Name your favorite sets, artist collaborations, on the Main Stage and Nightgrass

:wave friends,

Since we have a little bit of time on our hands these days, it would be great to channel back to the magical box canyon and relive some music memories over the years. So let’s hear some favorite musical memories from back in the day. Let’s get down to some details as well and hear a lil bit of what hooked you.

My first Telluride was in 2001. Never listened to a lick of bluegrass in my life before then. I was finishing up grad school in LA and was looking for a celebration. My buddy, Josh, lived in Boulder and had been to TBF many times - “come on down, i’ve got you a free place to stay and you’ll have a blast.” I made the drive :drive from LA without hesitation.

Second act, Thursday - RAILROAD EARTH. Needless to say I was hooked for life :hop :hop :hop. Then leading up to Saturday, I kept hearing about this legend, somebody known as the King. What the heck is going on here? A KING? Well, we all know how they played out… :concert ( I even have a mustard jar lid autographed by Sam himself).

Hope everyone is safe and healthy - let’s all stay that way and send our best vibes to those that need a boost, whether physically :sick or financially.

I miss you!



I have shared my story before, but this is as good a time as any to relive it. My first year was 2010 when I attended after years of hearing occasionally from a friend (who was not as enthusiastic as she should have been) that we should join sometime. Within a few hours of the opening of Thursday, there was no doubt that this festival is just “something we do now”. I was completely hooked. But the moment that lives on in my memory most strongly was Sam’s set on Saturday night when we had a magical experience during “Circles Around Me” as new friends all came together… those who had been struggling were able to relax, dance, and enjoy. Kids of our friends all came together to dance and hula hoop, a new friend who had been trying to learn to hoop all of a sudden “got it”, and we all danced and loved and celebrated as the sun set in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It may not be have been one of the best ever Sam sets, but we fell in love and never looked back.

Good Thread Billy!

My favorite main stage set was 2011. My first TBF.

I went with a couple of female attorneys and was hoping to impress one of them. We went in on a condo that I likely still cannot afford. We got bounced around and ended up at the River Club. Which is awesome. Private shuttle to the festival, hot tub. Steam shower. Well the ladies were much more impressed with the town then the music. I was blown away by both. I spent most of my time taking in festival in all ways.

Sunday arrives for what I was told ahead of time were “the most anticipated sets” with Mumford and then Robert Plant and the Band of Joy. As we know 2011 got cold as piss and that is what fell out of the sky. I went home during Mumford, listened to KOTO and took a steam shower. Incredibly neither of the ladies wanted to see any music Saturday or Sunday. So, not a match. I rode solo back to see RP and the band of Joy. What a joy it was! Freezing cold temps, snow beginning to fall and Telluride. It was a life altering experience. I yelled at the top of my lungs at one point “I AM IN MORDOR”

I knew at that moment that I would be back but in Town Park. Though looking back I am super glad I didnt have to pack out in the snow.

2015 and every year since (til 2020 :huh) I have been in Town Park. 2015 was the best festival/week+ I have ever and likely ever will have. I met my wife and life long friends that year, so pick any night grass that year. I’ll go with Lake Street Dive.

BE WELL EVERYONE, WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS. And we will all be together soon.

The festivarian connection here brings both tears and wide smiles to me.

I am a newbie, having first joined the festival in 2013. My daughter suggested we go to Telluride, after 2 years of Merlefest (which is the best festival east of the Mississippi, IMHO). So we did. From Bela’s opening set of the 2nd side of Abbey Road (I wrote that, he said), to scoring tickets to the Sunday night Punch Brothers set at the Sheridan, I was hooked, in the best way possible. I so recall Sam’s Saturday night set, when it was a full moon and the moon rose over the mountains, and the indescribable joy of howling at the moon.

For a couple years after, I pondered whether I could afford the financial cost and time cost to go. But 4 years ago, I added TBF to my ‘must do’ list, along with Merlefest. I schedule nothing around these 2 festivals.

If I had to choose my ‘desert island’ sets, I would choose from any Telluride House Band set, Billy Strings singing “And am I born to die” (the connection is clear to Doc Watson and Merlefest, where my daughter and I were blessed to listen and see Doc’s last performance in 2012), and perhaps the 2017 Sunday morning “We the People” set by Abigail and friends. Especially in these current days, what they offered us rings true then, today, and forever.

Take care y’all and be well.

Main stage, maybe '87 (?) New Grass was on fire

Collaboration, Shawn Colvin, MCC, and Steve Earle in Elks Park, they played each other’s songs and told why they loved that song.

Nightgrass, too late for me :thumbsup

So many to choose from, where to even start. I took a long hiatus from Telluride between 2009-2015 while I was getting divorced and having a daughter. When I went back in 2015, it was all the feels, maybe my favorite fest of all, just because of the magic of experiencing it all again after a long break. Sam’s Howlin at the Moon on Sat night stands out in my mind…the vibe in the crowd was amazing as always…and then we took the bus down to the Palm for my first of many Greensky Nightgrass shows (haven’t missed one since!).

:wave Hi Billy! Lets see so many epic moments and so many years.

Willie Nelson
Michael Martin Murphy
James Taylor
Johnny Cash
Bonnie R
David Byrne
Robert Plant
Keb Moe

so many epic performances too many to list. I remember just before Johnny Cash took the stage, I turned to my friend and said, a little too Country for me. Then he stepped out and he owned me I had to scrape my lips off the floor. EPIC with a capitol somethin.

Every year I think its the best festival I’ve been to but probably the stand out was my first year ( 2015). Apart from how incredibly kind, friendly and welcoming everyone was, I also discovered bands and music I’d never heard of to my delight.

Didn’t really know any of your bands apart from the big names, I didn’t care, I wanted to see how you guys put on a bluegrass festival.

Sugar connected via the forum, he could tell I knew nothing and was super kind and gave me some inside info on bands I shouldn’t miss.

He told me to definitely go into the lottery for Greensky Nightgrass shows. I managed to score and I went along to hear them. I had never listened to a single track of theirs before but you know, try anything ( even that crazy crunchy frog but that’s another story)

There I was at a show that blew me away. I could not stop dancing. Met Passport there, we danced a lot - start of a lifelong friendship and the beginning of an annual meet up ritual.

I still remember how that room just moved all night, it was incredible.

They came out for an encore and , I swear this is true, I randomly said “ they should play Dancing in the Dark by Springsteen


One of the best gigs of my life. I still love them to pieces and despite their gigs in Australia being cancelled for the second year in a row I know I will see them again in the valley.

And we will all meet again and it will be the biggest party, I miss you, the TBGF has created such a circle of love in my life. Don’t any of you dare die during this crisis. Stay home, play great music. We will be there together again. :blue_heart::green_heart:

Ps as I’m getting old my original post forgot what song was encore. Sheesh

Yo Billy!! :wave Freaking awesome man! :rock

I can’t think of what set or song influenced me the most. I have such a poor memory it kinda blurs together. But off the top of my head it was probably the first time I heard Sam, and when he played ‘Circles Around Me’ I got all weepy but didn’t want people to know. :bag Then howling at the moon, the energy was amazing! :dog The House Band, Dusters, GSBG, are among those that blew my mind. Like you said, I had very little of bluegrass in my life. I couldn’t believe how good the music was … I couldn’t (and still can’t) wipe the smile off my face! :rollin

BUT … what hooked me was the Community!!! :hop

My first TBF was 2015. Recently split from my now ex-wife, I had wanted to attend for years and jumped in after some prodding from a friend. I bought a 4 day plus camping at High school and started getting on this forum for months before hand. I got all kinds of good advice from people with names like Hippie, Hooch, Hot Sugar, Telluride Tom, Complete John, the Lorax, BillyBeru, AnythingAtAll, a Pirate, a guy named Swander who I think is a Viking, and some lady from Australia who also was a newbie but was quickly making friends on this forum, plus, plus, plus, … and those are just a few! :thumbsup :medal
Normally I’d be wary of advice from a Hooch or a Hot Sugar! :lol

I decided to get into Town Park instead of the High school, and that move changed my life! Flying solo I think some of the more experienced campers must have felt sorry for me as they gave me a spot to set up. :welcome I quickly found out the magic of ‘camping in the mountains with a song in our hearts’! Everyday was unbelievable, so soothing to the soul, so many awesome people who were so friendly and helpful! Great music in camp, everyday was filled with new experiences, and the festival hadn’t even started yet. Billy I was hooked before Thursday came! :burn

My seasoned camp mates made sure I didn’t miss anything, and the festival itself was filled with such good energy from the fans and music from the stage. I went to night grass every night, slept in line and experienced it all to the fullest! Like AF said, we danced through the GSBG night grass and have continued that dance each year since! And yes she did guess that encore at our first GSBG show!! :thumbsup :dance

Now, like many of you, I buy my pass before knowing who will play. We know that Ferg, Steve, Brian and the rest of the Planet Bluegrass team will put together another incredible lineup and they never disappoint. This is by far the best run festival I have ever attended. However, if not for each of you, especially those of you who camp, it would not be anywhere near as festive, soul stoking, or rejuvenating! :flower I come because of you, the music just adds to the experience like mustard on a corn dog!! :horsey :dancing

I love you all and can’t wait to see, hug, and festivate with you once again!! :concert
Be smart, stay safe and that day will come :peace

There’s just so much over my last 39 years I can’t cover it all here in just a few words.
It would take up half the forum.
But here’s a few highlights I just have to mention:

Doc and Merle Watson together for the last time.
Bill Monroe the father of Bluegrass
John Hartford cruising through the crowd playing his fiddle.
Tony Rice singing his heart out.
The Boomchicks set with Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck.
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band hollering out “It’s a full moon” as the moon rises above the stage.
Being “Best Man” at numerous weddings during the festival.

The many lifelong friends I’ve made and lost. :angel

All the Town Park traditions that have come and gone over the years.

Spending half my life in one special place that will live on in so many memories with the best people on the planet. :love

Love you. That captures it perfectly

Billy, my first TBF was also in 2001 and I will never forget the Joh Hiatt set. I believe Sonny Landreth was with him for that set. For an encore John appeared on a completely block stage with a solitary spotlight on him. He was the only one on stage and played “Have a Little Faith in Me” accompanying himself on piano. The sound of that beautiful piano and lyrics of that song echoing in the box canyon was simply life changing! I have tears in my eyes as I type this! :pirate

Then in 2006 the Sammy set where he played” Whole Lotta Love” with Byron House on Lead vocals was pretty earth shattering as well. Of course that may have had to do with an over indulgence of a certain “Hippies” Mushroom Marinara sauce…not sure but…it could have been a contributing factor!

Which reminds me…that Certain Hippie…was one of the biggest reasons I kept coming back. I miss Hippie! :angel