Planet Bluegrass announced the initial lineup for the 36th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival, held the weekend of the summer solstice, June 18-21, in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. This year’s incarnation of the legendary festival features Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Sam Bush, Dixie Chick Martie Maguire, and many, many more. Tickets and camping are on sale now at www.bluegrass.com or 800-624-2422, including a limited number of discounted four-day passes.
2009 marks the 25th consecutive Telluride Bluegrass for twelve-time Grammy winning dobro player Jerry Douglas. Douglas shares this honor with an elite group of loyal Telluride musicians – Sam Bush, John Cowan, Peter Rowan, Tim O’Brien, and Bela Fleck – all of whom return in June. To celebrate Douglas’s 25th festival, he will join the adventurous singer-songwriter Elvis Costello for an all-star acoustic set of bluegrass-influenced music. A frequent collaborator of Costello, Emmylou Harris returns as well, a year after her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Thirteen-time Grammy winning fiddler, Martie Maguire, takes the Telluride stage where her band, country superstars the Dixie Chicks, won the band contest in 1990.
The festival, which was instrumental in the birth of the newgrass and jamgrass genres, continues to celebrate the emerging branches of bluegrass music. Yonder Mountain String Band celebrates their tenth consecutive year playing the festival’s main stage. Railroad Earth adds drums to the stringband format as they return to the festival that gave them their first break eight years ago. After last year’s modern classical-influenced performance, Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile bring an only-in-Telluride set of traditional bluegrass – dubbed “Punch Brothers Play & Sing Bluegrass.”
Known for unique on-stage collaborations, the Telluride magic begins Thursday morning with opening duets from Jerry Douglas and Tim O’Brien. Saturday night, the King of Telluride, Sam Bush, will celebrate his 35th year at the festival as he attempts to outdo last year’s set in which John Oates walked onstage for a bluegrass cover of “Maneater.” The acoustic all-stars who have defined the Telluride sound for thirty-six years – Bush, Fleck, Douglas, Edgar Meyer, and Bryan Sutton – again close the festival as the Telluride House Band.
Throughout the festival the diversity of acoustic roots music will fill the valley. From decorated Australian singer-songwriter Kasey Chambers to recent U.S. country chart-topper Zac Brown Band; from the hilarious song-stories of Todd Snider to the wailing gospel of Americana Emerging Artist of the Year Mike Farris; from the Australian-English world-folk of The Greencards to the gritty bluegrass of The Steeldrivers and Blue Canyon Boys.
For four days, Telluride Bluegrass attracts more than 10,000 “festivarians” from around the world to the historic mining town of Telluride (population 2000), nestled at the end of a box canyon in southwestern Colorado. With non-stop music on the main stage, intimate workshops, late-night “Nightgrass” concerts at every indoor venue, and jam sessions in condos and campgrounds, Telluride’s 2009 acoustic adventure continues the tradition as one of the world’s great music festivals.