Best Perennial MVP: Sam Bush
There are two can't-miss acts at Telluride: the Sam Bush Band and the one-of-a-kind Telluride House Band, which Bush leads on mandolin alongside Béla Fleck (banjo), Bryan Sutton (guitar), Jerry Douglas (Dobro), Edgar Meyer (bass) and Stuart Duncan (fiddle). This year, vocalist John Cowan was the musical cherry on top. Both bands serve as the main draw for thousands of festivalgoers, consistently providing the most memorable sets and feeding the cult of Sam Bush.
Bush has been coming to Telluride Bluegrass since 1975, when he was playing with Newgrass Revival, and today, he's considered the festival's benevolent king. This Friday (June 24th), Bush will release his new album Storyman nationwide, although the album was available for early purchase to attendees. During his mainstage set, which at one point featured 17 people onstage (including Emmylou Harris), Bush debuted new tracks alongside classics, like Telluride's de facto anthem "Circles Around Me." As the sun set and the crowd sang along, the Telluride scene Bush helped cultivate — built on string music, propelled by innovation, and sustained by community — came to fruition.