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The 39th Telluride Bluegrass Festival Begins Today

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Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2012The Summer Solstice and the 39th Telluride Bluegrass officially begins today. Yesterday afternoon Greensky Bluegrass and Della Mae with special guest Peter Rowan took the stage at Sunset Plaza in Mountain Village for the 4th Annual FirstGrass show. This free show begins the official music of the their gathering of Festivarian Nation in Telluride.

If you missed out on tickets for the sold-out festival, join Planet Bluegrass for the free music at the Elks Park workshop stage in the center of town Thursday thru Sunday. This year's schedule includes Béla and Edgar; a Doc Watson tribute led by Bryan Sutton, Sam Bush & friends; Tim O'Brien, Peter Rowan, Emma Beaton & friends celebrating Woody Guthrie's centennial; a Punch Brothers happy hour; the Telluride Troubadours performing in-the-round; as well as both rounds of the Troubadour contest and the preliminary round of the band contest.

Tickets are still available for the NightGrass shows at the gorgeous Palm Theatre. Brilliant British songwriter Laura Marling with special guests Joy Kills Sorrow open the Palm NightGrass shows on Thursday, followed by Peter Rowan & the Travelin' McCourys with special guest Seryn on Friday, and Drew Emmitt, Vince Herman & many friends of Leftover Salmon on Saturday night. Located on the west end of town at Telluride High School, the Palm is an easy walk from the festival or hop on the Planet Bluegrass campground shuttle or the free Galloping Goose for door-to-door service from the festival grounds at Town Park.

If you are among the lucky Telluride ticket-holding Festivarians, camping is still available at several of their campgrounds: family camping at Telluride High School, the west end of the valley floor at Lawson Hill (open to single-day ticket holders), and down valley at Mary E. / Ilium. For all campers, download the 2012 camper's handbook for complete details and don't forget about showers and gourmet breakfast burritos (8-11am) available at Telluride High School.

Due to extremely dry conditions, the Planet Bluegrass Forest Service has instituted a fire ban that includes the Mary E / Ilium campground. No campfires or charcoal grills will be allowed, and smoking is restricted to inside your car. Propane stoves will be allowed, but please use extreme caution. Regulations will be clearly posted in each campground. Thanks for your cooperation.

Telluride Bluegrass setupWe'll be debuting a special limited edition New Belgium beer in Telluride – Planet Bluegrass Summer Bliss. This German-style pale lager was brewed just for their 2012 summer festivals. The surprisingly malty, clean lager features a subtle hop spicing, perfect for long blissful days on the tarp. Don't miss out – with only 210 kegs brewed, this bliss will soon be only a glowing summer memory.

Our friends at KOTO will again be broadcasting most of the festival online at Tune in for sets from the main stage as well as artist interviews, in-studio performances from Telluride Troubadours, and much more.

Telluride Bluegrass box officeOnce again the collectible 52-page festival programs and pocket schedules are free to all ticket-holding festivarians. Pickup yours at the festival box office. As well, you can now download the complete schedule of all festival events for your mobile device. Find the link at the top of the main schedule page or download the 1.4MB PDF file directly to your phone here.

The music on the main stage kicks-off on Thursday morning with a magical only-in-Telluride wholly improvised set from Béla Fleck & Chris Thile playfully titled "Thelma & Louise." So you'll definitely want to find your way to your tarp by 11am on Thursday.

The forecast is for mid-70s and sunny with a welcome possibility of isolated showers on the weekend. Festival season has begun. We can't wait to see you in Telluride.

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