Billy Strings & Chris Thile Duo Set Kicks Off 51st Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival

The two skilled instrumentalists were the first performers on the main stage on the first day of this year’s event.

By Andy Kahn Jun 21, 2024 2:51 pm PDT

Billy Strings and Chris Thile came together to perform the opening main stage set of this year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival. The duo’s performance launched the 51st annual edition of the event held in the scenic Colorado mountain town.

Strings and Thile, who performed a set together earlier this year, kicked off the kick off set with the traditional “I Am A Pilgrim.” Following the opener, Strings, who played Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 2018, spoke to the audience.

“Good morning to you, happy bluegrass,” Strings told the festival crowd. “After about, I dunno two or three years of seeing these festival lineups come out and me not being on it … I said ‘I don’t care, I’m coming anyways!’ [I’m] so happy to be here and then they decided they’d put me to work. So I’m grateful for it.”

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The set then continued with more traditional tunes, “Wild Bill Jones” and “There’s More Pretty Girls Than One,” Bill Monroe’s “Lonesome Moonlight Waltz,” Doc Watson’s “What Does The Deep Sea Say?” and “Groundhog,” among other bluegrass staples. Outside of the bluegrass realm, the pair picked their way through The Moody Blues’ “Nights In White Satin,” The Beatles’ “Rocky Racoon” and Radiohead’s “Videotape.”

“There’s no reason that you can’t have the best weekend of your life right here at Telluride,” Strings exclaimed ahead of the penultimate song of the set, “The Train That Carried My Girl From Town.”

“This has been an absolute joy,” Thile said before the final song of the set, adding, “Billy you’re a marvel.”

The pair then completed the performance with a song well-known around Telluride, “I’ve Been All Around This World.”

The 51st annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival continues through Sunday, June 23. Thile performs with Punch Brothers on Saturday. Listen to audio and view video footage of Thursday’s kick-off set with Billy Strings and Chris Thile.

Audio (Captured by Bootsy Jacobs)


00:00:00
Tom Yaley (See 8 videos)
Billy Strings (See 749 videos) and Chris Thile (See 368 videos)

00:00:00
Tom Yaley (See 8 videos)
Billy Strings (See 749 videos) and Chris Thile (See 368 videos)

00:00:00
Tom Yaley (See 8 videos)
Billy Strings (See 749 videos) and Chris Thile (See 368 videos)
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