The bright lights of the four-day 47th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival have been fully extinguished for the first time since the festival’s 1974 debut. The festival’s coordinator, Craig Ferguson, enlightened us on Facebook, and The Telluride Daily Planet has confirmed it. Postponements and other options were explored, but sadly, the event’s plans have gone dim due to COVID-19 concerns.
The first Telluride Bluegrass Festival attracted roughly 1,000 participants and was organized by John Herndon, J.B. & Helen Matiotti, Kooster McAllister, and Fred Shellman, all musicians in a local band, Fall Creek Boys. Since then it’s been owned by five different parties and enjoyed ever-growing audiences topping 10,000 people each day. Ferguson of Lyons’ Planet Bluegrass has owned the solstice-celebrating event since 2009.
As previously reported, the decision on whether to run the already-sold-out event was up in the air, but Ferguson and his self-described “Planet Bluegrass Family” felt it better to let the Festivarian Nation know as soon as possible.
On April 9 Ferguson posted on Facebook, “This is the easiest and most difficult decision that Planet Bluegrass has ever made; and, just when we had summoned the courage to finally announce to the world, John Prine passed.” He continued, “It is a devastating realization that the very reason for the existence of Planet Bluegrass is unsafe to Festivarians at this time. And far more devastating for the artists to feel the very purpose of their soul should not be expressed, at a time it’s needed most.”
Ticket holders, who come from all around the world, will soon be contacted directly via email and full refunds will be offered.
At this moment, the on switch has yet to be flipped off for the two other summer music events, RockyGrass in July and Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in August. “We have not addressed the Lyons festivals, and await guidance from Governor Jared Polis on that,” Ferguson said.