Telluride Bluegrass & A Whole Lot of Mustard
Telluride, oh dear sweet Telluride! This year marked the 44th year of the event and my 27th year at the Bluegrass Festival (I may have missed one or two but that’s really not important) - it's been 27 years dammit. My dad, ‘Pastor Mustard’ was the MC for the first 31 years of the festival, he was there from the beginning. Every other year, either my brother Reuben or I would get to go 4 days early before the festival began with my dad. It was a special time. We’d walk around looking up at him and his shrunken head bolo tie (that gave me nightmares) and we would hold hands under the shade of his signature ‘big hat’. We’d pet the boxes of puppies that the hippies had on each corner and eat hot doggies from street vendors. The whole town would say hi. “How ya doin’ Pastor?!” His response was always “I’m feeling funky baby.” It still is.
Once the festival began my dad was backstage at the Mustard-Mobile 24/7. He was napping, writing, schmoozing, and working. My brother and I would run around backstage eating as much free food as we could and would hound our long time family friends for money so Reuben could get a dragon henna tattoo on his lower back and I could get sun designs around my belly button. To this day Lynn Bush, wife of Sam Bush - the King of Telluride Bluegrass - still gives me $20 per festival. (Thanks Lynn!) For 4 days my parent’s got to see all of their best buds. They’d drink whiskey in coffee from dawn till dusk and for four days my brother Reuben and I would roam free - wild - but not too wild because everywhere we went we’d see our Telluride Bluegrass family. We had good old uncle Rocky by the river who had Bagels, Scott and Becky in their RV with snacks and pot, Megan and Luke with wine, the old guys at camp Run-a-Muck who had mushroom tea…and so on and so forth….
As we’ve grown, our roles have changed. Reuben and I still try to finagle free food from backstage as much as possible and we still pet the hippies puppies on the street corners. But we’ve found our own roles within the festival outside of the legacy of our dad. My brother Reuben as a sponsor, shares Guyaki Yerba Mate tea with the festivarians - a needed and appreciated caffeinated beverage. While my business partner Kelsey and I have a vintage clothing and accessory booth nestled among the many vendors, that have been there for generations! We bring our best vintage clothing finds to Telluride because we know that there - we will find our people. There we will find our friends new and old. In the words of Tim O’brien “It might be the money, or the town that it’s in, but mostly it's the people that make you come back again.” Thanks for another great Fest Telluride. We will be back. Again and again and again.