An Inspiring, Magical, and Unique Experience: A Telluride Contest Entry
My favorite season on Planet Earth cannot rival my favorite season on Planet Bluegrass. Three times a year, I’m transported to where I belong and I relish it, basking in the Colorado sunshine, cooling off in Rocky Mountain spring water, and dancing with thousands of my fellow festivarians.
Every year I go back, I find that, much to my delight, Planet Bluegrass has again raised the bar on the art of sustainable festivation. This year, offsetting the CO2 produced by the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and its artists with Renewable Energy Credits is the equivalent of planting 756 acres of trees. They are also tackling the pollution caused by Festivarian travel, which accounts for nearly 97% of the Festival’s emissions. Every year since they have partnered with Renewable Choice Energy, I have offset the emissions produced from my travels to each festival and have felt great for doing it.
As conventionally produced agribusiness has taken over more and more of our food options, Planet Bluegrass has held firm and maintained that organic and locally produced food is best. All of the dairy and cheese they serve backstage is from Colorado, and this year, their goal is to make three quarters of all the food served backstage organic – a lofty goal at a lofty 8,756 above sea level in the heart of summer. As I sit drinking my free, filtered, local mountain spring water out of my Planet Bluegrass Klean Kanteen, I’m pleased to know that the artists backstage aren’t just being fed, they’re being nourished by local, organic foods.
The Telluride Bluegrass Festival is built around the many artists that define bluegrass as I know it. Every year, Festival veterans surprise me with new songs and new sounds, and comfort me with old favorites. Its bluegrass superpickers encourage me to play my own music; its songwriters, to write my own lyrics; and its celtic and gospel sets, to explore new genres.
This year, I’ll look back to hilarious moments of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival: listening to Chris Thile’s falsetto during Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground, only to discover afterward that he was stung by a bee during the song, which he referred to as “bee-inspired improvising”; hearing Counting Crows cover Madonna’s Borderline ; and being transported by the mellifluous voice of Alison Krauss, only to have her finish her song and remark, in a Kermit the Frog voice, that she wanted a corndog. This year, I’ll also look forward to new memories of the Festival. I’m especially looking forward to the new collaboration that is the cleverly named Three Girls & Their Buddy, to Railroad Earth returning to the Festival, and to the Punch Brothers’ made-for-Telluride bluegrass set.
When I have children one day, and when (not if) I bring them to Planet Bluegrass, I’ll tell them that this is where I first heard Xavier Rudd, when Michael Franti invited him out on stage. I’ll tell them that it was here that I heard the dulcet tones of Emmylou, Alison, and Gillian as the “singing sirens.” And it will be here on Planet Bluegrass, with the Sam Bush Band, that I’ll teach my children to howl joyfully at the moon.