Telluride Bluegrass Festival kicks off in Mountain Village with a free concert; gondola hours extended

FirstGrass Concert

Words by Nichole Zangara / Event

Grammy-winner Rhiannon Giddens along with her bandmates and the string-infused quintet Fruition will join forces on the concert stage in Mountain Village for the Seventh Annual FirstGrass Concert June 17. As part of the 42st Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival, this free show runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Sunset Plaza, and is made possible by the Town of Mountain Village and Planet Bluegrass.

“Rhiannon is going to be one of the biggest takeaway buzzes of the festival, so it’s a thrill to have her on this FirstGrass lineup,” said Brian Eyster, vice-president of communications for Planet Bluegrass. “She won a Grammy with Carolina Chocolate Drops, her solo record is one of the hottest things of the year in roots music, and just last month she was nominated by the Americana Music Awards for ‘Artist of the Year’ and ‘Album of the Year’.”

After the show, stick around for the 14th Annual Bluegrass Kickoff Party as Yonder Mountain String Band plays to a sold-out crowd at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show beginning at 9 p.m.; all ages welcomed. For those without a ticket, take advantage of the culinary options in Mountain Village.


Festival Transportation & Parking

The towns of Mountain Village and Telluride are connected by a three-stage gondola system starting at Town Hall Plaza in Mountain Village and ending in Telluride at Oak Street Plaza. It takes about 13 minutes to get from one town to the other. During the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, gondola operating hours are from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Expect long lines during peak times. For those needing a ride to their vehicle parked on town roadways, the Planet Bluegrass Bus will pick up festivarians at Town Hall Plaza and drop off passengers near their vehicle. The bus will run Thursday through Sunday from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. To assist with locating one’s vehicle, signs denoting specific parking zones – A through G – will be erected. Vehicles left on Mountain Village roadways after 12 p.m. Monday, June 22 will be towed at the owner’s expense. In addition, Dial-A-Ride will remain open until 2:30 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Since the Town of Mountain Village becomes inundated with parked vehicles during the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the town has set aside specific parking spaces for its residents and businesses from Wednesday, June 17 through Sunday, June 21. Mountain Village residents who have procured a parking permit can park in the Town Hall Plaza Parking lot. Twenty-six spaces located along the rock wall are designated for permit holders and are available on a first-come, first-served basis; overnight parking is not allowed. Additionally, six resident-only parking spaces are located on the top level of the Gondola Parking Garage though residents may park anywhere in the garage. Resident parking permits are also valid in the North Village Center lot; overnight parking is not allowed.

Individuals and festivarians without parking permits must park their vehicles where directed by parking staff once the Gondola Parking Garage is full. The North Village Center pay-to-park surface lot is another parking option though overnight parking is not allowed. Short-term parking will be available for those doing business in Mountain Village; times will be enforced. Alternatively, for those parking, shopping, dining or recreating in Mountain Village, we encourage the utilization of Heritage Parking Garage, located off Mountain Village Boulevard across from Hotel Madeline. The first hour is free and then $2 for each hour until exit, $35 maximum in a 24-hour period.
Common Consumption Area

For the FirstGrass Concert, the Common Consumption Area is in effect. According to state law, consumption of alcoholic beverages in public areas, including Sunset Plaza, is not permitted. Alcoholic beverages may be purchased from licensed establishments and must be consumed on the premises. Please do not bring alcohol into the concert area.