green Parking Supervisor: Dennis Green Vehicle Gate Supervisors: Monica Carey, Ed Janus, Kristin Milord & Mary Alice Wagner Lodging Coordinator: Denise Mongan Backstage Hospitality/Artist Supervisor: Amy Mendonca Backstage Hospitality: Hanna Ferguson, Meghan LeClair & Faith McKenna Backstage Catering Supervisor: Markus Chesla

Artist Transportation Supervisor: Ed Kean Box Office Supervisors: Laura Larson, Jasmine Lok, Jelena Caplan, Nichole Elmore & Bill Carlson Volunteer Supervisor: Allison Grimes Media Relations: Brian Eyster Sponsor Relations & Social Media: Alannah Rudd Social Media and Sustainability: Madison Watson Concessions Supervisors: Jill Brzezicki, Bethel Steele, & Michael Cohon Communications Supervisors: Luci Reeve, Sandy McLaughlin & Jim Bedford Country Store Supervisors: Patrick O’Kelly & Dustin Boyd Artist Consignment Supervisor: Kara O’Kelly Family Tent Supervisor: Melissa Sumpter Harris Sponsor Tent/Greentown Supervisors: Wendy McFarland & Suzanne Teele Contest Supervisor: Charlie Bailey Elks Park Workshop Supervisors: Edee Gail & BJ Suter Elks Park Workshop Sound: Dean Rolley, Alan Bradley & Vicki Phelps

Elks Park Workshop Transportation: Tom & Nancy Richards Stage Design: Kahlie Pinello Park Beautification: Claudia Kean Libation Station Supervisors: Pam Bennett, Scott Kelley, Ashley Story & Dennis Andrejko NightGrass Supervisor: Daniel Mullan 2019 Poster Artist: Bruce White Master of Ceremonies: Chris Daniels

Stage Crew

Stage Manager: Skip Kent FOH Engineer: Simon Welch Monitor Engineer: Mike Bove Backstage Manager: John Setser FOH/Stage: Garth Michael Lighting Director: Dave Hall Lights: Peter Temmen Audio: Mark Miceli Patch/Stage: Mark Dennis Monitors/Stage: Brent Healy Stage Lead: Ric Teller Stage: Mark Altomare, Melissa Britton, Justin Milner & Rhett Snyder Labor/Spots: Tim Territo Spots: Tom Wirth Sound: Firehouse Productions Lights: ILIOS Lighting Design Backline: Harry Backline, LLC

Meet someone who has attended more than 10 TBFs.

Program Staff

Design & Layout: Pat Creyts Editors: Brian Eyster, Steve Szymanski Contributing Writers: Chris Aaland, Charlotte Bell, Steve Leftridge, Dan Sadowsky, Madison Watson Advertising: Alannah Rudd & Madison Watson Photography: Benko Photographics, NoCoast Printing: Matt Coburn, OneTouchPoint Cover Artwork: Bruce White

Thanks To Our Festival Partners

Avery Brewing Company, Allegro Coffee, Canyon, Eco-Products, Eldorado Natural Spring Water, Guayakí Yerba Mate, KEEN, Kelty, Klean Kanteen, Martin Guitars, Meier Skis, Nechville Banjos, Open Water, Red Bird, Shanti Guitars, Sierra Sage/Green Goo, Sopris Health & Wellness, Sunsense Solar, Taylor Guitars, Telluride Alpine Lodging, Telluride Express & Zeal Optics

Planet Bluegrass Year-Round Staff

President & Gentleman Farmer: Craig Ferguson Senior Vice-President: Steve Szymanski Vice-President of Operations: Shauna Nashak Vice-President of Communications: Brian Eyster Director of Awesome: Laura Larson Director of Marketing & Sponsorships: Alannah Rudd Director of Sustainability: Madison Watson Director of Operations: Zach Tucker Merchandise & Festivarian Relations: Dustin Boyd Ticketing & Festivarian Relations: Geoff Wickersham Volunteer Coordinator: Allison Grimes Property Rentals & Artist Relations: Amy Mendonca Ranch Crew: Jelena Caplan, Griffin Ferguson, Jeana Johnson, Cindy Kalyan, Ty LaFollette, Wyatt LaFollette, and Savannah Watson

Planet Bluegrass Would Like To Thank..

The Town of Telluride with a special thanks to Stephanie Jaquet, the US Forest Service, the Town of Mountain Village, San Miguel County, Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association, Lawson Hill Property Owners and the Telluride School District

GET AN AUTOGRAPH: from your new friend





*Offer ends at X0:00 PM on June 23rd, 2019. Offer limited to stock on hand. Excludes gift cards and Newport Revival. Offer not valid with any other promo codes or coupons, or with pro orders. Offer valid at Keen tent only.

Pick up a new Klean Kanteen reusable at the Country Store.

SHOW US: your new reusable


As the sounds of the Bluegrass Festival emerge again in Telluride, an amazingly unique perspective of the festival grounds emerges from the rich summer greens of the surrounding valley. The inspiration for this year’s artwork... the mandolin shape that the festival transforms into, when viewed from the nearby peak. Visually, the composition created itself—and only the execution would present a challenge. Illustrate the piece too subtly, and few would recognize the instrument. Exaggerate the profile of the mandolin, and you lose the natural sense of belonging that this festival has with the Telluride landscape! I hope this piece is as intriguing for the art and festival lovers, as it was for me to create!

—Bruce White 4

Take a hike and enjoy Telluride’s beauty. Pick up any trash you see!

TAKE A PHOTO: of your hike

In past years, we’ve featured crossword puzzles and punch cards as our annual “Eco-Puzzle” challenges. This year, we’re shaking it up a bit! In the spirit of our APP (Active Present Participation), we’re introducing an even more engaging puzzle: a scavenger hunt! Earn prizes by getting off your tarp, shaking hands with your fellow Festivarians, and exploring the festival and the Town of Telluride. Throughout this printed program, you’ll find scavenger hunt items symbol), along at the bottom of each page (denoted by the with a point value (10, 15, or 20 points). Your mission is to collect 100 points by running around town, interacting with our festival

partners, and making new friends. We’ve also listed the way to prove that you’ve completed each scavenger hunt item. Bring us symbols) back the proof (denoted by the and we’ll hand over the points!

1. Grab a pocket schedule from the box office and tear off the last page—this is the scorecard to track all your completed tasks. 2. Scour the page footers in the program for activities to be completed and instructions for how to prove you’ve finished the task. 3. Complete as many scavenger hunt items as you need to reach 100 points. 4. When you’ve reached 100 points, bring your card (along with photos and other scavenger items) to the Sustainable Festivation booth in Greentown. (We’ll stop scoring each card at 100 points, so suppress your urge to overachieve this one time.) 5. From the main stage, we’ll award random prizes throughout the festival and choose grand prize winners on Sunday at 4:45pm.


Telluride Bluegrass skis or snowboard from Meier


Deluxe $500 camping package from Kelty

3 RD PLACE: Zeal Optics plantbased sunglasses


Oh, and one more thing: it’s not a requirement, but if you want to share your favorite photos with us for future social media fame, email them to Now, happy hunting! 6

Commit a random act of kindness.

TELL US: what you did

There’s an age-old saying: “anyone who tells you they’ve got it all figured out is lying.” You’ve heard that somewhere, right? Well, the adage is true: we’re all just making it through, one day at a time. At Planet Bluegrass, we’ve been doing the sustainability thing for decades. You’d think we’d be experts by now, right? Not exactly. No, we prefer to approach business with a beginner’s mind. After all, we are still learning as we go. Some projects are easy to pull off (such as this year’s new individual offsets program offered by


Some of you have probably heard about the fancy dishwashing station we set up at our Lyons festivals. If you haven’t, come up and see it in action at RockyGrass or Folks Fest! We set out on a mission to eliminate our reliance on single-use products, so we invested in a reusable plate washing system to eradicate single-use plates, bowls, and utensils on the festival grounds. However, this type of endeavor is a bit more complicated in Telluride. For starters, there’s a heck of a lot more people at this festival— two and a half times more, to be exact. It’s harder to coordinate inventory, and certainly a lot more expensive. There’s the issue of transportation: do we store the plates at our home base in Lyons, then truck them down to Telluride? Or do we work with a company that rents dishware to us and we return it after the festival? And maybe most importantly, would we be using too many local resources (read: water is precious!) by drawing from the local plumbing?


the Pinhead Climate Institute at our Sustainable Festivation booth), but others have us stumped. Here are a few of the puzzles that keep us up at night…

We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on diverting organic materials from the landfill. After all, landfills are one of the top generators of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases! But the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy lists composting as just one step “better” than landfilling materials. It cites source reduction (as in, using less) and feeding the hungry (people and animals) as preferable methods to composting. Plus, there is the problem of distance: our closest compost facility is 87 miles away in Austin, Colorado. The vehicles that transport our organic waste have poor fuel efficiency, so where is the tipping point between methane emissions and trucking emissions? Which one is worse? We’re still trying to figure out the math problem.


Last year, we debuted our Plastic Awareness campaign to educate the Festivarian community on the dangers of too much plastic in our environment. This year, we’re focusing on Plastic Reduction. So why are we still serving beer in plastic cups? In our defense, we chose one of the lightest-impact and most highly-recyclable plastics available: #5 or polypropylene. We also serve many cold beverages in sturdy steel pints and premium insulated pints as alternatives to plastic, thanks to our friends at Klean Kanteen. But there are a few reasons we don’t commit fully to metal cups: one, we want to make tasty beverages more accessible to all Festivarians, so we offer the plastic cup as an affordable option; two, metal cups get warm in the sun and we currently don’t have the infrastructure to clean and cool down the cups for a Festivarian-worthy pour; three, steel cups can leave behind a metallic taste—and we don’t want to re-write the Avery recipes. What’s the best solution that eliminates all plastic? We’re still looking for one.

There are no one-size-fits-all answers to some of the eco-challenges we’re facing. What works for us in Lyons is not going to be the same solution in Telluride. This beautiful region is remote and complex, and we have to be sensitive to this festival’s unique needs.

Have an idea or suggestion about how to solve our problems? Give us a shout at! 8

Participate in the KEEN micro-trash contest.

GET AN AUTOGRAPH: from omeone at KEEN

Set-Break Sessions THURSDAY 1:15-1:45 Performance: Stephen Kellogg

Hello Festivarians!


12:45 Eco-nundrums: Steve Szymanski & Madison Watson

As a Colorado-born brewery for over 25 years, we’re excited to be back with the Planet Bluegrass family! We have always sought friends who share our obsession for excellence and quality. Since we last saw you, we have continued our singular focus on creating the perfect beer and perfect beer experience. We heard your feedback and have returned with a wider variety of offerings for all sorts of sippers. Thank you! Not only do we exist to pursue the mastery of beer, but also to please your taste buds! So please enjoy the fruits of our labor and discover what great beer can do to your world. Stop by our booth in Greentown each afternoon for small batch samplings, tap-side chats, and intimate performances with festival artists. Bring on the tunes!

1:00-1:30 Performance: Steve Poltz


Taking Action: Ben Meuser / KEEN

1:15-1:45 Performance: Courtney Hartman

SUNDAY 12:45

Ideas into Local Action: Joanna Kanow

1:00-1:30 Performance: Wood Belly * Show times subject to change


WIN A GUITAR or NIGHTGRASS TICKETS! NIGHTGRASS COLORING CONTEST 21 & up! Grab some crayons, make some art & turn it in. Winners announced every afternoon!



NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Must be 21+ and a legal resident of the U.S. Void where prohibited. Begins on 6/20/19 10pm MST. Ends 6/23/19 4pm MST. Drawing(s) 6/20/19-6/23/19 4pm MST to select 1 winner of tickets per day and drawing on 6/23/19 4pm to select 1 guitar winner. Prize(s) and approximate retail values are as follows: grand prize: Taylor GS Mini Guitar ARV $500.00, each runner-up prize: one pair of NightGrass Tickets. Employees of retailers or distributors of Avery Brewing Company products and their family members and housemates are not eligible to win. Prize(s) depicted for illustrative purposes only. Actual prize(s) may vary. See attendant for details. TAYLOR GUITARS® GS Mini Series and certain of the distinctive details of the guitars are trademarks of Taylor-Listug, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ENJOY AVERY BREWING COMPANY BEERS RESPONSIBLY. Avery Brewing Company® and the A-circle logo are trademarks of Avery Brewing Company. ©2019 AVERY BREWING COMPANY, Boulder, CO 80301.


Never want the music to stop? Hit up Avery’s daily Set-Break Sessions!

TAKE A PHOTO: of the performance

Blending Old World tradition with creativity and boldness, our friends at Avery are excited to share these Colorado ales and lagers. Drink up!

White Rascal

As our flagship beer, we pay tribute to the history and time-honored tradition of the steadfast Belgian Witbier by brewing White Rascal with the same Belgian ingredients used by 15th century brewers from the village of Hoegaarden. White Rascal is unfiltered and cleverly spiced with coriander and Curacao orange peel producing a refreshingly zesty ale. 5.6% ABV

Festival Lager

This light, crisp, and classic American Lager is the perfect companion to long days in the alpine sun and nights spent dancing under the stars. We use Colorado-grown Two-Row barley and Pilsner malts to create this high-quality, clean, and crushable lager. 5.0% ABV

Avery IPA

As the very first packaged IPA in CO, Avery IPA radiates with the crisp, floral, and resinous hoppiness of six different hop varieties, supported by a malty backbone and a dry finish. Look for a fresh and piney body with aromas of juicy citrus, all balanced by the subtle caramelly sweetness of the malts. Hop Freaks Unite! 6.5% ABV

Grapefruit Shandy Rocky Mtn Rosé

This quintessential quencher was a staff favorite at the Tap Room, until someone had the bright idea that we needed it in cans for our coolers! Take a crisp, lively lager, and blend with refreshing organic grapefruit juice to get yourself this traditional, fruity summer slammer perfect for kicking back and beating the heat. 4.7% ABV

Please enjoy this sneak preview of our newest family member, releasing nationally in July. We couldn’t resist sharing this pink, bubbly, crush of an ale with our fellow Festivarians! A refreshing grape and grain hybrid, best served cold, best enjoyed in the mountain air, and best shared with friends, old and new! 4.4% ABV

Ellie’s Brown Ale

As loyal, friendly, and mellow as the furry girl for whom she is named, this beautiful, deep russet brew is dominated by a chocolate and brown sugar maltiness with hints of vanilla and nuts. This smooth, wellbalanced, and quaffable brown ale is an easy going reminder of all our best friends, who are reliable to the end. 5.5% ABV

In addition to our selection of Colorado-brewed Avery beers, we’re pleased to offer several unique and delicious Colorado-inspired cocktails and eco-friendly wines.

Cocktails Bloody Marys

Citrus Tonic with Spirit Hound Gin or Vodka

Wine Ginger Lime Shrub with Spirit Hound Vodka or Gin

Coyote Gold Margaritas

Our Bloody Marys, Gin & Tonics, and Moscow Mules feature hand-crafted vodka or gin from Spirit Hound Distillers. This craft distillery in Lyons uses custom-built distillation equipment to capture all of the purity and flavor of their locally-sourced Colorado ingredients, such as freshly picked juniper berries. Citrus Tonic and Ginger-Lime Shrub are provided by Lost Identity, a boutique crafter of old world beverages in Vail. (For those novice mixologists among us: Shrubs are a blend of fruit, sugar, and vinegar invented during the Colonial Era to preserve fruit long after harvest.) Coyote Gold All Natural Margaritas were invented by a pair of engineers from Fort Collins with a passion for perfectly balanced margaritas. What began as a “kitchen brew,” has been available since 2008 as an authentic, all natural beverage that is free of preservatives, gluten, and artificial flavors & colors.

Drink a tasty beverage out of your reusable cup - extra points if it’s from home!

Yoonit Rosé

Yoonit Chardonnay

Yoonit Sangiovese

Our premium wine selection is provided by YOONIT Wines, an eco-friendly way to serve high quality wines at the Festival. With recyclable packaging and gravity fed dispensers, this local Colorado company has removed the need for glass bottles, kegs and electricity for storage. This year, we welcome two brand new varietals – the Yoonit 2017 Chardonnay from Yolo County, CA, and the Yoonit 2016 Sangiovese from Paso Robles, CA – and welcome back an evening favorite: mulled wine made from Yoonit Merlot.

SHOW US: your reusable!


On a balmy September evening in 2016, full-time farmer and singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov headlined a nearly sold-out show at Colorado’s famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Critics called the performance “mesmerizing.” Westword described the show’s stunning, whispered conclusion: “ … what remained was a shared sense of having experienced something profound, as if witnessing the folk singer-songwriter’s first headlining performance at Red Rocks Amphitheater on Sunday night had bonded us together.”


Watch an entire set without pulling out your phone.

WRITE IT DOWN: which set you watched

Planet Bluegrass Vice President Steve Szymanski attended the show, which included a 15-piece band with a string section from the Colorado Symphony. “They put a spell on the place. Everyone stood up and listened to song after song. To see and feel the connection Gregory and his band make with their audience is very moving.” But Gregory’s Red Rocks show was not the first time Steve had experienced his particular brand of magic. In 2007, Gregory entered his first and only songwriting competition, the Telluride Troubadour Contest, and won. Admitting that he entered the contest simply because he wanted to go to Telluride, Gregory says he was “shocked” to have taken home first-place honors. Not everyone was shocked, however. Planet Bluegrass Vice President of Communications Brian Eyster heard Gregory’s potential when he first listened to his submission tape. “After listening to several hundred song submissions, Gregory’s entry leapt out of the speaker: the sparse elegance of his lyrics, his mature use of space, the honesty in his voice,” he says. “I leaned into the speaker to catch every word—beautiful and captivating. I distinctly remember thinking ‘he’s not just our future winner; he’s a future star.’ I’m glad I wasn’t a finalist judge, because I had instantly become a fan.”

“Once you realize music isn’t a sport, then there’s no contest or comparison. I just played my songs the same as always." THE TROUBADOUR CONTEST

The Telluride Troubadour Contest joined the festival’s traditional bluegrass instrument contests in 1991. That year, Planet Bluegrass took the first 30 entries, and everyone came to perform at the Festival. This year there were some 300 entries. Steve listens to every single song, upwards of a thousand submissions. “It helps to have a consistent set of ears,” he says. While it is a major commitment and a significant part of his life each year, he sees it as an honor to hear new music from all around the country and the world. After Steve’s initial listening, the list is pared down to somewhere around 50 percent. From there, Planet Bluegrass staff members take turns listening. By the final round, five or six people listen as a group, aiming to pick 10 finalists and two alternates. Artists and other music industry professionals serve as final judges for the live competition in Elks Park during the festival. “There’s not an objective ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’” says Steve. “It’s about what moves you in a song. The song is 50 percent of the score. Obviously, guitar playing and performance qualities are also part of the equation.” But he points out that it’s always subjective. “All the judges have their own psychological makeup and preferences. There’s no way to get around it.” For that reason, despite the fact that finalists are ranked, Planet Bluegrass considers all of them to be winners, and rewards them all with cash prizes. The top five also receive instrument prizes. The first-place songwriter receives a handmade Shanti Guitar, by longtime custom luthier, Michael Hornick. Gregory says he really didn’t have a strategy for the songs he chose to enter the competition. “I just played songs that were

important to me at the time,” he says. “Once you realize music isn’t a sport, then there’s no contest or comparison. I just played my songs the same as always. It’s a good thing to remember, especially for younger songwriters. Don’t even worry about winning.” For Gregory, the most inspiring aspect of being at the Troubadour Contest was the opportunity to commune with other musicians in the songwriting community. Songwriting is a solitary pursuit, after all. He says he was “blown away” by all of the other contestants and welcomed the opportunity to spend quality time with so many excellent writers and performers.


Performance, especially in the hands of a confident singersongwriter, may look effortless. But behind that effort is a mountain of very hard work and tenacity. Steve Poltz, who will perform an early Sunday set this year on Telluride’s main stage, says being a performing songwriter is way more than a full-time job. “You have to be tenacious. You have to do it every day. It’s not for the feint of heart. The road to folk stardom is littered with bodies. I tell people all the time: it’s not rocket science; it’s just a lot of hard work. You’ve got to have fun doing it, because it’s going to be your life.” He describes the three “muscles” that must be constantly exercised and toned in order for a singer-songwriter to turn his or her passion into a career. “There’s the songwriting muscle, the performance muscle and the recording muscle, and they’ll atrophy if you don’t use them. “How do you take the magic that is a song and determine if it’s going to be understood? You sing it to an audience. Your audience is judge, jury and executioner. Fans happen organically; you collect them over time. You go out and win the fans over. You do it through those three muscles. You might be able to sing a song in performance, but you have to have a recording of it too. But you can’t always make the recording live up to the live show, so the recording muscle has to be developed right along with the songwriting and performance muscles.” On a more intrinsic level, the Troubadour Contest’s performance coach Katie Grace MacElveen says that successful singer-songwriters need to possess a balance of introversion and extroversion. “Singersongwriters have to be introverted enough to be moved to write music. But they also need to be extroverted enough to know how to deliver it.”

Visit Elks Park and watch a set.

TAKE A PHOTO: of the Elks Park stage



Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear can wreak havoc on even the most competent, skilled performing artist. Performance anxiety—aka stage fright—is a thing. Even Gregory, with his extensive international touring schedule and command of the stage, admits to feeling a bit of nervousness before his performances. Performance anxiety is an artist’s worst enemy. Anxiety lives in the domain of the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system. The fight-orflight response changes the way you breathe, and therefore the way you express a phrase. It drains blood from your guts and shunts it out into your big muscles, preparing you to escape danger—a type of danger that doesn’t actually exist while you’re on stage. (Think running away from a charging wild animal.) It makes your fingers freeze and your voice quiver. For this reason, Planet Bluegrass has made Katie Grace’s expertise available to Troubadour finalists. Trained in somatic psychology, a bodymind-centered paradigm, Katie Grace teaches performers, in one-on-one sessions, to deal with anxiety in a skillful way. “The stress response is there for a reason,” says Katie Grace. ”It’s a healthy response to a perceived threat. We don’t want it to go away. We just need to be able to communicate with it when it’s engaging when we’re actually safe. In a stress response, the animal self is saying, ‘this doesn’t look good; somebody might eat me.’ I teach people to communicate with that space. I teach them how to meet it in a kind way that doesn’t create opposition, but embraces it and guides it to where they want to go.” Katie Grace teaches performers to trigger their stress response in safe situations, so that they can practice how to navigate it in high-anxiety environments. When artists are able to meet their anxiety in a healthy way, they can relax and let their authenticity shine out. “Artists can give their best performances when they’re not being chased out of their experience by fear and anxiety,” she says. “If a performer can work with a song until they’re offering it fully and authentically, then the audience is moved. There’s a resonance between artist and audience. Being able to perform from a place of ease helps them set the performance free and the song free.”

“There are so many different musical communities represented in Telluride. This singer-songwriter tributary is definitely one we want to continue to feed the festival." CONJURING THE MAGIC

When all the elements come together—when there’s a perfect balance of introversion and extroversion; when the three muscles of songwriting, performance and recording are honed and toned; and when on-stage authenticity puts artist and audience in a shared space—magic happens. Add to all this the impossible-to-articulate vibe of enchantment that emanates from this spectacular box canyon. Festivarians expect magic here in Telluride and are handsomely rewarded each year. “There are so many different musical communities represented in Telluride,” says Steve Szymanski. “This singersongwriter tributary is definitely one we want to continue to feed the festival. The contests bring in new energy, new blood. It’s great for our audience to be able to see the up-andcoming songwriters in the Troubadour Contest.” All the better when these newcomers earn a place on the main stage. The Telluride Bluegrass lineup has always blended traditional and original music. This year’s festival is more singer-songwritercentric than most. In addition to songwriting stalwarts such as Tim O’Brien and Peter Rowan, this year’s lineup features a host of traveling troubadours, including Gregory, Steve Poltz, Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves and Jim James. Gregory and his band are excited to be a part of Telluride’s troubadour tributary. In the grand tradition of Telluride artists, Gregory and his bandmates are planning a special made-forTelluride show. “I feel like a mix between an eight-year-old kid and a proud dad,” he says. “We’re really proud, but really giddy. And we’re so grateful.”

Charlotte Bell is a yoga and mindfulness teacher, writer, and oboist who has gratefully enjoyed every Telluride Bluegrass Festival since 1983. She writes for Catalyst Magazine, serves as editor for Yoga U Online, and has published three books, available from Shambhala Publications.


Participate in the Pinhead Institute offset program.

SHOW US: your completion certificate

Passion. It’s that intangible that emanates from the Telluride Bluegrass stage. It’s the thing that keeps Festivarians glued to their tarps in the high-altitude sun, pouring rain and even the occasional snow. And it’s what drives Michael Hornick, the master luthier behind Shanti Guitars. Michael built his first guitar in 1984. His longtime passion for woodworking led him to try his hand at luthiery. Before attempting to create his first instrument, he spent five years studying everything he could find on building guitars. His first guitar took a year. “Once I strung it up and heard it, it was all over.” He knew he’d found his life’s work. Michael connected with the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 1988. For seven years, he provided the guitar for the first-place winner of the flatpicking contest. Then in 1994, Steve Szymanski allowed him to choose between the flatpicking and the Troubadour contests. He seized the opportunity to build something new and different, and has been providing the guitar for the Troubadour winner ever since. Until recently, Michael built guitars full time. He spent 14 hours a day hand building custom guitars, producing seven or eight each year. The wait time between ordering a Shanti Guitar and planting it into a guitarist’s hands was five or six years. “There’s nothing like having someone wait five or six years for a guitar, and then hearing them say: ‘That’s it!’ There’s a real deep satisfaction in hearing that.” Now he’s semi-retired. Because luthiery is his passion, he’s still building, but he’s branching out in new directions. “Since retirement I’ve been building parlor guitars,” he says. “I also wanted to do an octave mandolin, so I’m exploring that. I’m experimenting with the bridge, and the sound I’m getting is phenomenal. I want

Strum a new guitar, banjo or mando in the Sponsor Tent!

to build a mandocello the same way. I’ve got the woods to make a flamenco guitar. I never got an order for them before, but now I have the time to do it.” Fortunately, Michael will continue to build the Troubadour guitar. Hearing one of his instruments in the hands of a skilled guitarist, and emanating from the Telluride stage, is a peak experience for him. “I can’t even begin to describe what an awesome experience that is,” he says. “I can still picture and hear the first time it happened. And it goes on and on, every year.”

TAKE A PHOTO: with a new instrument


With nearly 4,000 Festivarian campers sharing this gorgeous mountain environment, it is vitally important for each of us to be mindful of our camping footprint. In collaboration with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and Eco-Products (supplier of free compostable bags for your campground compost), we are again recognizing campsites that excel in creative, sustainable camping.


We encourage camps in any of the Planet Bluegrass-managed campgrounds to enter. To nominate your campsite or one of your neighbors:

1 Submit a 1-page entry form at the

Leave No Trace booth in Greentown, explaining how the campsite exhibits cleanliness, sustainability, & creativity.

2 Stop by the Leave No Trace booth

each day to view all the campsite entries and vote for your favorites.


We will be judging campsites using three criteria:

Cleanliness Are you repackaging the food you

bring? Are you keeping a tidy campsite? Are items secure and protected from the wind?


Are you separating recycling and compost? Are you reusing products? Are you using alternative energy sources? Did you bike or carpool to the festival? Did you reduce your home’s energy while attending the festival?

Creativity Does your campsite have a theme? Did you decorate your campsite? Are you utilizing unique and innovative camping techniques? Are you upcycling any items from home?


Each day we select two winners—one staff choice and one random—for prize packages that include: Avery Beer, Kelty gear, Klean Kanteen reusables, Keen shoes, and Forty Years of Festivation books.

After the pack-out on Monday we will choose grand prize winners to receive a pair of 4-day passes and camping for the 2020 Festival. Congrats to the 2018 grand prize winners: Camp Trailer Smash from Longmont, CO

ho runs the tarp, one “social animal” w to bluegrass music ns te lis & , er be ks in dr ALL day.


Participate in the Leave No Trace Campsite Challenge.


SHOW US: your entry form


BREAKFAST At the Telluride Elks Lodge 4 7 2 W E S T PA C I F I C

F R I DAY – S U N DAY J U N E 21-23

Breakfast Served 9am to noon $15 | 10 and Under $5 | Cash Bar

MENU Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Hash Browns, Bacon, Sausage, Coffee and Juice

Play the new Grand Pacific guitars at the Taylor booth in the sponsor tent.

For more information visit

Buy a coffee or a beer for the person in line behind you.

TAKE A PHOTO: of you cheers-ing!


A good old Southern boy, Trae Crowder, the Liberal Redneck®, yakked with a lot of Yankees lately. Coastal elites, daytime media mavens, even Bill Maher are curious to crack this YouTube star’s case. Trae’s jump-cut viral videos get up in the grill of anyone north or south of the Mason-Dixon, and anyone who tries to stereotype the man or his quick-witted and super-pithy stage character. They can’t quite get their claws in. Trae is a good interview, as we say—smart—and soon makes it clear he’s not the lone liberal redneck, he’s just the loud one, doing it for a damn living. On Saturday evening just before the Sam Bush Band, Trae’s crew of funny buddies, Corey Forrester and Drew Morgan, get to throw down and bring what I see as a long and storied heritage of hilarious Southern monologists, orators, mouth-runners, and humorists to the Telluride mix. Are you ready for this? Because if you want to bust a gut laughing, you gotta listen up some. (There are subtleties.) Trae’s brainiac culture campaign got him on stage opening for the Drive By Truckers, Steve Earle, and he’s buddies with Gabe Witcher, fiddler for the Punch Brothers. The Liberal Rednecks say they enjoy our kind a’ Telluride music—Americana, Bluegrass (okay, and thrash metal, rap), but just hold the formulaic super-pop country in abeyance, okay? Gotta draw the line. Trae spoke to me from inside a car, not moving, just off the road outside his hometown of Celina (“sel-LINE-uh”), TN, where he gets spotty reception. Celina got killed when NAFTA lured the local Oshkosh factory to Mexico. This fiscal tragedy abetted young Trae’s political awakening and also instigated a heartbreaking dearth of quality overalls. When I said a big old Bluegrass festival would revitalize his downtown, Trae thought, in spite of proximity to gorgeous Dale Hollow Lake, Celina is, “in the middle of nowhere.” Hmm, just like little Telluride was, away back in ’74 when this whole deal started. There’s scuttlebutt around a Liberal Redneck TV sitcom. “We worked up three separate pilots for network TV that all went quiet. We’re talking to Amazon and Netflix now,” said Trae. I said I prayed he won’t get roped into, “Dukes of Hazard But With a Liberal” by some big-thinkin’ exec. Won’t happen. Trae Crowder, co-author of The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Pastor Mustard (aka Dan Sadowsky) was the Telluride Bluegrass Festival MC for 31 years. He wrote the year-by-year essays for the hardcover collector’s edition book Telluride Bluegrass Festival: 40 Years of Festivation, available at the Country Store.



TAKE A PHOTO: of you applying sun protection

Dixie Outta the Dark, is on a cross-country crusade. “Just ‘cause you got this colorful accent, and like to be loud, and blow shit up, doesn’t mean you can’t engage intellectually.” Playing the sport of football (go Vols!) saved Trae Crowder from high school beat-downs. And by then, his classmates knew he was too keen to verbally joust with. So comedy it was—observational comedy, like Seinfeld, but at an entirely different, way cranked, tempo. Let’s credit Planet Bluegrass for changing up its game. Hasn’t the lineup always been sprinkled with surprises? Didn’t we hear plenty of pre-Grammy acts that would be too big to afford the next year? Betcha next time we see The Liberal Rednecks in Telluride, they’ll be sitcom stars, stepping out of a self-driving EV limo, but with fried okra grease on their jeans.

Thanks to your thirst for delicious Colorado craft beer—along with our selection of locally-produced cocktails—we have donated more than $500,000 to San Miguel County organizations over the past 6 years including: Telluride Volunteer Fire Department, Telluride EMT Association, KOTO, Telluride Adaptive Sports Program, Telluride Community Television, One to One Mentoring, Angel Baskets, San Miguel Resource Center, Telluride Mountain Club, San Miguel Bike Alliance, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Telluride Academy, Telluride Rotary Club, Telluride AIDS Foundation, and contributions of nearly $80,000 to the Town of Telluride to assist with construction of the new stage.

Again this year, the tips you leave for our beer booth volunteers support a different local non-profit each day:





Eco-Action Partners

Telluride Theatre

San Miguel Resource Center

Telluride Carbon Neutral Coalition

Raise your reusable cup high! Thanks for supporting the Telluride community.

“ Support the National Forest Foundation at Zeal Optics in Greentown.

SHOW US: your new sunnies!


The Family Tent provides whimsical, musical, and educational activities for children and their parents from noon-5pm on Thursday & 10am-5pm Friday thru Sunday. Most activities are free, but we ask that parents please accompany their kids at all times.


Since 1998, Living Folklore has made Telluride Bluegrass just as fun for children as it is for adults. The kids area offers a magical refuge for the whole family with kids yoga, storytelling, crafts, interactive performances with live characters, and giant processions. Come play with us and experience the magic of The Family Tent! Learn more at


The ever-popular talent show returns Saturday afternoon for the 23rd year.


The weekend culminates with this beloved Telluride tradition. Carry a flag, umbrella, or one of the giant puppets as Gumbo Wobbly leads this huge procession through the festival grounds on Sunday afternoon at 3:00pm.


Lauri Watson welcomes new and experienced jugglers for lessons and free juggling balls each day.


Decorate and create your own kid- and adult-sized hula hoops. Then join the Hoop Dance coach and 5-time world record holder, Betty Hoops, for free lessons every afternoon. Learn more at


Try your hand at juggling at the Family Tent.

TAKE A PHOTO: of you tossin’ balloons

Every June songwriters and bands from around the world trek to Telluride for the prestigious Troubadour and Band contests. Offering beautiful instruments, cash prizes, and international recognition, these contests showcase the next generation of Telluride Bluegrass artists. Join us in welcoming these talented performers on Thursday and Friday at Elks Park, then celebrate with the finalists Saturday on the Main Stage.


For the 29th year, the Troubadour Contest introduces ten inspiring young songwriters to Festivarian Nation in Telluride. One of these artists will join past winners like Catie Curtis, Deb Talan, Gregory Alan Isakov, Caitlin Canty, Anna Tivel, and Garrett Owen as the 2019 Telluride Troubadour.

2019 Troubadour Finalists

Troubadours will perform in a randomly selected order.

Clara Baker

Billy Huston

Cecilia Castleman

Tim Ostdiek

On Saturday evening, the winning Troubadour will receive a handmade Shanti guitar from luthier Michael Hornick and perform a short set on the main stage. Cheer on your favorite Troubadours throughout the festival as they perform songwriter-in-the-round sets at Elks Park, ‘tweener songs on the Main Stage, and live in-studio on KOTO.

Wes Collins

Emily Scott Robinson

2019 Troubadour Schedule

Jeff Cramer Denver, Colorado

Alexa Wildish

Connor Garvey

Ira Wolf

Portland, Oregon

Singer-songwriters not currently signed to a major recording or publishing deal submitted songs beginning last December. In April, our panel of industry professionals selected these 10 finalists from hundreds of submissions. During two rounds of Elks Park performances, Troubadours will be judged on the quality of their songs’ composition, vocal delivery, and overall performance.

Preliminary Round Thursday, June 20 Noon Elks Park Stage

Final Round Friday, June 21 2:45pm Elks Park Stage

Nashville, Tennessee

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Winning Troubadour Performance Saturday, June 22 5:15pm Main Stage

Portland, Maine

Boulder, Colorado

Longmont, Colorado

Greensboro, North Carolina

Boulder, Colorado

Nashville, Tennessee

Contest winner announced Friday, June 21 at 4:45pm on the Elks Park Stage.


One of the foremost contests for acoustic stringbands, the Telluride Band Contest has helped launch the careers of Dixie Chicks, Greensky Bluegrass, The Lil’ Smokies, and dozens of other past winners. This year’s bands will be competing around a single microphone for a spot on the 2020 main stage lineup and an EP recording package from The Studio at eTown Hall and Airshow Boulder.

2019 Contest Bands Bands will perform in a randomly selected order. Avenhart Denver, CO

Buffalo Commons

Pick & Howl Arvada, CO

Steamboat, CO

Billy Birrell The Pine & The Squirrel Deer Creek Hearts Sharp Shooters Olympia, WA Hunters Santa Monica, CA Denver, CO Stillhouse Bison Honey Be Kind Junkies

2018 WINNERS South Tahoe, CA

Wood Belly 22

Bowregard Boulder, CO

St. Louis, MO

Durango, CO

One Fret Over

Stray Grass

Winston-Salem, NC

Bands Score in These Categories 30% Material Selection Band Competition taste, difficulty, authenticity, & originality Schedule 30% Instrumental Performance ability of soloists & overall blend

30% Vocal Performance lead & harmony

10% Stage Presence

Grand Junction, CO

Record yourself at the vinyl recording booth (4-7pm Thurs at the library)

Preliminary Round Friday, June 21, 10:00am Elks Park Stage Final Round Saturday, June 22, 9:30am Main Stage

SHOW US: your shiny new vinyl


Est. 1992

Telluride Music Co. Now an Authorized

Dealer for




(970) 728 • 9592

Sample some yerba mate with our friends at Guayakí.


WRITE IT DOWN: which flavor did you try?












10:00am Gates Open

10:00am Gates Open

9:00am Gates Open

10:00am Gates Open

11:00 - Noon Chris Thile

10:45 - 11:45am Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

9:30 - 10:30am Band Contest Finals

10:30 - 11:45am Bonnie Paine & Friends

10:45 - 11:45am Wood Belly

Noon - 1:00pm Steve Poltz

Noon - 1:15pm Sierra Hull

1:30 - 3:00pm The Jerry Douglas Band

1:45 - 3:00pm Steep Canyon Rangers

3:30 - 4:45pm The First Ladies of Bluegrass:

12:15 - 1:15pm Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley 1:45- 3:00pm Peter Rowan’s Free Mexican Airforce with Los Texmaniacs 3:30 - 5:00pm Leftover Salmon: Stories from the Living Room 5:30 - 7:00pm Gregory Alan Isakov 7:30 - 9:30pm Telluride House Band

Noon - 1:00pm Stephen Kellogg 1:30 - 2:45pm Molly Tuttle 3:00 - 4:15pm Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band 4:45 - 6:00pm The Tim O’Brien Band 6:30 - 8:00pm Lake Street Dive

featuring Sam, Béla, Jerry, Edgar, Bryan & Stuart

8:30 - 10:00pm Béla Fleck & The Flecktones

10:00 - 11:30pm Jim James

10:30 - Midnight Greensky Bluegrass




Fri, Sat & Sun • 7:30am, Family Tent oval Extra mats available

3:30 - 5:00pm Yonder Mountain String Band

Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Sierra Hull, Missy Raines & Molly Tuttle

5:15 - 5:30pm Telluride Troubadour

5:15 - 6:45pm Punch Brothers

5:45 - 6:15pm Noam Pikelny

7:15 - 8:45pm Kacey Musgraves

6:30 - 7:15pm wellRED Comedy:

9:15 - 10:45pm Brandi Carlile

Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan & Corey Forrester

7:45 - 10:00pm Sam Bush Band 10:30 - Midnight Railroad Earth

Visit an empty tarp and make a new friend when the owners return.

TAKE A PHOTO: of the view

Workshop schedule subject to change. Please check for daily updates on sign boards.

Thursday JUNE 20


11:00am Heather & Douglas



10:00am Band Contest: Preliminary Round

Noon Troubadour Contest: First Round 2:00pm Vinyl Records: Science, Process, and Production

(Live disc cutting demo with Jim James)

3:15pm Stephen Kellogg 4:30pm Happy Hour with Lake Street Dive

12:30pm Chatham County Line Shares the Covers 1:45pm Todd Sheaffer: Songwriting Tales

Saturday JUNE 22


10:30am Michael Hornick, Bobby Wintringham & Friends: Instrument Building

Noon Troubadours: Wes Collins, Emily Scott Robinson & Ira Wolf

1:00pm Troubadours: Cecilia Castleman, Billy Huston & Tim Ostdiek 2:15pm Charlie Rose & Friends 3:30pm Ley Line: Travel by Sound

2:45pm Steve Poltz

3:45pm Wood Belly: Afternoon Delight


11:30am Edgar & George Meyer: Music for Violin & Bass

1:15pm Troubadours: Clara Baker, Jeff Cramer, Connor Garvey & Alexa Wildish

2:45pm Troubadour Contest: Final Round

Sunday JUNE 23

4:00pm Courtney Hartman Plays “Ready Reckoner”

4:45pm Troubadour Contest: Winners Announced 5:00pm Molly Tuttle & Chris Eldridge: Guitar Duets

Most activities at the family tent are free. Parents please accompany your kids at all times.

Thursday JUNE 20 Noon-5:00pm Jugglers’ Grove, Hoop Making, Arts & Crafts




10:00am Jugglers’ Grove, Hoop Making, Arts & Crafts Noon Grand Invocation by The Aca Pelicans

12:30pm Clown Yoga

with Gumbo Wobbly & Friends

Saturday JUNE 22 10:00am Jugglers’ Grove, Hoop Making, Arts & Crafts

with Funny Bone Logic Games

12:30pm Mini Parade

12:30pm Puppet Talent Show

with Gala the Flower Faerie

1:30pm Puppet Disco Party

1:45pm Drama Class & Talent Show Sign-ups

with Gala the Flower Faerie


The Aca Pelicans present:

The 23rd Annual Telluride Kids Talent Show!

Buy something in town - support local business!


10:00am Jugglers’ Grove, Hoop Making, Arts & Crafts Noon Clown Yoga with Gumbo & Puppets

1:00pm Alice in Candyland Story and Giant Board Game with Piñata

2:00pm Stories and Songs

Sunday JUNE 23

Noon Gumbo & Puppets

1:00pm Zany Puppet Mayhem with Dennis the Red


1:00pm Alice in Candyland Story and Giant Board Game with Pinata!

2:30pm Parade Preparations 3:00pm 23rd Annual Kids Parade (through festival grounds)

3:30pm Closing Circle

SHOW US: your receipt



1 tickets on sale

OCTOBER 3–5, 2019 Colorado Convention Center | Denver, CO



July 31




T H U R S D AY, J U N E 2 0 T H

Chris Thile

11:00 - Noon

For Festivarians, Telluride represents both a geographic and spiritual journey, one that covers great physical distances and personal transformations. Embodying such artistic pilgrimages and internal evolutions is the incredible Chris Thile, a generation-defining, mandolinreinventing American treasure. Chris has been a voyager since he was knee-high to Bill Monroe, for whom a 12-year-old Chris played a song backstage at this very festival. And for the last two decades, Chris has made Telluride his annual homecoming, a gathering of a tribe united in music and merrymaking and an experience personified by Chris’s unparalleled musical genius and sophisticated exuberance. 2019 marks Chris’s 19th TBF, performing in his revolutionary bands Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, in his awe-inspiring duets with the world’s masters, and in last year’s history-making staging of Live From Here, the live-radio variety show Chris has hosted since 2016. Just as Chris’s picaresque picking prowess has transformed modern acoustic music, he has guided TBF down new symphonic roads, on ever-innovative compositional excursions, and through one thrilling improvisational ride after another. The winding road has led us all back to Telluride. And the next leg of the journey kicks off just as it has for the last five years: with Chris Thile at the wheel. What a trip.


Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley

12:15 - 1:15pm

Thursday’s journey continues as we turn from Chris Thile’s solo showcase into the time-honored Telluride tradition of the two-man jam. And for that, we have two fellers who evoke the great duos of Telluride Bluegrass history while forging their own scintillating sound and energy. Trey Hensley was playing the Grand Ole Opry alongside bluegrass luminaries as an 11-year-old pickingand-singing wunderkind. The kid grew into a Nashville ringer, a go-to studio and stage collaborator who sings in a flinty, Haggard-like register and sets his fretboard aflame with wicked flatpicking salvos. Rob Ickes (rhymes with “bikes”) was a founding member of bluegrass top-shelfers Blue Highway, with whom he established himself as one of the dobro’s eminent masters. For his trademark sonic switchbacks— from spare elegance to lightspeed layers of rippling slide poetry— Rob has been named the IBMA’s Dobro Player of the Year an unmatched 15 times. Together, the duo weaves their simpatico instrumental tandem across vibrantly alive steel-string vistas held together by Trey’s teflon tonsils. You can bet your bottom dollar that this pair of aces will draw grassy manifestoes and rock-classic covers from 2015’s Grammy-nominated Before the Sun Goes Down and 2016’s Country Blues for a solotrading, twang-tangling, can’t-miss Thursday set.

Participate in the Eco Truth & Dare in the sponsor tent.

Peter Rowan’s

Free Mexican Airforce

with Los Texmaniacs 1:45 - 3:00pm

Longtime Festivarians have come to rely on the indestructible Peter Rowan as a Shellman Stage fixture, a shamanistic Santa who visits once a year, bearing gifts of prairie lullabies and providing a conduit to benevolent spirits throughout the valley. Thursday’s set will mark the 39th year that Rowan’s limber tenor, his ghost-swami yodel, his lusty G-runs, and his alpha-hippie jam sessions have ricocheted off these canyon walls. Each year, the pro’s P-Ro reanimates classics from his six-decade career (as a Blue Grass Boy, with Old & In the Way, etc.), faithfully offering his gospel-blues testimony, folkgrass train-hopping, crucial-country moaning, reggaebilly wiggling, and deep-inhalation hedonism. All along, a human tenderness illuminates his songs: Peter once wrote about the walls of time, but he has also sung frequently about walls of oppression and walls of division. This year, in the spirit of Peter’s commitment to unity and his boundless genre explorations, Pete’s own twangygroovy Free Mexican Airforce will be augmented by the superb, Grammywinning Los Texmaniacs. Fronted by world-class bajo sexto player Max Baca, Los Texmaniacs are the planet’s premier purveyors of conjunto, an accordion-fed music that mixes mariachi, polka, rock, and Latin music into an infectious, danceable feliz-festival Tex-Mex stew. Salud!

TELL US: your “dare”

Leftover Salmon:

Stories from the Living Room 3:30 - 5:00pm

No, friends, that is not a typo on your schedule: Leftover Salmon, the quintessential TBF late-night band, are playing midday on Thursday. They will also be sitting down. And it’s going to be monumental. You see, to commemorate their 30-year anniversary as a band, Salmon are inviting us all into their living room, to be recreated on the Shellman Stage, for a special sesh of stories and songs from their three-decade reign as jamgrass kings. That history is intertwined with TBF, as Vince, Drew, and the boys went from Town Park’s best, rowdiest, most-sleep-deprived campground band into the ultimate jumbo-jam mainstage warriors. How did Salmon take over Telluride? Ask the Fishivarians! They will tell you that Leftover added rocket fuel to newgrass, becoming the mothership of pass-the-chillum string shredding, a one-band-stop for all your bluegrass, rock, country, and zydeco needs, pumping out all-night electric-bashgrass mayhem. A new hardcover band history, Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival!, is out now, and the legends themselves will be onstage Thursday for one giant hookah of a family celebration right here where it all began. So bring your hearts, smiles, goodies, and dance moves; we’ll supply the Salmon and the living room. We can all revel in the tales, the tunes, and the memories—and make an unforgettable new one.






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Fight the opioid crisis - visit Sopris in the Sponsor Tent!

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T H U R S D AY, J U N E 2 0 T H

Gregory Alan Isakov 5:30 - 7:00pm

Farmervarians have a kindred spirit in Gregory Alan Isakov. The South African-born singer-songwriter grows over 100 varieties of vegetables (alongside sheep, bees, and cannabis) on his four-acre farm near Boulder. Horticulture is a natural passion for a man who has spent his life communing with nature and reaping fresh harvests, both agricultural and musical. As an expert grower of songs, Isakov has cultivated four studio albums of soft-textured hymns filled with searching poetry and wreathed in shadowed, ambient atmospherics. On records such as 2009’s This Empty Northern Hemisphere (featuring vocals by Brandi Carlile) and last year’s Evening Machines, Isakov writes of oceans, landscapes, the fires of home, lives on the move, broken dreams, and second chances, all infused with Isakov’s rich, temperate voice. As a songwriter, Isakov triangulates the hushed realism of acoustic Bruce Springsteen, the autumnal elegance of Leonard Cohen, and the soothing, fingerpicked literacy of Paul Simon. As a record-maker, he writes and records in his barn, painting a sonic mural out of vintage instruments, from guitars to ukuleles, Mellotrons to Moogs, musical saws to brooms. His career continues to hit new highs. In 2016, Isakov recorded lush versions of his songs for a full album with the Colorado Symphony. Last year, he sold out a headlining concert at Red Rocks. And now Isakov and his band (augmented with violin, bowed double-bass, piano, cello, banjo, and brushed snare) will make their Telluride Bluegrass debut, a set guaranteed to yield an exquisite bounty.

Telluride House Band

featuring Sam, Béla, Jerry, Edgar, Bryan & Stuart 7:30 - 9:30pm 2019 marks 10 consecutive years that the six greatest bluegrass players in history—Sam, Béla, Jerry, Edgar, Bryan, and Stuart—have played a full headlining set together as the Telluride House Band. The number 10 is awash with ceremonial meaning, and while we prefer the Festivarian Bill of Rights to any list of Commandments, on this occasion, let the following be written in stone: 1. When Sam really gets into it, he looks like he’s bobbing for apples. At that point, thou shalt make high-pitched noises with your mouth. 2. It’s okay to covet thy neighbor’s tarp, but please seek permission to dance on it. 3. Béla invents uncharted scales as he goes. Feel free to pretend to understand what he’s doing. (But you’re fooling no one.) 4. No shirt, no shoes, no problem! 5. Jerry’s whiplash solos will flux you up one side and down the other. This is normal and thou shalt recover by morning. 6. The band members are not in competition with each other. (Although, come on, let’s face it, they totally are. But, please, no wagering.) 7. Thou shalt not forget to watch Edgar. He’s the one making your caboose move. And when he grabs his bow, gird your loins. 8. Bryan is the fastest flatpicker alive. To maintain your balance, hold on to something sturdy. Like one of our steel Sustainable Festivation pint cups. 9. Watch Stuart’s torso contortions. They correspond to his freak-of-nature fiddle runs and let you know how deep your own dancing knee-bends should go.

Jim James

10:00 - 11:30pm Hey, look over there. That’s Bridal Veil Falls, Colorado’s tallest waterfall. You hikers should look for Jim James up there. You see, the title of My Morning Jacket’s 2015 LP The Waterfall was inspired by James’s passion for photographing spectacular waterfalls, the perfect visual complement to James’s music—both are enchanting and powerful and contain cascading layers of majestic beauty. With Bridal Veil in sight, James will take the Telluride Bluegrass stage for the first time. And it will be a night of stargazing, overhead and on stage. With a string of critically-prized, instant-classic albums (2008’s Evil Urges and 2011’s Circuital both cracked the Top Ten US albums chart, and Rolling Stone added 2005’s Z to its “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”), James led the brilliantly badass My Morning Jacket from reverb-wet Southern-rock flamekeepers to neo-psychedelic freewheelers to headphonetweaking art-indie titans to festival-headlining guitar-rock saviors. As a solo artist, James covered the musical map in Americana supergroups (Monsters of Folk, New Multitudes, The New Basement Tapes) and in his solo projects, including last year’s pair of stoned, lo-fi albums, Uniform Distortion and Uniform Clarity. With a full-band Thursday-night set, expect kaleidoscopic sonics, heat-mirage melodies, hair-tossing dance-with-the-devil guitar solos, skyscraping falsetto ululations, wave-your-lighter anthems, and rainbow-power good vibes. And, like standing at the base of Bridal Veil Falls, it will be something you will never forget.

10. The world has never seen anything like this. And nothing lasts forever. And this only happens in this place on this night. Thou shalt make the most of it.


Get your downward dog on at morning yoga.

WRITE IT DOWN: instructor’s name

F R I D AY, J U N E 2 1 S T

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

10:45 - 11:45am

Where were the dudes in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades when the bluegrass rulebooks were handed out? Probably out buying beer. Because these scruffy Wisconsin yayhoos do things their own way: They ditch the mandolin in favor of porch-hooch harmonica, throw a sax solo into a barn-dance tune, go on clawhammer jams as long as a hockey period, and holler hayseed harmonies into a single mic shaped like a grenade. If you’ve camped in Warner, you probably remember these guys. Adjacent campers wondered if the band’s name referred to a game of horseshoes that lasts until dawn and hand grenades that never stop exploding. The rascals even ended up in the Band Contest finals, coming very close to winning. But close only counts in...well, you know. So they went ahead and earned this year’s TBF mainstage spot the old-fashioned way: by winning over a horde of festibeardians with their bong-circle instrumental ruckus, bingeing on old tyme and Old Style, and writing four albums, including 2018’s The Ode, stuffed with mightyfine originals. So rise ‘n’ (moon)shine, folks. H&HG (David C. Lynch (harmonica), Collin Mettelka (fiddle), Russell Pedersen (banjo), Adam Greuel (guitar), and Samual Odin (bass)) are driving their van (voted “Stankiest Van in Bluegrass”) to Telluride for a wild fiddle-scratchin’, harp-honkin’, banjofrailin’ Friday breakfastivation set.


Stephen Kellogg

Molly Tuttle

Noon - 1:00pm

1:30 - 2:45pm

We’re not crying; you’re crying. Okay, fine—yes, we do get a little emotional during Telluride. And we get especially misty-eyed for heartfelt Telluride Bluegrass reunions, like the return of old friend and masterful singer-songwriter Stephen Kellogg. It’s been 13 years since Stephen played TBF, back when he and his band The Sixers played a triumphant Friday afternoon set in the rain, slaying the crowd with their heartland hullabaloo—all heavenly melodies and congenial mojo (and Sixers bassist Goose Karlson blitzing Town Park with his infamous underpants dance). SK6ers recorded five studio albums and played over a thousand shows in the aughties, establishing Kellogg as a crowd-caressing performer and a first-class songwriter with a poet’s gifts for fresh imagery. On fan favorites like “4th of July” and “Father’s Day”...and...getting choked up again. Because we are reminded of how touching Kellogg’s songs are, never more so than on his latest, the blindingly beautiful Objects in the Mirror. The new album is a collection of sharply observed, diary-spilling songs about the highs and lows of living, resilience, parenthood, commitment, and finding blessings in bittersweet losses...and we cried all the way through it. On Friday, with Stephen Kellogg returning to TBF to bring his poignant songs to life, we will be smiling through the tears.

Fretivarians behold: She is the IBMA 2017 and 2018 Guitar Player of the Year (and the first-ever female recipient of the award). She is Molly Tuttle, the hammering-on, pulling-off, cross-picking phenom with the sealsmooth movement around the strings, the proximal phalanges nonpareil, and the guitar tone that rings like the bells back in the beer booth. (Hey, have you tried the Festival Lager? It pairs nicely with Ms. Tuttle. Much like her fleet-fingered fret-fondling, it’s light, crisp, and clean.) Raised in the San Francisco area by bluegrass folk, Molly was displaying supernatural musical alacrity as a tween, recording her first album at 13 and later attending the Berklee College of Music before breaking out as a Nashville guitar and songwriting prodigy. Since then she has hauled in a pile of Americana Music and IBMA Awards, including a Song of the Year nod for “You Didn’t Call My Name” from her 2017 debut EP. It’s no wonder that Molly has ascended to center stage as guitarist/ vocalist in Sunday’s First Ladies of Bluegrass supergroup set. After all, Molly sings with gorgeous clarity and style, and her scrumptious new solo album, released in April, is overspilling with aromatic songcraft and captivating emotional resonance. The album is called When You’re Ready. Well, get ready. Molly Tuttle is set for a momentous TBF debut.

Bake a solar cookie with Eco-Action Partners in Greentown.

SHOW US: your cookie

Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band

3:00 - 4:15pm

At the 2003 RockyGrass Band Contest finals, five uncombed dudes destroyed the competition with a sizzling, knotty, harmony-rich set that informed a stunned audience that a powerful new force in bluegrass had just been unleashed. Just months earlier, North Carolina banjo stud Andy Thorn had traveled to Durango and caught the ear of a dobro-playing music-store clerk named Anders Beck, who invited Andy to jam that night with mandolinist Robin Davis and bassist Travis Book. Later, Andy convinced a Carolina cohort, guitarist Jon Stickley, to relocate to Colorado to complete the quintet. Broke Mountain were born. For just over a year, the band generated such molten music and gymnastic instrumental heat that the center could not hold. The young dynamos splintered into the biggest, Red Rocks-filling progressive bluegrass acts in the world: Andy joined Leftover Salmon; Anders headed to Greensky Bluegrass; Travis became an Infamous Stringduster; Jon created the Jon Stickley Trio; Robin Davis formed the Robin Davis Duo. For years, fans have hoped and pleaded for a reunion gig. 14 years after their last show, the old friends and musical brothers decided it could happen only at Telluride. You picked the right year, Festivarian. For one very special reunion performance, the boys are back in town. And on Friday, they’re going for Broke.


Ride the gondola up to Mountain Village.

TAKE A PHOTO: of the epic view


F R I D AY, J U N E 2 1 S T

The Tim O’Brien Band Lake Street Dive


4:45 - 6:00pm

6:30 - 8:00pm

For each of his 43 TBF outings, Tim O’Brien has offered Festivaria an ocean of musical edification, keeping old, obscure forms alive and opening new opportunities for string-band music. He has been our greatest orator—a brilliant storyteller who oozes charm and open-hearted generosity. Tim played the 2nd annual TBF with The Ophelia String Band and has been omnipresent ever since, orchestrating the sound of the Festival and shaping the overall folkgrass world. The contemporary bluegrass scene would orbit around Hot Rize and their Oprystyle offshoot Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers, spawning a generation of musical offspring. Over the years, Tim continued to organize outfits (The O’Boys, The Crossing, New Grange), collaborate with other artists, and lead his own outstanding Tim O’Brien Band. Tim’s band outplayed everyone on everything from ancient odes to Tim’s own originals, forming an outsized oeuvre like none other. Tim’s latest official release is the eponymous opus, Tim O’Brien Band, one that observes Tim returning from his ornate musical odysseys to traditional bluegrass. Yet it’s no ordinary collection, packed as it is with ornamental beauty and instrumental oomph. Another sunny afternoon in the valley with the legend? Oh, yeah. (In honor of Tim O’s 43rd TBF, this bio contains 43 different words that start with the letter O.)

Rachael Price, the astonishing vocal powerhouse for Lake Street Dive, was born in Australia but raised in Tennessee, a background that informs her boundless stylistic range. Unflappable, note-perfect guitarist/ trumpeter Mike “McDuck” Olson hails from Minneapolis, home of the street (and dive bars along it) that inspired the band’s name and the purple-funk pop that helped launch 2014’s Bad Self Portraits into the US Top 20. Backbeat whiz Mike Calabrese’s Philly roots help give 2016’s Side Pony (which debuted at #1 on 3 Billboard charts) an old-school R&B and soul vibration. Bass-kneading thumb-position specialist Bridget Kearney is a native Iowan, which lends a hawkeye-keen vibrancy to her playing and Corn-Belt poetry to the hit singles from 2018’s Free Yourself Up. The four musical marvels joined forces at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and, with their buoyant neo-soul boogie, jazz-aware arrangements, and coed harmonies, the band earned the reputation as one of America’s most electrifying live acts. Now with Brooklyn keyboardist Akie Bermiss deepening their grooves, the Dive continue to incorporate sounds from Detroit to Nashville to Muscle Shoals to New Orleans. So what is LSD’s next geographic adventure? A danceathon dive into the musical melting pot of Telluride. Free yourself up and get down to the Dive.

You’re here to dance, aren’t ya?!

Béla Fleck & The Flecktones 8:30 - 10:00pm

A crazy thing happened, Fleckivarians, and we don’t think it’s just the mushrooms talking. Béla and the Flecktones were rehearsing for Friday’s headlining set, a celebration of their 30th anniversary, when they got into a jam of such banj-avantgarde time-signature complexity that they ripped a hole in the space-time continuum. As a result, the band went hurtling, like the flight of so many cosmic hippos, through the wormhole and back in time. They traveled back to their 2016 TBF set, which reunited Béla with the original Flecktones lineup of bass genius Victor Wooten, Drumitar inventor Future Man, and harmonica master Howard Levy. They zoomed past myriad awards for their career as mind-blowing jazz-rock fusion-grass classical-funk gods: receiving the Montreal Jazz Festival’s Miles Davis Award and the 2006 Grammy for The Hidden Land. They sailed back through the saxophone years, intoxicating latenight TBF sets with Jeff Coffin and Paul McCandless. They passed 2000’s expansive Outbound and jaw-dropping singles like ‘97’s “Sinister Minister”— more Grammys. They flew by their precedent-shattering 1990 self-titled debut. Further back, Béla peeled off and coasted into the New Grass Revival era when he exploded onto the scene as a young banjo virtuoso. Back, back he traveled. Until…a baby boy was born July 10, 1958, in New York City.

TAKE A PHOTO: of you cutting a rug

Greensky Bluegrass

10:30 - Midnight

We have already had a few special reunions and anniversary celebrations this weekend, and to close out Friday, we add another biggie: Greensky Bluegrass’s 10th year on the TBF lineup. The Michiganreared fivesome won our 2006 Band Contest and have gone on to become progressive bluegrass heavyweights, reaching new levels of jam-chops lightning and rockgrass flex, ascending to top-of-the-poster status at festivals and selling out venues coast to coast. In addition, for four consecutive years, Greensky have been the lords of the Telluride night with both their transcendent mainstage-closing epics and anything-goes NightGrass blowouts. Yet even with every-year status, the band—with their jolt of musical contrasts, tonal effects, improvisational powers, and bestin-the-biz light show—makes sure that each Greensky experience is thrillingly unique. This year, Greensky Bluegrass continue to innovate in the studio and hit Telluride on the heels of the gorgeous, genre-redrawing All for Money, an album that finds the band expanding their sonic landscape with sandstorm picking, shadow-funk arrangements, delirious banjo-mando crosstalk, spiral-staircase guitar, wounded-bear dobro, and swallowthe-whole-tab psychedelia. Prepare to shed some layers, fleeceivarians: GSBG are about to hit Town Park like a hot wind on a cold night.

Yonder Mountain String Band • Greensky Bluegrass The Del McCoury Band • Railroad Earth • The Infamous Stringdusters • Leftover Salmon The Travelin’ McCourys • Horseshoes & Hand Grenades • The Sweet Lillies Special Guests: Jennifer Hartswick • Natalie Cressman


S AT U R D AY, J U N E 2 2 N D

Wood Belly

Sierra Hull

Steep Canyon Rangers Yonder Mountain 1:45 - 3:00pm String Band

Oof. Last night, the Flecktones and Greensky gave us such a working over, we feel like we fell out of the gondola and then got backed over by one of those trucks that vacuums out the shitters. But, hey, there’s no time for tired, festiwearyans! We’re only at the halfway point! And the early bird gets the Wood Belly. A five-piece Colorado pickin’ pack, Wood Belly are natural-born citizens of Planet Bluegrass: They trace their inception back to the 2015 RockyGrass Festival, where mandolinist Chris Weist met guitarist Craig Patterson and dobroist Chris Zink. Within months, they added banjoist Aaron McCloskey and bassist Taylor Shuck, and before long were gigging hard up and down the Front Range on the way to winning last year’s Telluride Bluegrass Band Contest. As the TBF Contest champs, Wood Belly earned a mainstage set this year, and a glance at our illustrious list of former winners (Greensky Bluegrass, the Dixie Chicks, Trout Steak Revival, the Hillbenders, Lil Smokies, etc.) indicates that the Belly had better belt up for the bluegrass big time. With their forest-dusted arrangements and smoky harmonies, these John Hartford disciples forge the rustic grassicana heard on their full-length debut, Solid Ground, a record that helped secure a 2018 IBMA Momentum Nomination. So are you thirsty for more bluegrass? Then Belly up.

The child-prodigy story is well-known: At the age the rest of us were still struggling with object permanence, the amazing Sierra Hull was already playing blistering mandolin solos on stage at the Grand Ole Opry and Carnegie Hall. She was recording her first albums as a teenager and attended the Berklee College of Music on the Presidential Scholarship, the first-ever bluegrass musician to do so. But Sierra is no longer a kid. When she steps up and takes a solo, there is no novelty in the fact that she is one of the most brain-pan-meltingly incredible mandolin pickers on the planet. In fact, she is the reigning three-year title-holder of the IBMA’s Mandolin Player of the Year, the first woman to ever receive it. She’s also a guitarist of such prodigious skill that it makes us want to dismember our own guitars with a war scythe. Beyond her blazing instrumental mastery, Sierra is a musical architect of rich complexity. 2011’s Daybreak established Sierra as an artist whose songwriting craft is on par with her eight-string virtuosity, and her latest album, the Béla Fleck-produced Weighted Mind, is a genre-expanding folk-pop gem based around mandolin, bass, and Sierra’s redolent vocals. Saturday will mark Sierra’s second time on the TBF stage, and with her Sunday appearance with the First Ladies, the weekend offers a heaping helping of Hull.

Hi-ho, Silverton, away! Yippee-kiOuray! The Steep Canyon Rangers are Telluridin’ the range once more! Now celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band, these North Carolina buckaroos are the Grammygobbling, IBMA-award-lassoing sextet behind 12 gold-standardsetting studio records, the last five of which have shot to #1 on the Bluegrass Albums chart. The Rangers have also served as influential bluegrass ambassadors, bringing the music to legions of new listeners through the band’s partnership with five-string funnyman Steve Martin, backing him on three best-selling albums and several tours. On their own, SCR have kept their spurs in traditional bluegrass while also rustling up ever-evolving musical frontiers out of snazzy songwriting, dexterous instrumentalism, and campfire harmonies. After broadening their sound with the addition of cajónist Mike Ashworth and new bassist Barrett Smith, and with the release of last year’s excellent Out in the Open, the Steepers (Woody Platt (vocals/ guitar), Graham Sharp (banjo/ vocals), Mike Guggino (mandolin), Nicky Sanders (fiddle) hit Telluride at a new career peak. We know you have a whole mess of shows to choose from this weekend, but if you are pickin’ this one, you’ll be grinnin’ from ear to ear. And, friends, pickin’ and grinnin’ is something the Rangers know a little bit about.

10:45 - 11:45am


Noon - 1:15pm

Meet someone who traveled to Telluride from another state.

3:30 - 5:00pm

One evening as the sun went down/ And the Nederland bongs were burnin’ Four hippie kids were jammin’ on/ The songs that they were learnin’ They ended up in Telluride/ With the dancin’ and the shoutin’ So come with me, we'll go and see/ The bluegrass Yonder Mountain In the bluegrass Yonder Mountain/ Dave’s banjo always rings And the fun ‘n’ fungus kick in/ As Ben begins to sing Where the tarps are never empty/ And the bouncin’ never stops Oh, the hemp and the heat/ And the shufflin’ feet Adam’s guitar runs/ And Jake’s man buns In the bluegrass Yonder Mountain In the bluegrass Yonder Mountain/ the weather calls for jam The sky is always sunny/ With a real good chance of Sam They play the songs from Black Sheep/ Or maybe Love. Ain't Love Oh, I'm bound to go/ to the Saturday show Where the crowd is baked/ And Town Park quakes In the bluegrass Yonder Mountain In the bluegrass Yonder Mountain/ Friends catch you if you fall From spinnin’ ‘round in circles/ to the fiddle of Allie Kral It’s a Yonder celebration/ 20 years in Telluride So let’s tear it up/and raise a cup For 20 straight/from the all-time greats The bluegrass Yonder Mountain

GET AN AUTOGRAPH: from your new friend



In Telluride, visit Telluride Music Company. Located in the historic business district at 333 W. Colorado Ave, (970) 728-9592

S AT U R D AY, J U N E 2 2 N D

Noam Pikelny

5:45 - 6:15pm

BONUS!! The extraordinary Noam Pikelny has been tickling Telluride audiences for years as his generation’s tip-top banjo titan and the MVP wingman in the world’s best progressive bluegrass bands. On Saturday, as a treat for all of you five-ivarians, we’re going to turn Noam loose with his own mini-set. What is the essence of Noamness? Supersonic mixed rolls, B-stringbending, Stratocaster-inspired licks, dazzling syncopation, a reverence for bluegrass history, sophisticated experimentalism, a drummer’s feel for atomic timing and stylish fills, and dry-humor stage banter. No wonder Noam was the firstdraft pick when banjo spots opened in Leftover Salmon and the John Cowan Band and when Chris Thile was putting together Punch Brothers. No wonder Noam was awarded the first-annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo. No wonder Noam has twice been named the IBMA Banjo Player of the Year. No wonder Noam is not only a Grammy winner with the Punchers but has two Grammy nods for his solo work, including 2011’s Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail and 2015’s Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe. Festivarians have seen a lot of full-course bands with Pickles on the side. But as with 2017’s remarkable Universal Favorite, Noam will be all by himself when he takes the TBF stage for a special 30-minute solo set. Roll on, buddy.


wellRed Comedy:

Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan & Corey Forrester 6:30 - 7:15pm

In our current socio-political climate, Colorado hippies and Southern hillbillies would seem to be at hopeless odds, casting blame and disdain at each other across an ever-widening gulf. Well, TBF has long been dismantling stereotypes. Banjos are for hicks? We Béla to differ. Mandolins are for yokels? We’ll show you a Thile or two. Now enter the WellRED Comedy team to remind us that hippies and hillbillies share plenty of commonality: a love for string-band music, mountains, being barefoot, free-spiritedness, killer flank steaks, etc. Moreover, these hinterland humorists are out to prove, through gut-busting drollery, that rural America and progressive ideologies are not mutually exclusive. WellRED started when Tennessee native Trae Crowder ("The Liberal Redneck") became a YouTube sensation after his back-porch rant on transgender bathrooms went viral. Before long, Crowder had landed a sitcom and launched a tour with like-minded comedians Corey Ryan Forrester and Drew Morgan, all contributors to the best-selling book, The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Outta the Dark. The stand-up trio now brings their incisive satire, one that mocks rural rednecks and urban liberals in equal measure, to TBF. It will be an early-evening set that will have you rethinking your assumptions (and also rolling on your tarps in stitches).

Sam Bush Band

Railroad Earth

7:45 - 10:00pm

10:30 - Midnight

Friends...and I assume we are by now… imagine the scene. June 1975. A 23-year-old Kentucky-bred mandolin picker for a hippified bluegrass band called New Grass Revival rolls into some strange town called Telluride to play its little startup bluegrass festival. His life, the town, bluegrass music, and every Festivarian present and future would be forever changed. Sam Bush has never missed another TBF, an incredible 45-year streak. It’s The Fest That Sam Built, and if progressive bluegrass is now a fertile field, it was Sam who invented the plow. Sam revolutionized the genre, the jamming, the guest sit-ins, the sprawling possibilities of the music, and the culture at large. The King of Telluride title makes perfect sense: Sam reigns supreme. But he’s the type of king who is in our service, delivering the goods to us. And he always delivers: The man, the mando, the champ, the chop. The expectations are enormous, but every year, it’s another wham-bam-thankyou-Sam Saturday night. So after 45 years? Can’t stop now: Sam just released the scorching “Stop the Violence,” the hardesthitting single of his iconic career. Were we dreaming? Or did this really happen? The news came around to count our blessings and to be thankful for all the good friends that we’ve found. Thank you, Sam, for 45 years of friendship, inspiration, and thrilling Festivation.

On the rise through new elevations/ New days begun

Are you hydrated? Fill up your reusable at our free filtered water stations.

The party continues as we celebrate Railroad Earth’s first TBF appearance in 8 years, a special homecoming for a band that can trace their tracks back to this very stage. In 2001, the New Jersey musicians—singer/ songwriter Todd Sheaffer, violinist Tim Carbone, mandolinist John Skehan, multi-instrumentalist Andy Goessling, and drummer Carey Harmon—joined forces, named themselves after a Jack Kerouac poem, cut some tracks, and, within weeks, landed a spot at Telluride. Afterward, they became jamericana giants and synthesists of styles, rhythmic contours, and cosmic colors. Behind Sheaffer’s sublimely melodic songs and sunset vocals, the band introduced new instrumental textures to the bluegrass lexicon, morphing into jazz, folk, rock, country, and Celtic bands before your very ears. RRE released 7 luminous studio albums (most recently the terrific Captain Nowhere) and transformed those songs into transcendent openair jams in concert. Sadly, Goessling, a musical jackof-all-trades and benevolent soul, passed away in October. We honor his spirit by keeping the music and memories close to our hearts as the band weaves their trademark epic tapestries on a swirling, swaying Saturday night. Memories of some sweet days/ And some new ones just begun

SHOW US: your full cup

S U N D AY , J U N E 2 3 R D

Bonnie Paine & Friends

10:30 - 11:45am By Sunday, we know you’ve gotten pretty TBF’d up. You’ve raised tents, run tarps, and festivated hard day and night. You’ve partaken in Bloody Mary Monday, Tropical Tuesday, and Rumball Wednesday. You’ve been Friday Flecked over and Saturday Sam slammed. At this point, you may not know your yinjo from your yangdolin. Thankfully, we have just the restorative Sunday-morning gospel set to unify your mind, body, and spirit and to massage your intentions back into alignment. Gather ‘round, festiprayerians, as the delightful Bonnie Paine opens our final day with an abundance of instruments, friends, and third-eye-opening vibes. Bonnie is a founding member of Elephant Revival, the Nederland sextet whose hypnotically organic instrumental interplay and ethereal, life-affirming songs established a passionate community of fans and released four albums of beautiful transcendental folk since 2008. At the center of the Revival was Bonnie, floating her forestsprite vocals over her guitar, flute, washboard, djembe, cello, and musical saw. Under the morning sun, Bonnie will be joined by, among other musical cohorts, fellow Elephants Charlie Rose (pedal steel, banjo) and Darren Garvey (percussion). It will be a Sunday session that specializes in the art of the heart, a euphonious invocation that all everywhere be happy, joyous, and free.


Steve Poltz

The Jerry Douglas Band

Noon - 1:00pm

1:30 - 3:00pm

Telluride has always marched to the beat of its own banjo, and TBF is populated by colorful characters on stage and off. Speaking of which, Vince Herman anawhacked the bejesus out of us in the wee hours last night in the campground, so our tarp-run time was a little sluggish this morning. But you fastestvarians will have a close-up view as we welcome a true musical original and free spirit to Telluride. Steve Poltz has always done things his own way. The Halifax-raised alt-folk singer-songwriter started with zany California cowpunkers The Rugburns before launching his own eclectic solo career and touring the world as an acoustic-guitar-toting, audience-tickling troubadour. With his frenetic fingerpicking, nerdcore vocal twang, conversational lyrics, Emmylou hair, autobiographical storytelling, and fondness for looping pedals, Poltz sets the stage for songs that veer between quirky humor and sensitive earnestness. His approach has attracted both a faithful fanbase and other artists wanting a piece of Poltz’s musical touch and affable charm. In 1995, Poltz co-wrote Jewel’s #1 smash “You Were Meant For Me” (and starred in the video), the 4th-best-selling song of the entire decade. Today, Poltz is touring behind the brand-new Shine On, but as with any of his shows, expect surprises, stories, sing-alongs, and an abundance of smiles.

There is strength in numbers: 31 Grammy nominations. 10 IBMA Dobro Player of the Year awards. 3 CMA Musician of the Year awards. 13 solo albums. 1,600 album credits. And Jerry Douglas hits another big number this year: 35 years at TBF. Jerry first played the fester in 1981, and the undulant waves of his dobro have echoed throughout the valley ever since, providing Festivaria with one of our most moving and indelible soundtracks. What are your favorite Fluxbacks? His first Béla duet back in ‘86? His elegant embroidery of Dan Fogelberg’s songs in ‘93? His mindblowing trio with Edgar Meyer and Russ Barenberg in ‘94? His historical one-on-one with Tony Rice in ‘99? His dobro-deity turns in all-star jams: Strength in Numbers in ‘90, the Thunder Jam in ‘98, the House Band in ‘12? His sidekick licks behind Elvis Costello in ‘09? The headlining showcase with Alison Krauss in ‘07? The monster Zac Brown Band jam in ‘09? Taking Mumford & Sons to the next level in ‘11? Leading the Earls of Leicester in ‘14? The slide-gods faceoff with Derek Trucks in ‘18? Or any of a hundred others? Yes, picking your favorite Fluxy moments is part of being a Jerryin’ Festivarian. The remarkable, seven-piece Jerry Douglas Band have a few more numbers for you on Sunday. Is your next favorite Jerry moment about to happen next? You can count on it.

Borrow a bicycle from the library and take it for a spin.

The First Ladies of Bluegrass:

Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Sierra Hull, Missy Raines & Molly Tuttle 3:30 - 4:45pm Who runs the world? Girls! With the recent explosion of women breaking the grass ceiling (Allie Kral diversifying Yonder Mountain, the super-siren trio of I’m With Her, etc.), it’s clear that the bluegrass future is female and that a woman’s place is in bringing the house down. For our final day, we start with Bonnie’s gospel set and end with headlining sets from Kacey and Brandi. In the middle? The First Ladies of Bluegrass solidify Sunday as a female-centric TBF lineup for the ages. They are the First Ladies because each is the first woman to ever win in their respective instrument categories at the IBMA awards: visionary jazzgrass banjoist Alison Brown won in 1991; fiddle whiz Becky Buller is the only person to ever win in both the instrumental and vocal category, both in 2016; mandolin miracle Sierra Hull is the winner of the last three consecutive awards; journeywoman bass icon Missy Raines won her first of 7 titles in 1998; and guitar sensation Molly Tuttle is the two-time reigning champ. The FLOBs also bagged the 2018 IBMA Recorded Event Of The Year award for the single “Swept Away” from Missy’s new album, Royal Traveller. These ladies are on fire. If Sunday is set aside for reverence, you will, by the time the Ladies wrap up one of TBF’s premiere picking parties, be bowing to Saint Festivaria. And you’ll be convinced that She is a woman.

WRITE IT DOWN: the color of the bike you rode


Judy Collins Martin Sexton Richard Shindell Hubby Jenkins The Accidentals • Lula Wiles May Erlewine • Erin Costelo












and 4 more TBA










Festival Pass: $140 • Single Venue: $45 Early Bird Pricing 10% off before 7/1


Stay connected to your friends by charging your phone at Sunsense.

SHOW US: your full battery bar


S U N D AY , J U N E 2 3 R D

Punch Brothers

Kacey Musgraves

Brandi Carlile

5:15 - 6:45pm

7:15 - 8:45pm

9:15 - 10:45pm

Ahoy!! All hands on deck on Sunday as Punch Brothers hoist the flag at Telluride for the dozenth straight year. At TBF 2007, with Captain Chris Thile, the greatest musician of his generation, at the helm, first mates Noam Pikelny (banjo) and Gabe Witcher (fiddle) came on board to launch a new progressive bluegrassical crew of ocean-sized talent and kindred musical spirits. How to Grow a Band became Punch Brothers in 2008, and with the additions of Chris Eldridge (guitar) and Paul Kowert (bass), embarked on a philharmonic voyage into uncharted musical waters, making waves throughout the industry, creating a rising tide that lifted musicians everywhere, and becoming Telluride mainstays. It’s been a windfall of ship-shape recordings: 2008’s Punch, a mix of newgrass skippers and ironclad originals; 2010’s Antifogmatic, full of clipper-fast picking and awash with chambergrass beauty; 2012’s Who’s Feeling Young Now?, with its give-no-quarter cool-jazz sway and surge; 2015’s The Phosphorescent Blues, an A1 torpedo of literary songcraft and elegant compositions. And now the Punchers are cruising back into Telluride, their hailing port, buoyed by last year’s Grammy-winning All Ashore. So all aboard as the PBs set sail into a night of deep compositional dives and celestial instrumental navigation. Tradition-minded Festivarians will recall battening down the hatches a few years in a row while the Brothers played in monsoon conditions. But Sunday, we are calling for fairer skies as Chris & Co. anchor our final day and shiver your timbers from stem to stern.

She was already a superstar with one of history’s biggest debuts: 2013’s Same Trailer Different Park sold over a million copies, won both the Grammy and the ACM award for Best Country Album, and spawned four Top 40 singles, including the Platinum-selling “Merry Go ‘Round” (Grammy winner for Best Country Song) and “Follow Your Arrow.” Those songs helped establish Kacey as a unique voice on country radio—a songwriter with an astute observational eye, a silky voice, and a self-determined heart. 2015’s Pageant Material was another critical and commercial smash, showcasing the Texas stunner’s John Prine-like knack for slice-of-life details, plush ELO-ish arrangements, and Dollyesque gift for sweet melodies. Kacey’s you-do-you lyrical perspective and vulnerable sincerity were fresh breezes across the Americana landscape, and she forged a special connection with Festivarians during a sparkling TBF set in 2015. Then came Golden Hour, an album for the ages that music fans everywhere have long been dreaming of. An instant classic, the album is a dreamy slow burn, a synthesis of Kacey’s small-town twang, progressive lyricism, psychedelic mistiness, and a touch of country disco. Golden Hour was last year’s most-acclaimed record, winning a whopping four Grammys, including Album of the Year, and topping scores of critics’ year-end lists. The lawn will be packed: Find your space, cowboy. Kacey Musgraves is returning to town as one of music’s biggest sensations for a golden hour-anda-half, the perfect soundtrack for a radiant sunset in Telluride.

In 2010, Brandi Carlile made her Telluride Bluegrass debut alongside twin Hanseroth brothers, Tim (guitar) and Phil (bass), launching her soaring 2007 hit “The Story” up to the mountaintops and introducing Festivarians to an extraordinary talent. She came back in 2014 with a passionate, hell-raising set of Fleetwood Mac and Johnny Cash covers and songs from Bear Creek, a Top-10-charting album. Brandi hit her third TBF in 2017 as a trio with the twins, supplying her trademark vocal crack to Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” and a heartbreakingly beautiful version of “The Eye” from the Grammy-nominated The Firewatcher’s Daughter, an album that climbed to #4. Now, just as she has reached incredible new artistic and popular heights, we are thrilled to welcome her back for a 4th time. 2018’s charttopping By the Way, I Forgive You took home three Grammys, and Brandi’s show-stopping performance of the Song-of-the-Year-nominated “The Joke” propelled the song to #1 on the charts, another milestone in a skyrocketing career. Meanwhile, Brandi’s humanitarian endeavors continue to deepen. Her Fight the Fear initiative provides empowerment and self-defense training to at-risk women; Cover Stories, a star-studded rerecording of The Story LP, benefited children affected by armed conflict. By the way, did you catch Brandi’s recent cameo in A Star is Born? She is, indeed, a shining star, and as the stars overhead offer celestial blessings on the end of the 46th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Brandi’s voice will extend an exhilarating farewell for now.

All artist bios written by Steve Leftridge, a St. Louis-based writer, teacher, and musician who has written for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, PopMatters, and No Depression and has attended TBF since 1997.


Visit the KEEN booth and participate in their calling campaign.

GET AN AUTOGRAPH: from someone at KEEN

Get an autograph at a Country Store artist meet-and-greet.

SHOW US: your artist autograph


Making the most of the shortest nights of the year, the NightGrass series continues the 39-year tradition of the After-Hours Jam in intimate venues around Telluride and Mountain Village. On Wednesday afternoon, ride the free gondola to Mountain Village for the 11th Annual free outdoor FirstGrass Concert in Sunset Plaza featuring Jon Stickley Trio followed by the jamgrass supergroup of Ben Kaufmann & Adam Aijala (of Yonder Mountain), Andy Thorn (of Leftover Salmon) & Stephen Mougin (of Sam Bush Band). Then head over to the Telluride Conference Center as Leftover Salmon celebrate 30 years of poly-ethnic cajun slamgrass. For the rest of the weekend, Telluride’s most storied venues host sold-out indoor shows—including the historic Sheridan Opera House, the legendary Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, and the state-of-the-art Palm Theatre (inside Telluride High School on the west end of Colorado Avenue). Tickets to NightGrass shows are completely separate from Festival tickets. Again this year we sold all NightGrass tickets through a single online lottery in April. As always, we welcome your comments about this online lottery system for NightGrass ticketing.



Free FirstGrass Concert: JON STICKLEY TRIO AND BEN, ADAM, ANDY & MOJO Outdoors at Sunset Plaza, Mountain Village 5-8pm • All-Ages







SIERRA HULL & MOLLY TUTTLE Sheridan Opera House 11pm show†

YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND Sheridan Opera House 11pm show†

STEEP CANYON RANGERS Sheridan Opera House 11pm show†

PUNCH BROTHERS Sheridan Opera House 10:30pm show†

LAKE STREET DIVE Palm Theatre 11pm show*

RAILROAD EARTH Palm Theatre 11pm show*

ROB ICKES & TREY HENSLEY BAND Fly Me to the Moon Saloon 11pm show*

HORSESHOES & HAND GRENADES Fly Me to the Moon Saloon 11pm show*


LEFTOVER SALMON Telluride Conference Center 9pm show • All-Ages



GREENSKY BLUEGRASS Palm Theatre 11pm show* JON STICKLEY TRIO Fly Me to the Moon Saloon 11pm show* * Strictly 21+

† 21+

unless accompanied by a parent


Visit the Avery booth in Greentown to enter their NightGrass Coloring Contest for daily ticket giveaways.


Attend our FirstGrass concert in Mountain Village.

TELL US: your favorite song you heard


If Sam Bush is King of Telluride and Telluride Tom is the Mayor of Town Park, then Scott Spencer was the Godfather of the Front of the Line. With a radiant smile, boisterous laugh and laid-back demeanor, he orchestrated a diehard group of Festivarians committed to front row real estate by turning chaos into camaraderie. Scott died in an avalanche while backcountry skiing in the Matterhorn area near Lizard Head Pass on March 3. He was 53. Scott’s family moved to Telluride in 1979, where his father, Peter Spencer, became mayor, ran a newspaper and wrote a popular, witty column in the Norwood Post. Peter and his teen-age son became part of the Road Warriors, a group that parked cars in the valley floor during Bluegrass and other festivals (a practice that ended in the early 2000s). In 1991, Scott began working in the hotel industry, first at the Ice House, then at the Camel’s Garden and finally at Telluride Ski Company. For nearly three decades, he worked closely with Planet Bluegrass to secure lodging for the musicians. Scott was on a first name basis with regulars like Sam, Béla, Tim, Emmylou and the members of Yonder Mountain String Band, forging friendships that stretched far beyond the box canyon of the San Miguel River. The love of his life, Sara Silton, moved to town in 1993 and they wed in ’99. Scott and Sara had two sons, Peter and Jack, who followed their parents to skiing, hiking and music adventures far and wide. Somewhere around 1999, a twentysomething couple from Durango threw their chairs and sleeping bags down in the front of the line next to the guy with the biggest laugh. That couple was my wife, Shelly, and me. We’d spend the next two decades next to the Spencers in line, enjoying cold, rainy nights almost as much as we enjoyed the

music inside. We each had two families—our kin and our extended Bluegrass family that grew each year. Scott assigned our roles: line sitters, sleepers and runners. He took great pride in running each morning, and our tarps were placed with precision each day for 20 years. Scott groomed my buddy Erin Hyder to run for him on mornings he had to work. A former collegiate soccer star and longtime high altitude runner, she has taken the baton from Scott. In the mid 2000s, the Front of the Line Gang turned an Edgar Meyer, Béla Fleck and Mike Marshall set into a festive Sunday brunch. I baked a couple of pheasant pot pies in the Camel’s Garden, Beth Warren brought a poached salmon, and Scott and Sara dipped dozens of giant strawberries in chocolate. This grew into an annual potluck where people brought their best dishes to the front row tarps. Anything was fair game. One year, I made a smoked pheasant gumbo while Scott had a hundred pounds of oysters flown in from the gulf that we battered and fried for Po’ Boys on-site at a food both. We eulogized Scott at least four times this winter—in a twilight torch ski down the mountain, at a party at The Peaks, in a private family ceremony, and again at Alta’s closing weekend. The final memorial takes place Sunday morning on the tarp. We’ll have gumbo and chocolate-covered strawberries to share.

Chris Aaland is attending his 23rd consecutive Telluride Bluegrass this year. He’s a DJ and the Development Director for KSUT Public Radio and a columnist for the Durango Telegraph.


Try your hand at pickin’ in the campgrounds.

TAKE A PHOTO: of your jam

What does the Planet Bluegrass ticketing system have in common with your grandma’s casserole? No, we’re not cheesy (present paragraph excepted). No, we’re not overcooked. Okay, okay, we’ll just come right out and say it: our ticketing is homemade. As long as we’ve been in business, we’ve completed all of our ticketing operations in-house. Until now, this has worked pretty well. But we’ve come to a crossroads: do we continue to DIY as a matter of pride, or do we provide world-class ticketing to best serve our world-class Festivarians? On the one hand, we like being fiercely independent and doing things ourselves. On the other, we’re having a hard time keeping up with the industry. Our peers can do things like offer paperless ticket scanning, ship pre-registered wristbands directly to your home, and provide a platform to directly transfer tickets. Our software is due for a refresh, and we wonder if we’re providing the quality of ticketing experience you’ve come to expect. The decision is an important one, and after months of deliberation we’re turning to you, trusty Festivarian family: what is important to you in ticketing? Do you prefer cloth wristbands to plastic? Are refunds essential? Would you benefit from having a payment plan option? Keep in mind: in turning to a trusted partner to handle our ticketing next year, the one thing you won’t be saying sayonara to is top-notch, in-house customer service. We are committed to outsourcing our tech, not our Geoff! We want to focus our service on Festivarians rather

than computer servers. We also want to honor our Bill of Rights and ensure the price we quote you for a ticket is the same amount you pay at checkout - without hidden fees. Have thoughts on the subject? We’d love to hear them! Feel free to leave comments on the back of your pocket schedule, or send us an email at We look forward to continuing the conversation with you!

This year’s program and pocket schedule are printed on FSC-certified Neenah Conservation paper at OneTouchPoint Mountain States, an FSC-certified printer in Denver. By using this 100% post-consumer recycled fiber made with 100% renewable energy, we saved: 20,260 pounds of wood (that’s 60 trees!); 4,870 gallons of water (more than 390 5-minute showers!); 26,250 pounds of carbon emissions (equivalent to the annual emissions from 2.4 cars); and 203 pounds of solid waste.


Help extend the life of this program by sharing it with your tarpmates, protecting it as a lasting souvenir, or recycling it at the Festival.


Thank a volunteer for their hard work.

GET AN AUTOGRAPH: from the volunteer


Planet Bluegrass would like to thank our Lodging Partners


Telluride Bluegrass June 18-21, 2020 June 17-20, 2021 June 16-19, 2022


RockyGrass Academy

July 21-25, 2019

RockyGrass July 26-28, 2019

The Song School August 11-15, 2019

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival August 16-18, 2019 RESERVE YOUR 2020 LODGING NOW AT

Mabon Celebration

September 21, 2019


Visit beginning in October for details about purchasing tickets through our online lotteries, including Telluride Bluegrass camping in Warner Field and Town Park. All other 2020 tickets go on sale in early December.

Virtual Tarp

Online Survey

web: @planetbluegrass @planetbluegrass @planet.bluegrass

Complete our online Festivarian survey and you’ll be entered to win a pair of 4-day passes to the 47th Annual next June.

Throw down your virtual tarp, commune with your fellow Festivarians, and be the first to hear about lineups, tickets, and giveaways...


Make someone’s day.

TELL US: what you did

For 46 years we’ve been continually refining every aspect of the Festival experience. Your voice is a vital part of this ongoing process.

Profile for Planet Bluegrass

2019 Telluride Bluegrass Festival program  

Official printed program for the 46th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 20-23, 2019) in Telluride, CO. For more info visit:

2019 Telluride Bluegrass Festival program  

Official printed program for the 46th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 20-23, 2019) in Telluride, CO. For more info visit: