Edgar Meyer, pheasant pot pie and poached salmon
Having been to 13 straight Telluride Bluegrass Festivals, you’d think it would be tough to pick a lone highlight. Suprisingly, it’s not. The 30th annual TBF, held in 2003, was one for the books. I’m part of the Front-of-the-Line gang, a group of diehards who wait in line overnight for prime tarp real estate each day. Friendships, even romances, were born over the years. But ’03 was different. I’d secured a press pass through my work at KDUR radio in Durango and didn’t need to pull line duty. Instead, I honored my compadres by bringing coffee and breakfast each morning. We decided to up the ante for Sunday morning. Rising early, I began baking three pheasant pot pies in the Camel’s Garden Hotel, an inn managed by fellow Front-of-the-Liner Scott Spencer. Beth Warren, station manager at KSUT radio, offered up a whole poached salmon with all the trimmings. We rushed to finish in time for the day’s kickoff: selections from JS Bach by Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, Mike Marshall and Chris Thile. Scurrying into the festival drew attention. One security volunteer glared at us suspiciously, followed us in, and intercepted us at the beer tent. Who brings a service try with three steaming pies, a poached salmon and all the trimmings? Festivarians, of course. Weaving through the sea of tarps, we made it to our second-row real estate in time for Edgar and co. I can think of no greater meal than steaming pheasant pie, chilled poached salmon, a cool glass of white wine, a view of Bridal Veil Falls and four of the world’s top musicians serenading me with Bach. Magical moments like this can only happen in Telluride.
They now happen annually. A year later, Scott and Sarah had their first son, Peter. Jack followed a few years after. In 2007, my wife and I brought our four-month-old son, Otto, to his first Telluride. Now Sunday morning means Father’s Day brunch on the tarp. We may never quite pull it off like we did in ’03, but chocolate-dipped strawberries, pot roast and even bags of corn dogs from festival merchants have made it a rite of passage. 2010? I’m already planning to smoke some pheasant and elk for wild game jambalaya. Stay tuned!