Strummin’ in the rain |

Strummin’ in the rain

April E. Clark
April in Glenwood
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April E. Clark

I can’t seem to make the cut.

If only I could be stuck in the moment a little bit longer. But I know at some point I’ll have to say my goodbye. With a quick snip of the scissors, off will go the sparkly blue wristband that had more power last weekend in Telluride than a fist-sized gold nugget. Back to reality.

As “realistic” as rafting, going to weekly jazz concerts in the park and playing kickball all summer in Colorado can be.

The Telluride Bluegrass Festival is the biggest thing to happen to me since the introduction of the gyro to summer festivals. Although I’m not quite as dedicated as the Festivarians in the group we lodged and shared some tarp space with, I still love Telluride Bluegrass and everything for which it stands. There is literally peace, love and happiness all wrapped up in one big bouncy ball of bluegrass-inspired fun. It would be an understatement to say the festival’s music is phenomenal. This year’s line-up was no exception, featuring Elvis Costello, Sam Bush, Emmylou Harris, David Byrne, Yonder Mountain String Band and Railroad Earth, just to name a few.

I’d go just to see Emmylou Harris.

What I truly enjoy about this festival is the duration of each day. There’s something about going from morning to night, listening to world-renowned bluegrass pickers, eating festival food and enjoying the ambiance. People dance and enjoy the sounds to their own rhythms. Some twirl, some shake, some bounce and some just tap their feet to the beat.

That’s what’s so beautiful about music. Like art, appreciation is subjective. For me, bluegrass is best experienced with friends whooping it up around me. With a dreary forecast of rain, I was a little uneasy going into Saturday. I feared there wouldn’t be the fun typically found at the festival’s fairgrounds. Obviously I don’t know TBF Festivarians well enough.

The fun must go on, rain or shine.

In the last few weeks, I’ve developed a whole new outlook on rain. I used to think rain was a big, wet spoiler of fun. Especially when it came to outdoor music festivals. And when tubing, which never made much sense to my friend John Palmer. Whenever we headed out on the river last summer and feared rain, he would always say, “I don’t understand that, you’re wet anyway.”

Standing out in the elements Saturday – with the San Juan mountain range hugging me like an old friend and rain drops kissing my face like my dog Elwood – I felt happy. The rain seemed to fall to the rhythm of the bluegrass, collecting in small pools on blue tarps as sandals splashed through them. Umbrellas and rain gear kept everyone from getting too wet, but the beauty of it all was no one seemed to mind. Just like how I didn’t care how wet and dirty I would get as a kid while making mud pies.

How boring would life be if we didn’t get a little messy along the way?

Lately I find myself wishing for rain, so I never really know what to plan. I like the idea of being spontaneous, and if that means throwing on a plastic poncho to shield me from a downpour of rain while I enjoy the outdoors and live bluegrass, then so be it. Rain can be refreshing that way, putting me in the state of mind where I’m ready to grow.

With all my garden of Telluride Bluegrass Festival friends right there with me.

Bluegrass in the rain is one of my new favorite things.

April E. Clark would like to make it back to Telluride this summer for another wonderful festival. She can be reached at

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