Concert honoring Everly Brothers and John Prine slated for Friday in Central City

June 10, 2024 | 12:13 am

Updated June 9, 2024 | 11:44 pm

From 1988 through 2002, visitors worldwide flooded hotels in Owensboro and the entire tristate for the Everly Brothers Homecoming/Central City Music Festival. With deep Muhlenberg County roots, the concerts featured the iconic brothers and the beloved John Prine, along with the likes of Keith Urban, Travis Tritt, Billy Ray Cyrus, and more. 

Central City has established Festival Square, a space adorned with monuments honoring the Everly Brothers, John Prine, and the countless volunteers who made the event possible as a testament to this rich tradition. They’re inviting the community to a dedication of this new space in downtown Central City at 2 p.m. on June 14, followed by a concert at 7 p.m. at the LuRay Park Amphitheater featuring the John Prine Band.

The Everly Brothers, hailing from Brownie, Kentucky, just a few miles from Central City, initiated this concert series. At its peak, the event attracted a staggering 22,000 attendees, creating a beacon of hope, opportunity, and positive economic impact for the struggling coal community. This collective effort eventually led to the establishment of the Muhlenberg campus of Madisonville Community College. 

“The Everly Brothers were at the cutting edge of rock and roll, and their appearance and sound was so unique,” local tourism director Freddy Mayes said. “What an amazing way to pen Festival Square and celebrate Don, Phil, and John – this will be an extraordinary night.”

Prine last performed in Central City in 2019 as part of the “A Night in Paradise” concert. He died the following year, but his songwriting capabilities transcend time, with generations of artists citing Prine as their primary inspiration. 

Though he spent the majority of his formative years in Chicago, his grandparents lived in Paradise, a small coal mining community on the county’s south side — that is, until “Mr. Peabody’s coal train hauled it away.” He recounts several memories of the county in songs like “Paradise” and “Grandpa was a Carpenter.”

“John Prine’s song-writing ability was just phenomenal, and he is praised by so many,” Mayes said. “When you have people like Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson talking about your songwriting capabilities, there’s just something special about it. So, for those guys to call Muhlenberg County home, it’s a nice compliment to our community.”

The concert will feature The John Prine Band with Jason Wilber and Dave Jacques and performances by John’s brother Billy Prine along with Kelsey Waldon. Special guests Brian Wiggins and Joe Hudson will open the show, along with a few surprise guests. 

The concerts were always held at the Central City Little League ball diamonds, with a mobile stage and a hillside for spectators. During the festival’s peak, visitors from across Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America would grace the tristate, often selling out every hotel room from Elizabethtown to Madisonville and Owensboro to Bowling Green. 

Mayes said the new Festival Square saw visitors from the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, and Australia just last week. 

For more information about the dedication or concert, visit

June 10, 2024 | 12:13 am

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