If you hear the words "music festival" and immediately feel a looming sense of agitation at the crowds, the excess, the towering logos, you would do well to visit any of the events nominated for Music Festival of the Year in this year's Pollstar Concert Industry Awards: Fun Fun Fun Fest, Electric Forest, Newport Folk Festival, Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival and Telluride Bluegrass. All are places where fans matter more than anything else.
So it is particularly impressive that our hometown entrant, Telluride, won the category in a ceremony held over the weekend at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. You can see a complete list of this year's winners at the bottom of this story.
In his acceptance speech, Craig Ferguson (president of Planet Bluegrass, which organizes the festival) spoke of Telluride's history:
"A while back someone called me and said that the Telluride Bluegrass Festival had been nominated for Pollstar Music Festival of the Year. I, of course said, 'Who the hell is this?'
"It’s such an honor to be recognized by the industry for what we do…One of the things about our festival that is so important is the artists who have played there — in some cases for 42 straight years: Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer and Tim O’Brien...I’m pretty amazed and I really appreciate it. Some of you out there must be mandolin players! Thank you very much.”
The award was presented by comedian Ralphie May, who on reading the category's winner said, “I love bluegrass music! I love Telluride! Love Colorado!”
Us too, Ralphie. Us too.
Telluride Bluegrass 2015 will be held from June 18 to 21. It will feature Kacey Musgraves, Yonder Mountain String Band, Lake Street Dive, Hot Rize and several of the bluegrass legends Ferguson mentioned in his speech.
Major Tour Of The Year – Paul McCartney
Most Creative Stage Production – Katy Perry
Comedy Tour Of The Year – Dave Chappelle
Best New Touring Artist – Sam Smith
Major Music Festival Of The Year – Austin City Limits Austin, Texas
Music Festival Of The Year – Telluride Bluegrass Festival Telluride, Colo.
International Music Festival Of The Year – Glastonbury Festival United Kingdom
Nightclub Of The Year – 9:30 Club Washington, D.C.
Theatre Of The Year – Ryman Auditorium Nashville, Tenn.
Arena Of The Year – Bridgestone Arena Nashville, Tenn.
Red Rocks Award Best Small Outdoor Venue – Greek Theatre Los Angeles, Calif.
Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue – Hollywood Bowl Los Angeles, Calif.
Best New Major Concert Venue – Forum Inglewood, Calif.
International Venue Of The Year – The O2 London, United Kingdom
Facility Executive Of The Year – Sally Williams Ryman Auditorium - Nashville, Tenn.
Nightclub Talent Buyer Of The Year – Roger LeBlanc Canyon Club / The Coach House / So. Calif.
Talent Buyer Of The Year – Brian O'Connell Live Nation Nashville
Bill Graham Award Promoter Of The Year – Charles Attal C3 Presents
International Promoter Of The Year – Barrie Marshall Marshall Arts
Third Coast Agent Of The Year – Kevin Neal WME
Bobby Brooks Award Agent Of The Year – John Huie Creative Artists Agency
Independent Booking Agency Of The Year – The Windish Agency
Booking Agency Of The Year – WME
United Kingdom Booking Agent Of The Year – Emma Banks Creative Artists Agency UK
Personal Manager Of The Year – John Silva Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age
Road Warrior Of The Year – Gus Brandt Foo Fighters, Pharrell Williams
Lighting Company Of The Year – Bandit Lites
Sound Company Of The Year – Clair
Staging / Equipment Company Of The Year – Stageco
Transportation Company Of The Year – Rock-It Cargo
Video Company Of The Year – Moo TV