LEXINGTON, Ky. (January 15, 2013) – Lexington is using this year’s 40th anniversary of the Festival of the Bluegrass at the Kentucky Horse Park to create a weeklong celebration called Best Of Bluegrass to highlight the area’s live music scene, creativity and connection to authentic Appalachian culture.
The BOB events take place June 3-8 at venues around Lexington as well as the Kentucky Horse Park where the traditional festival this year for the first time receiving Lextran shuttle service support. They were announced today by local music, civic and city leaders including Mayor Jim Gray during a news event downtown at Natasha’s Bistro.
“Our ultimate aim is to make this an annual celebration uniting existing performance assets within our city – some that are relatively new and some that have thrived since the ’70s,” said Tom Martin of Lexington Area Musicians Association.
Festival of the Bluegrass was created by the Cornett family and is carried on today by Roy Cornett and his wife AnnaMarie.
“The mission of our festival has been to celebrate Appalachian culture through traditional bluegrass music,” Cornett said. “But we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of BOB and help it grow as well as getting people to our event.”
Mayor Gray described BOB as a natural connecting of the dots among already existing community assets.
“This is a very exciting development for our city from a tourism and economic development perspective,” Gray said. “Our goal is to eventually make our storied bluegrass region the home of the bluegrass industry’s big events – including their two-day convention and awards show.”
The week’s themed activities will begin Monday, June 3, with a bluegrass music guest at the “Woodsong’s Old-Time Radio Hour” taping at the Lyric Theater. Tuesday’s event is the regular weekly bluegrass music Southland Jamboree behind Collins Bowling Center on Southland Drive. Wednesday is the regular “Red Barn Radio” show taping at ArtsPlace on Mill Street with the Thursday Night Live at Cheapside Park on June 6 featuring a bluegrass performance.
Festival of the Bluegrass on two stages at the Kentucky Horse Park campground includes at least 20 scheduled performers beginning Thursday evening and continuing through Sunday afternoon. Saturday will feature Seldom Scene and headliner The Masters of Bluegrass featuring Del McCourey, J.D. Crowe, Bobby Osborne and others. More information is at festivalofthebluegrass.com.
Various national and regional bluegrass artists will perform in prominent locales – many in the downtown Lexington area. And BOB will also feature numerous “hands on” workshops with some of the top names in bluegrass music.
An eclectic mix of entities are involved, including the Lexington Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, Cornett-IMS, Downtown Lexington Corp., LAMA, LFUCG, Lextran, Natasha’s, Smiley Pete Publishing, Red Barn Radio, Southland Jamboree, Willie’s Locally Known, and Woodsongs – with to be announced later this year.
“This will bring a wealth of new visitors here, given the popularity of the bluegrass music genre and our region’s already world-class allure,” said Jim Browder, president of Lexington’s Convention & Tourism Bureau. BOB could become an exciting annual lure for regional tourists, Browder said.