Bluegrass fans from all over will flock to downtown Owensboro this weekend for The Great American Bluegrass Jam. The event will run from Friday-Sunday, with organizers promising an unforgettable experience.
The festivities will include various exciting activities, such as the Kentucky Fried Pickin’ Hotel Jam, the Kentucky State Fiddle Championship, and a concert by The Earls of Leicester at the Hall of Fame. Guests can also take excursions to the Green River Distilling Co, the Bill Monroe Homeplace in Rosine, and more.
“This is a great opportunity to create some energy around the music, the (Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum), and the community — and turn Owensboro into a destination,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Chris Joslin. “We’ve created some irresistible and authentic experiences, creating a tourism economy around the music.”
The Kentucky Fried Pickin’ Hotel Jam will occur at the Holiday Inn Riverfront starting Friday evening and last through late Saturday, allowing bluegrass fans from across the country to gather and play together. Jam sessions will run around the clock, with participants playing and collaborating with other musicians at any time.
At 6 p.m. Friday, the The Earls of Leicester will perform at the Hall of Fame. The band formed in 2013 with a mission to preserve and promote the legacy of bluegrass legends Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. They’ve won a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album and have earned six awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Tickets for the concert are available here.
The Hall of Fame will then host the Kentucky State Fiddle Championship on Saturday and Sunday. Participants can register in advance online or at the competition at no charge. Areas of competition include Flatpick Guitar, Fiddle (Jr, Adult, & Senior), Mandolin, Bluegrass Banjo, Dancing, and Championship Fiddle-Off.
For those looking to explore the birthplace of bluegrass, the excursion to the Bill Monroe Homeplace will be a highlight of the weekend. The day trip is offered both Friday and Saturday, both leaving from and returning to the Holiday Inn Riverfront (tickets and more info found here). Upon arrival in Rosine, the journey will start at the family farm where Bill Monroe was born and will take guests to Uncle Pen’s cabin on a hill. Other stops include the Rosine Cemetery, the Rosine barn for lunch and music, and the new Bill Monroe Museum.
Outside the genre, the museum will also offer excursions to the Green River Distilling Company and provide a complete map of ongoing events, live music, specials, and downtown businesses.
“This genre of music only continues to grow,” Joslin said. “We’re entering the golden age of bluegrass with this next generation of musicians. We’re trying to build a bluegrass economy here in Owensboro with the museum and hall of fame at the center.”