The third weekend in March is expected to be a big one for live bluegrass music in downtown Owensboro. The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum is hosting Grammy-winning artist Rhonda Vincent on March 19, followed by the 47th Official Kentucky State Fiddle Championship the next day.
“Bluegrass Weekend in Owensboro” will kick off that Friday when Rhonda Vincent & The Rage will play shows at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Seating is limited to meet requirements for social distancing, and tickets are available at bluegrasshall.org.
Then on Saturday the Fiddle Championship, presented by Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, will begin at 10 a.m. and run throughout the day and into the evening. Tickets are $10 at the door for all-day access to the fiddle competition as well as access to the exhibit space within the Hall of Fame.
There are four fiddle categories ranging from 12-and-under to 50-and-over. In addition, musicians will also compete for the state title in mandolin, guitar, bluegrass banjo, and clogging. More information can be found here.
The Hall of Fame will follow all state and local guidelines with regard to masking and social distancing, temperature checks, and hand sanitizing stations located throughout the building.
“This event lends itself well to managing the number of people in the building because we expect a flow of people coming and going throughout the day,” said Chris Joslin, Hall of Fame Executive Director commented. “It is similar to a sports tournament in that people move in and out of the competition area depending on who is competing at any given time. Hall of Fame staff and volunteers will monitor this throughout the day on March 20.”
Joslin said the Hall of Fame is excited to bring the event to Owensboro.
“Instrument contests like this attract a lot of young musicians and their teachers and provide them something to strive for,” he said. “Fiddling is an important part of our Kentucky heritage, and we want to bring attention to it and highlight the musicians who remind us that this music is alive and well.”
Mark Calitri, President and CEO of Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said: “Visit Owensboro continues to support attractions like the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum that bring state and national attention to Owensboro. Events like this attracting people from across the state and throughout the southeast demonstrate the positive returns from the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum and will generate a nice economic impact for our local businesses.”
Randy Lanham, education director at the Hall of Fame education director, was the state champion fiddler in 1992. Other notable past winners include Mark O’Connor (three-time Grammy winner, six-time CMA Musician of the Year), and Jimmy Mattingly (plays fiddle for Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton).