Telluride Bluegrass for All on KOTO

A Quintessential River View of Telluride Last Week Before the Crowds Arrived

A Quintessential River View of Telluride Last Week Before the Crowds Arrived

Oh yeah, it’s that delightfully delicious time of year again. It’s warm and sunny, lush and green and the rivers are running as fast and deep as a Peter Rowan refrain on a summer solstice night. For many, this is the best time of year in Telluride, Colorado and by tomorrow the population of town will swell to its annual peak as festivarians disembark for the 41st annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

The Telluride Scene the Third Weekend of June

The Telluride Scene the Third Weekend of June

Punch Brothers on Stage at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Punch Brothers on Stage at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival

KOTO Radio Telluride, Colorado

KOTO Radio Telluride, Colorado

People come from all over the United States to soak up fabulous music over a four-day period, a musical extravaganza that features the best of bluegrass and beyond in an unparalleled setting. Best of all, even if you don’t have a ticket to the festival, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the great music and fun-loving ambiance this festival brings.  (This is good news, since this world-renowned festival sells out as fast as you can tune a guitar, leaving many feeling like they’re missing out on one of the best parties of the year.)

Fortunately lots of free concerts take place around town, beginning with the FirstGrass Concert that‘s to be held at Sunset Plaza in Telluride Mountain Village on Wednesday, June 18 from 5 to 8p.m. This year’s kickoff show features the virtuosic, high-energy bluegrass of Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen along with the soulful folk-rock of The Lone Bellow. From Thursday through Sunday, you can enjoy a variety of free performances in Elks Park across from the Courthouse and of course there’s a busker on every corner. Indeed, the whole town and outlying area comes alive during this long weekend that welcomes summer with more than one song in our heart and tons of toe-tapping to boot!

Avery's Tarp Set Up in Wichita, Kansas

Avery’s Tarp Set Up in Wichita, Kansas

Listening to KOTO During Bluegrass in Fort Collins, Colorado

Listening to KOTO During Bluegrass in Fort Collins, Colorado

Amber's Telluride Bluegrass Party in Knoxville, Tennessee

Amber’s Telluride Bluegrass Party in Knoxville, Tennessee

Manning the KOTO Booth at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Laura Colbert Manning the KOTO Booth at a Past Telluride Bluegrass Festival

And thanks to KOTO, Telluride’s community radio station, you can bring this heartwarming music home. DJs are already prepping us with programming featuring fine bluegrass music and once the festival begins, they bring most of the sets as well as artist interviews and some live performances in the studio to all. Everywhere you go in T-ride—in shops, at friends’ houses, in your car—you can tune into the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. The same is true all over the world thanks to the internet. “We buy extra bandwidth for it,” says Ben Kerr, longtime KOTO DJ and station manager. “But I think the most important thing is that it ties the whole community together. Everyone can listen to bluegrass whether they’re in Town Park (where the festival takes place) or not. KOTO’s bluegrass broadcast does a lot to tie the community together. And for those tuning in elsewhere—maybe even far away on their tarps—it brings them into the Telluride bluegrass community, a very special place to be for more than four decades,” he continues.

Thankfully most of the performers allow KOTO to broadcast their sets and in between the audience can listen to interviews with bluegrass legends and up and coming artists alike by the KOTO team. It takes a lot of energy, hard work and coordination with the main studio for KOTO to bring this great festival to you. This year it almost didn’t happen which would have been a tremendous loss for all. Fortunately though this year’s team, headed up by Suzanne Cheavens and Corey Beaton, along with the support of other KOTO fixtures, is ready to bring you the best darn Telluride Bluegrass Festival ever.

More KOTO Doings at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival

More KOTO Doings at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival by Stephen Barrett

So throw down your tarp, fire up the grill, stir up a batch of your most refreshing summertime drink and tune in by pressing your dial button or by pulling up KOTO.org. The party is about to begin. If you’re at all like me, you’ll agree that this is surely the sunniest time of the year in Telluride, Colorado no matter what the weather brings.

T-ride Regulars:  Peter Rowan and Sam Bush

T-ride Regulars: Peter Rowan and Sam Bush

Sarah McLachlan at Last Year's Festival

Sarah McLachlan at Last Year’s Festival

Jerry Douglas:  Another T-ride Favorite

Jerry Douglas: Another T-ride Favorite

KOTO is a local NPR station and one of the few entirely community supported radio stations in the country. Please consider making a contribution to KOTO so that we can keep community radio alive and well in America. That’s also a way of showing your support for Travel Fun, my talk show on travel at KOTO.  Please email me from my Contacts Page with your donation.

 
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