Telluride Bluegrass Festival Announces Initial Lineup For 2017

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Last year, we brought you some exclusive coverage of Colorado’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival, both behind the scenes & in the crowd. John Prine, Dave Rawlings Machine, Emmylou Harris, Greensky Bluegrass, Houndmouth, and Leftover Salmon were some of last year’s standout performances, and Telluride’s famous fest has more magic up its sleeve for 2017.

Life at 2016 Telluride. Photo Credit:   Riley Ann

Life at 2016 Telluride. Photo Credit: Riley Ann

Today, initial lineup announcements were made for what will be the fest’s 44th year. Headliners include Sam Bush Band, Brandi Carlile, and Dierks Bentley with The Travelin’ McCourys. See the rest of the initial announcements on this year’s bill below, and get more info on the fest and tickets here.

Telluride Bluegrass 2017 Initial Lineup Announcement:

Sam Bush Band
Brandi Carlile
Dierks Bentley with The Travelin’ McCourys
Telluride House Band featuring Sam, Bela, Jerry, Edgar, Bryan & Stuart
Dispatch
Yonder Mountain String Band
Greensky Bluegrass
Bela Fleck & Chris Thile
Elephant Revival
Punch Brothers
Hot Rize
Peter Rowan
Jerry Douglas Band
Tim O’Brien
Chris Thile
Sarah Jarosz
The East Pointers
Fireball Mail

-Hannah

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All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Getting Backstage: What It's Like to Volunteer for a Music Festival

Sunset at Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2016.

Sunset at Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2016.

Aside from performing, my favorite way to experience live music is behind the scenes. You’ve seen those people: slapping wristbands down the cattle lines at the Fox and Boulder theatres, standing cross-armed at festival gates, running cables across the stage. More often than not, those individuals aren’t being paid to be there, especially in festival settings. So what’s the glory in all of this? Much more than meets the eye. Despite many of the volunteer jobs being menial labor and requiring long periods of standing in one place (or, worse yet, running gear through throngs of leisurely festival-goers), there are definite perks to the job.

Emmylou Harris.

Emmylou Harris.

Admittedly, my initial interest in volunteering at festivals was fairly self-serving: I’m broke, and I get to see really incredible music for free. However, my experiences as a volunteer have offered me so much more than just a free pass.

Lil' Smokies.

Lil' Smokies.

Last weekend was the second year I volunteered for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. The festival is internationally recognized as a staple bluegrass festival, and yet part of what I love about it is that it’s not exclusively bluegrass. As a volunteer for the Nightgrass staff, I got into the festival for free (and early) and free camping (collectively a $340 value). Aside from that, I got a staff wristband giving me access to backstage and a meal card to get one free meal backstage per day. Altogether, this is approximately a $500 value to volunteer for five hours each night, which is a pretty sweet deal.

Punch Brothers.

Punch Brothers.

The five-hour shifts can be pretty lighthearted (generally really good people are drawn to volunteer positions), but they can also be brutal. You might have to deal with a belligerent drunk guy claiming he ordered a ticket in advance with no record of it; meanwhile his girlfriend has already slipped past security (a theoretical situation, of course… ). Or you might have to be the responsible adult telling people old enough to be your parents that, no, they can’t bring in their own alcohol (yeah, it’s awkward). Or worse yet, you might have to supervise a backstage door, in a dark hallway where nobody walks and you have to resist falling asleep at 2 AM after having been in the sun all day festivaling. As a volunteer, your position still requires the integrity to show up on time and do your job (and sometimes deal with people who bring out the worst parts of your humanity). With all this, you’re probably questioning if it’s really worth it. For me, absolutely.

Houndmouth.

Houndmouth.

The best part of volunteering is being part of this team, this community that puts on such an immense ordeal. Backstage, I walked past some of my musical idols (making an effort to be casual and contain the inner fangirl, ecstatic to be walking right behind Chris Thile). I ate in the same tent as the Stringdusters as if we were colleagues. I stepped out of a Porta Potti and told the fiddler from Mandolin Orange that I really liked their set as she was stepping in the one next to me. I sat in the VIP section for nearly every show on the main stage, including the front row for Ryan Adams and Emmylou Harris, and I sat alongside the artists’ friends and family members (and sometimes the artists themselves), watching country legends like John Prine and emerging pop stars like Houndmouth and The Oh Hellos. I was part of it all.

Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange.

Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange.

If you’re interested in volunteering, do it, but only if it’s because you want to be part of the team. It’s gratifying to be a part of something so immense; something far more valuable than merely a free ticket. A lot of venues and festivals depend on volunteers and unpaid interns for success, so look into the events that interest you, research what volunteer positions are available, and figure out how to apply. It’s an incredible experience for those with their heart in it, and it will always be the second best way to experience live music for me.

Sara Watkins singing with John Prine.

Sara Watkins singing with John Prine.

Learn more about the Telluride Bluegrass Festival here.

-Riley

Find out more about me on my blog.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

I Went to Telluride Bluegrass Festival & It Felt Like I Was In Narnia

By: Sierra Voss

Once upon a time there was a magical mountain town. This town was tucked way, way back into the San Juan Mountain range, surrounded on all sides by a box canyon, and scattered throughout it were cascading waterfalls. One day, the town decided to host a four day Bluegrass Festival. The festival would be made up of mouthwatering food stands, casual mountain-town vibes, and epic music lineups.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival: Magic Vibes.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival: Magic Vibes.

This town is Telluride, CO, and for the past 43 years, the magical story that is the Telluride Bluegrass Festival has been happening every summer in the land that often leaves festival-goers wondering whether they’re at a four-day music event, or whether they’ve been transported to the wonderful world C.S. Lewis’ Narnia.

Walking on Main Street. 

Walking on Main Street. 

One of the best parts about this festival is the diverse range of activities you can take part in throughout the day and night. Festival goers can break up the day by taking a dip in the beautiful river that runs near the fest, or start the morning off with a two mile hike to the famous Bridal Veil Falls. Not the outdoors type? No problem. You can still feel the magic of the place by taking a walk down Main Street and popping into all the fun mountain stores, bars, and restaurants.

Sun hats were key at TBF.

Sun hats were key at TBF.

Strolling through the festival grounds you’ll see people of all ages smiling, basking in the sun, and toe tappin’ to twangy guitar pickin’ tunes. And everyone has some sort of costume, whether it’s a group of girls adorned in badass sun hats or an eclectic gathering of people in Hawaiian shirts, overalls, or American flag everythang. Kids run around spraying people down with squirt guns, while adults head to purchase wine in sippy cups. All of these are part of the magical vibes that you will find at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

Emmylou Harris.

Emmylou Harris.

And then there’s the music. Whoever locked down the lineup for this year’s fest was born to crush. Bluegrass legends like John Prine and Dave Rawlings Machine shared the stage with amazing newcomers like Houndmouth and The Oh Hellos. Every band involved in the fest brought a new energy to the stage as the lineup throughout the four days flowed flawlessly from traditional bluegrass, to folk rock, to Americana and indie rock.

Narnia. 

Narnia. 

Eighty-degree bluebird days quickly turned into fifty-degree moonlit nights. The first evening of the fest, David Rowling Machine kept it somewhat mellow with haunting traditional bluegrass melodies. The following night, Greensky Bluegrass ripped up the stage, mixing controlled bluegrass roots with new chaotic punk rock sounds. The third night was a straight jam sesh, brought by Leftover Salmon. And finally, to close out the fest, we watched an incredible collaboration of artists sharing the stage, including Sam Bush, Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, Bryan Sutton, and Stuart Duncan. Other special performances of note include when Ryan Adams was backed by The Infamous Stringdusters, and when Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek joined John Prine for a beautiful duet.

Views on views. 

Views on views. 

All in all, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival was a mystical amalgamation of nature, amazing music, and good times spent with friends. So was it Narnia? They might just be one in the same…

-Sierra

All photos per Sam Skinner. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Sasquatch Day Three: Leon Bridges Plays a Small Acoustic Set to a Lucky Few, Savages Slay, Mac Demarco Parties (Duh), & The Cure Still Rule

Even with high winds threatening sets, the third day of Sasquatch had its share of awesome festival moments.

Sunday was a rough day here at the fest. The high winds that started early in the day never let up, and cancelled all but the main stage shows. Allen Stone and Tacocat were rescheduled, while Houndmouth, Saint Motel, and Frightened Rabbit’s sets were scrapped altogether. Leon Bridges, a highly anticipated show for many Squatchers, waited out the wind as long as possible, but as threats of cancellations loomed, Bridges actually made his way out to the lawn of the main stage to play some acoustic tunes to a lucky few.

Windy or not, Mac Demarco had a good time The Gorge. 

Windy or not, Mac Demarco had a good time The Gorge. 

Though it was a rough day for artists and festheads alike, there were definitely some highlights:

Summer Cannibals. 

Summer Cannibals. 

Portland's Summer Cannibals were a sunshine and wind-fueled set of rock’n’roll and good times.

Jehnny Beth of Savages. 

Jehnny Beth of Savages. 

The ladies of London’s Savages put on a truly savage performance, dressed in all black. Lead singer Jehnny Beth (Camille Berthomier) jumped from the stage platform into the crowd every other song, making for one of the most kick-ass aggressive sets of the entire weekend.

Yo La Tengo's James McNew.

Yo La Tengo's James McNew.

Yo La Tengo, a band that didn't get the numbers they deserved, were another example of the casualty of festivals booking great bands that get overlooked by the crowd that came for EDM.

Kaleo.

Kaleo.

Kaleo was an unexpected set to stumble on, and a nice surprise. The Icelandic troubadour sounded like a sweeter, prettier, modern-day Hank Williams. His steel guitar was gorgeous, and his playing was beautiful too.

Mac Demarco.

Mac Demarco.

Party boy Mac Demarco lured what seemed like the biggest crowd of the day, possibly due to the timing of the main stage closure, and possibly from people expecting another set like Ty Segall’s.

The Cure.

The Cure.

With the pinnacles of day three over, the sun set across The Gorge and evening entertainment began. Unfortunately, either people lost hope that shows would resume for the night after all of the day’s cancellations, or the majority of Squatchers don't know who The Cure are, because the night’s closing act played to a surprisingly thin crowd. Scheduled for a two hour set, The Cure played just an hour and fifteen minutes chock-full of hits. The sound was incredible; Robert Smith’s voice was just as smooth and perfectly toned as ever. They were true professionals and it was definitely a great performance, but it was a disappointing turnout.

Here’s to hoping the wind dies down for the final stretch. We’ll keep you posted!

All content per Kaitlin Summer for BolderBeat.

All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured. All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.