TVD Live Shots: Telluride Bluegrass Festival, 6/23

TELLURIDE, CO | 1:10PM: After a delicious lunch at Taco Del Gnar, I wander over to Elks Park and catch a bit of the Troubadour performance by Cecilia Castleman, Billy Huston, and Tim Ostdiek. I love that even if you don’t have a ticket to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, you can still see free shows every day.

2:39PM: Over on the main stage, The Jerry Douglas Band is having fun. They just brought Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive out to cover Sly and the Family Stone’s “It’s a Family Affair.”

3:47PM: Seventeen minutes into their set and I already can’t get enough of the First Ladies of Bluegrass. Comprised of Alison Brown on the banjo, Becky Buller on the fiddle, Sierra Hull on the mandolin, Missy Raines on the standup bass, and Molly Tuttle on guitar, it’s almost as if the term “supergroup” doesn’t do them justice. Each are taking turns introducing each other and playing a song of their selection. It’s Missy’s turn and Alison explains, “As we like to say: bluegrass rules but Missy reigns!”

4:18PM: My appreciation for these master musicians is shared as a guttural “I LOVE YOU” booms from the crowds bringing everyone a laugh.

4:40PM: It just keeps getting better! The First Ladies had a surprise up their sleeves. Actually, they had three: Bonnie Paine, Jewel, and Brandi Carlile! Together, they sing the Eurythmics’ “Sisters are Doin’ It for Themselves.” It’s easily one of the best moments of the entire weekend.

5:38PM: Cheers to the Punch Brothers for their excellent cover of Tame Impala’s “Let It Happen.”

7:25PM: “If you’re not having fun here you’re kind of an asshole.” EXACTLY, Kacey Musgraves! I catch Sam Bush and Jewel laughing—just a couple of the many musicians in the audience to catch her set.

7:46PM: “It smells so good!” Kacey exclaims as the crowd lights up for “High Time.”

8:30PM: I wonder how many Festivarians know that Kacey Musgraves is covering The Flaming Lips right now. It’s a pretty version of “Do You Realize?” especially at sunset.

9:38PM: It’s fitting that Brandi Carlile is closing down the festival, especially after such a solid day of female musicians. She is an absolute treasure and a powerhouse performer. “The first time I played here was in 2010. The show was scheduled on my baby’s due date and I said yes,” she admitted to laughter.

9:50PM: Dierks Bentley and Jerry Douglas just joined Brandi, the twins (the amazing Phil and Tim Hanseroth), and the rest of her wonderful band on stage!

9:56PM: Now she’s brought out her nieces and nephews led by her brother (they’re known as the Small Town String Band). They proceed to sing a few songs, including Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison.” Safe to say that the entire Carlile family is musically gifted.

10:40PM: The guests keep coming: Chris Thile has just exited the stage and now the First Ladies of Bluegrass have joined in on a John Denver medley. What a lovely way to close out the fest.

11PM: TBF46 has officially come and gone and I’m feeling grateful to have had the opportunity to be here. There is something so special about the bluegrass community. In many ways, it’s egoless. It’s communal. And it’s all about the music. At a time when we are saturated with music festivals, this is one of the remarkable ones.

ELKS PARK

JERRY DOUGLAS

THE FIRST LADIES OF BLUEGRASS

KACEY MUSGRAVES

BRANDI CARLILE

TELLURIDE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL, SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 2019

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