"10 Shows That Shaped a Scene," Relix Magazine.
Telluride Bluegrass Festival 1990 has been declared by none other than music-industry bible Relix magazine "one of ten shows that shaped a scene."
It's a scene that according to Relix editors began at Newport Folk Festival in 1965 when "folkie Bob Dylan took the stage … plugging in and changing rock music forever" and ended with the 2002 debut of the Tennessee monster festival Bonnaroo, expected to draw as many as 100,000 attendees this year.
Call Telluride Bluegrass the Anti-Bonnaroo, which once again will deliver the well-organized and eclectic mix of performers we have come to expect, from Thursday night's Bonnie Raitt to Friday's indie-rock Decemberists, with Bela Fleck clocking his 25th year here alongside Australian singing sensation Missy Higgins and the Motor City's Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (Bluegrass Impresario Craig Ferguson describes Jones as "the female James Brown").
Added to the mix is Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, who take the stage Sunday morning, for the gospel show, with a sound Ferguson describes as "more African than black blues." For indie fans there's the subtly poetic pop-folkie Neko Case; for longtime "festivarians," who by now constitute what's practically a Bluegrass Family, there's Yonder Mountain String Band, John Prine, the Del McCoury Band and all the stalwarts Tim O'Brien, Edgar Meyer, Peter Rowan, Sam Bush and John Cowan.
And Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers. "Nobody knows who this kid is," says Ferguson of day two's second act, "but I figured, OK, I'm going to give him a shot."
"Musicians onstage presented with this picture-postcard scene often deliver sets far more inspired than they play in clubs and concert halls," writes Rocky Mountain News music critic John Lehndorff of this venerable festival that started back in 1973 with Telluride homegrown Fall Creek Band.
The four-day festival kicks off Thursday, June 15 and ends Sunday, June 18; the full four-day schedule will appear next week in The Telluride Watch.