The Birthplace of Bluegrass
If you think Kentucky is only about horses and bourbon, then make your way to the western part of the commonwealth to experience a whole other side: Bluegrass, Blues & Barbecue! You can hear, see, smell, taste and touch it all throughout the nine-county region that earns its name from two musical genres and unique style of cooking that all have deep roots here!
The Bluegrass, Blues & BBQ region gets two of the three Bs in its name from deep roots in music history! The region was home to the legendary Bill Monroe, known around the world as the “Father of Bluegrass.” Today you can tour and visit multiple sites that tell the story of Bluegrass!
In Beaver Dam, Kentucky visit the Bill Monroe Homeplace and step back in time with a guided tour at the beautifully restored Monroe Family Home and boyhood home of Bill Monroe. While in Beaver Dam hop on over to Rosine, Kentucky where you can see a replica of “Uncle Pen’s” Cabin, where Bill Monroe first learned to play music. This rural mini-museum will take you deep into the roots of Bluegrass music. You can also visit the Rosine Barn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, where Bill was known to perform and take in a free jamboree any Friday night! Then complete your visit to Rosine at the famous Rosine Cemetery where you pay your respects at the Bill Monroe and “Uncle Pen” gravesites. Then last, but certainly not least, make the trek over to Owensboro for a visit to the International Bluegrass Music Museum, the only museum of its kind dedicated to preserving and showcasing Bluegrass Music. While there, walk along the Timeline of Bluegrass Music, see significant musical instruments and hear recordings from the earliest days of Bluegrass.
The “Blues” connection comes from Henderson, Kentucky, where W.C. Handy, known as “the Father of Blues” spent 10 years of his life. Handy later wrote that Henderson was where he “learned to appreciate the music of my people” and “then the blues were born.” The city of Henderson celebrates the life and legacy of Handy each year at the W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival. This festival has become one the largest free music festivals in the nation and regularly makes the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Summer events for the entire Southeast portion of the U.S.!