Main stage at Telluride Bluegrass 2009
Telluride Bluegrass Festival is held annually in Telluride, Colorado by Planet Bluegrass. Although traditionally the festival focuses on bluegrass music, it often features music from a variety of genres. The first Telluride Bluegrass Festival was held in Telluride in 1974 and was founded by John Herndon, J.B. Matiotti, Kooster McAllister and Fred Shellman who played in a local band called The Fall Creek Boys. The idea for the festival came from the Telluride Fourth of July Celebration in 1973 where Scott Brown organized the traditional Fourth of July Celebration which had its roots back in the early mining days of Telluride when miners would come from many miles for a rendezvous, and gathering that itself goes back hundreds of years as the Ute Indians also practiced a similar gathering in the Valley where they partied, feasted, danced, raced horses, renewed friendships and met young and eligible girls and guys from outside the neighborhood. Scott Brown and George Greenbank, Davy Greever, Burk Thompson, and Ralph Parker built the original stage at Town Park and designated an area for dancing, listening and a food and drink area which is still where the concessions are located 39 years later. The 1973 4th of July celebration was a huge success and everyone loved the music, excitement and fun. It was the beginning of a musical celebration that has done much to renew, save and contribute to our American Bluegrass tradition and music over the years. The ownership of the Bluegrass Festival has passed down over the years five times and is presently owned and run by Craig Ferguson of Planet Bluegrass who has expanded the festival tremendously with a second venue in Lyons, Colorado. In 1974, its first year, it attracted 1000 participants. Currently the festival's attendance is capped at 10,000. According to the Library of Congress, the 1980 performance was filmed by Boulder public television and two CDs were made available.
Notable performers have included Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, David Byrne, John Fogerty, Robert Plant, Chris Daniels & The Kings, Bill Monroe, Nanci Griffith, Mark O'Conner, Dixie Chicks, Sam Bush, String Cheese Incident with Telluride's own Bill Nershi, New Monsoon, Sharon Gilchrist, Railroad Earth, New Grass Revival, Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Nickel Creek, Yonder Mountain String Band, Mumford & Sons, Leftover Salmon, Béla Fleck, Chris Thile, Noam Pikelny, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, Tim O'Brien, Counting Crows, Lyle Lovett, and Alison Krauss, to name a few. The Telluride house band consists of Sam Bush on mandolin, Bela Fleck on banjo, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Jerry Douglas on Dobro, Edgar Meyer on upright Bass, and Bryan Sutton on guitar.
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