Check it out, a StoryBlog. I just got back from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival last weekend. I know, the first thing you are probably thinking is "Holy Crap, a whole weekend of Bluegrass, seriously??? Um, what does Bluegrass even sound like???" The good news is that was my thought as well, so you'll get an appropriate eval of it :) My friend Karen decided to join because, well, mostly because she had nothing better to do. And I am psyched she did, she was a blast all weekend, from when we got in the car to when she tripped on the stairs and dumped 2 glasses of water on herself (heh, heh, I needed to point it out). I would not have had nearly as much fun without her! So, to set the stage, our first rule was that as soon as either of us uttered the phrase "I fuckin' hate Bluegrass" we would leave immediately.
There are pretty much 3 things to discuss about this:
- The music
- The locale
- The festival
Let's start at the top. The music was AWESOME. As it turns out, there was not a ton of Bluegrass but rather an interesting mix of styles. Yea, I know, I kept wondering why the hell they would keep so many people away by touting this as a Bluegrass festival.
- The obvious highlight of the show was Bela Fleck. Damn, that dude kicks ass. If you haven't seen the Flecktones live, you are missing out on something that could change your life.
- The next best act was an Aussie chick named Missy Higgins that had a fantastic voice, more folk than bluegrass but she was great.
- I apparently am not up with current music, so I hadn't heard the Decembrists before but loved 'em. Bought the CD. Great and quirky lyrics. DEFINITELY not Bluegrass.
- As far as actual Bluegrass, the best band was the Yonder Mountain String Band. Funky and contemporary Bluegrass. And yea, I tapped my foot (although there was no leg slapping).
- The absolute worst band there was the Drive-By Truckers. A southern rock band that offended the ears. Even worse, they played right after Bela. Ack! Bad, bad, bad idea. I left after 2 songs and couldn't get away fast enough :)
So, the Music was great but my favorite part of the weekend was the Gondola!!! Telluride is on the flip side of a mountain from a town called Mountain Village. Yea, don't be fooled "Village" has no place in it's name for this shi-shi exclusive ski resort. The good news was that we stayed at my friend Julie's house (that had mountain views and a huge hot-tub). For the record, Julie is one of the coolest people that you will ever meet. She lived in Telluride for 5 years and so had many friends there. She welcomed us into the fold and gave us a seat on a tarp (more on the "tarp" below). She kicks ass, if you met her, I guarantee you'd agree :) Anyway, I digress, the Gondola. The way we got around during the weekend was call a free car service that drove us to the free Gondola that we rode up and over the mountain (did I mention shi-shi?). There was something completely peaceful about it, especially at night. Even better, we stopped at the top of the mountain one of the nights and saw the stars at 11,000 ft. Ah. Lastly was Telluride itself. It is in an enormous box canyon. So, picture this: huge cliff walls, red sunset touching cotton ball clouds, Bela Fleck gettin' down, and a crowd that couldn't get enough. It was glorious.
Finally, there was the festival. The craziest part about this whole deal is trying to get a seat. The concert was in a big field. The way you got a seat was laying out a tarp. Now, this sounds easy, but, um, there were a LOT of tarps. So, they devised a vaguely sadistic system to allow people to claim a spot. Each morning at 10 everyone lines up to get a number for their running groups (yea, you heard me, running). They set up in groups of 50. Line up against a rope. The rope is dropped and everyone sprints with their tarp and when they find a free space close to the stage they throw out the tarp and jump on it to claim a spot. Even better, people sleep out all night next to the river to get the best spots. Now, taking this to its logical conclusion, people then just set up schedules of people to immediately go back to waiting in line after they get a spot and wait throughout the day into the next morning to get the next spot. Yea, very entertaining, who knew hippies could be competitive. The bizarre tarp flinging system aside, the festival was done incredibly well. They cleaned the field every day. There was tons of port-a-johns that were cleaned and supplied twice a day. Lots of food booths. Free mountain water. And lots of clif bar samples. Whoever organized this festival deserves an award.
To sum it up, I can't wait to go back next year!