Communing with Earl, Doc, Bill, Fred and the spirits of Telluride

1:23 p.m. June 23, Telluride Town Park under happily overcast skies – Sunday at the 40th Telluride Bluegrass Festival has served up a feast for the eyes and ears. Town Park elevated approximately one foot off the ground as the Drepung Monks sang, chanted and danced. It got grounded as miracle worker Bela Fleck talked of his newborn son, Juno Fleck, and played a virtuoso rendition of the entire second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” on solo banjo. The Infamous Stringdusters are onstage now playing “He’s Gone”  and I’m thinking back at those I’ve seen here over 30-plus years who’ve now passed.  I think of Doc and Merle Watson, John Hartford, Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Vassar Clements, Mike Auldridge, Charles Sawtelle, Steve Goodman, John Duffey, Fred Shellman, Johnny Cash, Solomon Burke, Doug Dillard, Dan Fogelberg, Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel of The Band, Roy Huskey Jr., Mark Vann, Michael Hedges and so many others. We lift a toast to them and to the many other beloved musicians, crew members, town residents, family members and friends who’ve stood with us in Town Park and return in spirit every June.

Coming up: Natalie MacMaster, Hot Rize, Jackson Browne and the Telluride House Band. Music is streaming at

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