What makes Telluride Bluegrass Festival so unique? Telluride Bluegrass 2024 Review - Festy GoNuts!
Leftover Salmon | Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2024 | Josh Elioseff

What makes Telluride Bluegrass Festival so unique? Telluride Bluegrass 2024 Review

by Jul 9, 2024Featured, Reviews

What makes Telluride Bluegrass Festival so unique? Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2024 Review

The 51st Telluride Bluegrass Festival took place in Telluride, Colorado, June 20-23, 2024.  Headliners included Charlie Crockett, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Sierra Hull, Sam Bush, Sierra Ferrell, Lyle Lovett, Molly Tuttle, and MANY more!

 

Words and Images by Josh Elioseff | Dancer Productions Photography

Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2024 | Josh Elioseff

Sierra Ferrell at Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2024 | Josh Elioseff – Dancer Productions Photography

What makes Telluride Bluegrass Festival so unique?

Start with the music, it is the primary focus after all.

Over my 14 festivals (and one no-fest year celebrating from home with KOTO), there has been no shortage of mind-blowing acts, from Sierra Ferrell to Steve Martin, Robert Plant to Emmylou Harris to a Mumford and Sons set that started in the snow and ended in the sunshine. Funk and rock and jazz and blues and classical and country are intermingled with the traditional and anything but traditional sounds of bluegrass and newgrass, making a patchwork quilt to blanket your mind in musical possibilities. So many surprises, so many magical musical moments and collaborations, so many notes to fill the air, so many lyrics to drown the valley in words as we listen intently to capture every letter.

 

Peter Rowan & Sam Bush | Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2024 | Josh Elioseff

Peter Rowan & Sam Bush | Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2024 | Josh Elioseff – Dancer Productions Photography

Some might say the scenery. It’s absolutely breathtaking. Even more stunning than the view from the crowd, the view from stage provides the artists with even more inspiration, with soaring snow capped peaks and a giant waterfall vying for attention. The sheer joy they exude when they bear witness to the natural beauty permeate the stage atmosphere and electrify their performances.

It might be the weather. Although most notice the bad, I would point out the sunshine, the balmy 70-degree days and easy cool evenings, and those perfect blue skies. I would make note of the unpredictable nature of weather. I think it’s the promise of at least a few sunny sets and perfect moons that brings us back. I’ve seen fires and floods, hail, sleet and snow, and through it all we stick around and celebrate…

Can’t forget about the staff, the hardest working bunch in the business. Between the festival grounds, Nightgrass, Firstgrass, and everything in between, it’s a wonder that they get any sleep at all, and yet they get up and do it again. I have been blessed with unique access, and I have seen many tough situations absorbed with grace under fire. I have seen them rise to every occasion, tackle every setback with determination that the show will and must go on. Rainstorms bring hail, hail brings a flooded field. They will be the first to point out that rainbows will happen next and the music returns. That is the nature of Fest. And the nature of Planet Bluegrass, seeking to preserve and hold Telluride Bluegrass for generations to come.

 

Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2024 | Josh Elioseff

Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2024 | Josh Elioseff – Dancer Productions Photography

Most importantly, it’s the people. That unique, well-behaved and courteous class of individuals known as Festivarians. They are wonderfully weird and welcoming folks that will tell you how many years or decades they or their parents or grandparents have been coming to this festival. There are newbies too, many of whom discover the communal nature and gorgeous environment and join our yearly pilgrimage. Catering to the multitude of generations that have graced this valley for this festival for 50+ years, their wants, needs and idiosyncrasies, is what will help this festival go for another 50 years. There are camp heads and organizers and forum and messenger groups filled with caring and attentive attendees that make sure everyone, from veterans to first-timers, have their voices heard and have a place to feel comfortable.

The newbies can’t always promise that they will return. It is proven that the ones who return are the ones who already have. These are the voices of wisdom, the ones who spend their hard-earned money and time to ensure that the true voice of this festival, arguably the most spectacular annual festival that this country has seen, will reverberate across canyon walls for many more generations to come.

Change always comes. The only promise many of us can make is that we will try to join our chosen family again next year at this beautiful spot. It will be 15 years capturing TBF for me next year and it seems like a good year to go out with a bang. Just might hang up the photography hat and grab on tight to a microphone and a harmonica or two. You never know… I just hope the Planet keeps listening and bringing us the special experience that we keep returning for.

 

Thank you for all the opportunity and joy.

 

~ Josh Elioseff (the Dancin’ photographing harmonica-playing singer/songwriter)

Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2024 | Josh Elioseff
Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2024 | Josh Elioseff
Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2024 | Josh Elioseff

Here are few shots of Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2024 from Josh Elioseff – Dancer Productions Photography – for more, visit our Facebook Gallery!

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