The sunrise Tarp Run is the great Bluegrass leveler. Baby boomers in faded tie dye and flowing skirts sprint from the entrance toward the stage to claim a spot with their ground tarps while young parents, babies in tow, follow close behind. The young professionals in from the big cities try to compete for a spot in front, but it’s the longest standing fans that always get the best seats. The competition of the daily Tarp Run, however, is really just an illusion because there’s no bad seat when the venue is the Telluride box canyon surrounded by the snowy peaks of the San Juan Mountains. As the famous jazz trumpeter, Dizzy Gillespie once said, “If Telluride ain’t heaven, then Heaven can wait.”

This four-day music festival originally had its roots as a Fourth of July celebration. Traditionally, the holiday was celebrated raucously in the small mountain town with fireworks and live music. However, in 1972, the celebration got out of hand, and the town of Telluride cancelled the celebration for the following year. Instead, a local bluegrass band, the Fall Creek Boys, played a family-friendly concert which has grown into the internationally renowned annual gathering of the best of New Grass, Bluegrass, and Country music in the world.

This weekend, June 15-18, 2017, is the 44th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival featuring Jason Mraz, Norah Jones, Dierks Bentley, and Brandi Carlile, among others. Previous notable acts have included such famous names as Willie Nelson, the Dixie Chicks, Robert Plant, Mumford and Sons, and many more. From campground culture to intimate Nightgrass shows at venues around town, festival food vendors and  jam sessions on Main Street, this iconic festival is one bucket list item that you have to experience.

The 2017 Telluride Bluegrass Festival takes place from June 15 – 18, 2017. Follow @telluridedotcom on Instagram to get a taste of the festival, and tune in live to KOTO’s Live Coverage of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival to join in even if you’re far away from that beautiful corner of Colorado.

What We Believe

We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More