Best Of Bluegrass Looks To Expand On Popular Festival

Jan 15, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. - 2013 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Festival of the Bluegrass and this year attendees won’t just be flocking to the Kentucky Horse Park for their bluegrass fix.

Credit Josh James

The Festival of the Bluegrass got off to a rocky start in 1974. In fact, Roy Cornett, whose grandparents founded the celebration of Appalachian music and culture, says many people assumed the first festival would also be the last.

"Due to rain, last minute cancelations, and basically lack of experience it was a complete financial disaster, but the community came together and came to them and showed an outpouring of support to where they felt like they had really no choice," Cornett recalls.

Fast forward four decades and the festival regularly draws an estimated 10,000 people over the course of four days.

"And a huge percentage of them show up early before the music shows up, some of them as much as two weeks early," he says.

Now, the Lexington Area Music Alliance is looking not only entertain those early visitors but attract some new faces by expanding the festival to include music at venues across Lexington and a large number of organizations have already signed on: the Downtown Lexington Corporation, Natasha’s, Southland Jamboree, and many others. Cornett says the new event, dubbed “Best of Bluegrass” or BOB for short, is a natural outgrowth of the festival.

"The thing that makes that event so special is the community aspect and that everybody works together to make that event and what we're doing now is bringing together all the separate different parts and making it grow even larger," he explains.

Trolley service will be available from downtown Lexington to the Horse Park and BOB will also feature hands-on bluegrass workshops with some of the top names in bluegrass. The event will run June 3 – 8.