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Travel Guide to Bluegrass Music in Kentucky

By Edited Oct 10, 2015 0 0

Bluegrass music is Kentucky music. The style attributed to Bill Monroe "The Father of Bluegrass" can be found in every corner of the commonwealth. Any tourist to Kentucky will benefit from experiencing a live Bluegrass show, appropriately enough, in the Bluegrass State. It is not hard to find mandolin players, banjo pluckers, doghouse bass thumpers and fiddle strummers in practically every town in the state. There are many truly unique Bluegrass music venues that enhance the music by providing a relaxing atmosphere in a friendly environment. This travel guide presents some of the best and most historical venues for enjoying an afternoon or evening of the roots music called Bluegrass.

Meadowgreen Park - Clay City, Powell County

This small venue is large on talent! The nondescript metal building sits in a field, but the interior is excellent for Bluegrass music. Rustic wood siding interior, concessions, a large stage visible clearly from all points, and stadium style tiered seating that extends all the way to the rafters make Clay City's Meadowgreen Park a fan favorite. Operating year round, the warmer months allow for outdoor shows in the wide open setting. Everybody who is anybody in the field of Bluegrass has probably played Clay City. Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe, Jim & Jesse, Jimmy Martin, Karl Shifflett & Big Country, and Doyle Lawson are just a few of the countless artists who have graced the stage.

Renfro Valley performance
Renfro Valley Barn Dance - Renfro Valley, Rockcastle County

One of the oldest country music venues in the country, Renfro Valley has something for every music fan. In the 80 plus years of operations, the main facility has been constantly improved and today handles some of the true legends of country music from Loretta Lynn to George Jones. In addition to national and seminational Bluegrass acts that appear on the main stage, Renfro Valley Entertainment Complex organizes a two day Bluegrass Festivals which draws people from all over the world. In 2010 it is scheduled for June and, again, promises to boast some of the top talent in the nation. While in Renfro Valley, Bluegrass fans can visit the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum and learn about all the local talent that Kentucky has delivered to the world through music.

J.D. Crowe's Bluegrass Festival - Wilmore, Jessamine County

From a humble start, the J.D. Crowe Bluegrass Festival has grown with each passing year. Held at the Icthus Farm in Wilmore, 2010 marks the 10th anniversary of this show with scheduled headliners the Grascals and also top notch performers like Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Dean Osborne, and Bobby Osborne. Besides legendary banjo picker J.D. Crowe, artists in years past have included the Moron Brothers, Lonesome River Band, and many more. Expect tons of parking lot picking and singing.

Kentucky Theatre
Kentucky Theatre - Lexington, Fayette County

The historic Kentucky Theatre has sporadic concerts and has features some big name Bluegrass stars in the past. The live weekly show "The Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour" is broadcast around the world and each week offers some great traditional American music. Many Bluegrass artists have played the opulent stage at the Kentucky Theatre and it is a truly splendid venue for music.

Bill Monroe
Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival - Rosine, Ohio County

Already famous for the Bean Blossom Festival in Ohio, the legacy of Bill Monroe returned to the Bluegrass State with a now annual tradition in the town of Monroe's birth. The annual festival in Rosine gives fans a great opportunity to hear traditional music and also learn more about the legendary Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys. Enjoy the restored home of Bill's childhood, Uncle Pen's cabin, the Bill Monroe Monument and more. This summer festival is not to be missed.

There are literally dozens of Bluegrass music festivals in Kentucky every year and many more music halls tucked away in small towns that showcase great Bluegrass music. Any good travel guide to Bluegrass music will include some key spots, but a great travel guide to Kentucky will send someone exploring further off the beaten path, which can lead to some true musical gems. The hills and valleys of Kentucky are truly alive with the music that will never die -- Bluegrass!



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