Looking for something to do on your getaway? Between the ever-popular Autumn festivals in Kentucky to the foot-tapping bluegrass Kentucky music festivals, we know you’ll find something to love in The Bluegrass State.
Jerusalem Ridge (every year in September)
Four days of live performances by Bluegrass bands and individuals from across the country, many of whom played with or knew Bill Monroe personally.
This beautiful, peaceful, and majestic setting is where Bill, Charlie, and Birch Monroe grew up and learned the roots of what was to eventually evolve into what we know as bluegrass music. Their formative years on Jerusalem Ridge, the sounds and sights of nature, the honest, backbreaking farm work and logging, the trials and tribulations, the joys and the heartaches, all provided a rich source of subjects and material which became the inspiration for many of Bill's songs and firmly established his legacy as the Daddy of Bluegrass Music.
ROMP Bluegrass Roots and Branches (every year in June)
ROMP celebrating the Roots & Branches of Bluegrass and it is hosted by the International Bluegrass Music Museum. The festival is known for its stellar line-ups, friendly camping atmosphere, and easy access to artists, takes place in June in Owensboro, Kentucky.
ROMP is beloved for its gorgeous setting. Yellow Creek Park, a 150-acre facility famous for its raptor rescue centre, winding creek and fishing lake, sweeping tree-lines, nature trails and vast grassy fields, is very much part of the spirit and festival culture that brings thousands to ROMP each year.
W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival (every year in June)
The W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival has become one of the largest free music festivals in the nation, drawing attendants from just about every state and many countries. The festival is a celebration of the life and legacy of Henderson resident and “Father of the Blues”, William Christopher Handy.
The festival books some of the hottest national and local blues talent each year. The opening day of the festival is highlighted by the “Taste of Henderson Barbecue” where you can enjoy barbecue of all varieties sold by local teams and listen to great live music in Henderson’s Central Park. Live music at the scenic Audubon Mill Park on the Henderson Riverfront continues every night from Wednesday evening to Saturday night. There are a host of other events throughout the week as well, including a Mardi Gras-style Street Strut, Handy Lunch Breaks at local eateries, lectures, dance classes, and much more.
Festival of the Bluegrass (every year in June)
The annual festival of the Bluegrass takes place in Lexington, Kentucky. Every June, the campgrounds of the Kentucky Horse Park metamorphose into the hills and hollers of the Appalachian Mountain.
The story behind the festival is almost as compelling as the festival itself. In 1974, Bluegrass aficionados Bob Cornett and his wife Jean debuted their event in a Central Kentucky field at Walnut Hall Farm. The venue may have been Woodstock-like in its humble origins, but the line-up was anything but. Cornett – a wily entrepreneur with a folksy approach – believed that to have something big you had to offer something big, and he did just that. That first year, he booked Ralph Stanley, a Virginian who, along with his brother, billed themselves as the Clinch Mountain Boys. Then for good measure, he threw in Bill Monroe, “the Father of Bluegrass” and the pride of Rosine, Kentucky.
Thirty-nine years later, Cornett, an octogenarian, is still heavily involved in the festival he created, although today it is run by his grandson Roy and Roy’s wife Anna Marie. They are backed up by four generations of Cornetts (50 immediate family members who are present at every festival.)
Railbird Festival (every year in August)
Lexington’s world-class music festival (rock, Americana, blues, folk and more!) takes place annually on the beautiful grounds of Keeneland. A Kentucky extravaganza through and through, Railbird is catered around music, bourbon, culinary and equine experiences. In 2019 a total of 31,000 visitors attended the inaugural Railbird Festival coming from 49 states and 11 foreign countries.