Monday, June 22, 2009

The Pioneers of Bluegrass Music are Gathering at ROMP, the “River of Music Party 09” in Owensboro, Kentucky, June 24-27.

The International Bluegrass Music Museum’s annual festival, ROMP, the River of Music Party, takes place Wednesday through Saturday, June 24-27, at the museum in downtown Owensboro, at the RiverPark Center next door to the museum, and at Yellow Creek Park, on the eastern outskirts of Owensboro, KY.

Bill Monroe, known universally as The Father of Bluegrass Music, was born, grew to manhood, and is buried in Rosine, KY, a half-hour from Owensboro, where ROMP and the Pioneers of Bluegrass Gathering are taking place. Many of the bluegrass pioneers attending ROMP ‘09 played in Monroe’s band, The Bluegrass Boys. Others formed their own groups and took the music he created and they helped to shape - Kentucky’s official state music - to cities, towns & countries far and wide. Together they have grown a bluegrass fan base numbering in the tens of millions in 75 nations. People from all over the world will be in Owensboro to celebrate this occasion.

Over 60 of the iconic artists who were among the earliest practitioners of bluegrass music, a unique American art form, will be coming from coast-to-coast and as far distant as Japan to take part in this event. They are gathering to visit with lifelong friends and to revisit the museum that will preserve their collections, artifacts, and life histories. They will be remembering and re-telling their life histories for old and new fans, telling side-splittingly hilarious and poignant stories on live radio broadcasts, exhibiting their artifacts from lifetimes of performances, performing with their bands onstage and in jam sessions, and being formally honored, individually and en masse. The sheer scope of their combined lifetime experiences in shaping and disseminating one of our nation’s original music genres (of which there are but a scant handful), and the vast numbers attending, make this a seminal, once-in-a-lifetime event not to be missed by anyone who treasures traditional acoustic music.

In 2003 the museum began professionally videotaping the lives of this pioneering first generation, musicians who were professionally playing bluegrass music by the mid-20th century. To date, 170 first-person interviews and nearly half as many concert performances have been filmed, creating a priceless treasure trove -- one of the nation’s most informative and comprehensive folk archives. (For an interview with Video Oral History Project director, Joe Gray, call 502-244-9444.)

Documentary-style films of these musicians will be shown during the “Bluegrass Masters Film Festival” taking place during ROMP and the Pioneers Gathering. From Earl Scruggs to Pete Seeger to The Ozaki Brothers and dozens more, one can learn about their histories from the musicians who shaped this exhilarating, virtuostic music that has spread globally with a rapidly expanding fan base, particularly since the advent of O Brother, Where Art Thou? in 2000. An extensive exhibit of their artifacts will open on June 24 at the museum in the gallery beside the Hall of Fame.

To honor these legendary figures, the museum is hosting a Legends Supper on Thursday June 25, followed by The Legends Concert at 7 PM during which each of the pioneers will be formally introduced and honored for their contributions to bluegrass music. Chattanooga realtor/lifelong fiddle player Fletcher Bright, of The Dismembered Tennesseans (the longest-running bluegrass band still performing) is sponsor of this mega-event. (For an interview, call him at 423-752-0112.)

Wednesday’s events begin with a full slate of performances by “regional” (i.e. within a 75-mile radius of Owensboro) bluegrass bands who have donated their performances to this event. That evening, the much-anticipated “ROMP Kick-Off Concert” takes place at 7 PM at the RiverPark Center and features Marty Stuart & The Fabulous Superlatives, The Del McCoury Band, and Mike Snider. This concert is a gift to the museum from its founder, Terry Woodward, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of his business, WaxWorks. Woodward is covering all the costs of the concert and the museum is receiving all the proceeds from the ticket sales. (For an interview, Woodward can be reached at 270-926-0008.)

Thursday from 11 AM and continuing through Friday night, see the Pioneers in Performance. Those bringing bands and performing onstage include Gloria Belle, Tony Ellis, Dave Verny, Tom Gray, Les Woodie, Eddie & Martha Adcock, Jim Smoak, Jesse McReynolds, Bill Clifton, Jimmy Gaudreau, Paul Williams, Larry Sparks, Melvin Goins, Al Hawkes, Jimmy Cox, Bud Reed, Ralph Reed, David Reed, Ernest Ferguson, Homer Bailes, Roger Sprung, The McCormick Brothers, The Ozaki Brothers, Bobby Osborne, and J. D. Crowe. Many other bluegrass pioneers will be attending, including members of the Hall of Fame.

Friday June 26th and Saturday June 27th the festival will move outdoors to Yellow Creek Park, a spacious and scenic park on the outskirts of Owensboro where most of the national acts will be playing, such as Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Dan Tyminski Band and many others. Festival-goers will be treated to instrument and vocal workshops, a trade show, arts & crafts and instrument vendors, concessions, free tent camping and free parking. Bring a blanket or chair, sunscreen & water. Coolers and picnics are allowed.

ROMP ‘09 is sponsored by the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY. For ticket info and band lineup, call the museum at 888-MY-BANJO, or visit us online at

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

River of Music Party 2009 ROMP

Get ready for a mega Kentucky bluegrass music festival celebrating all things bluegrass. Romp 09 is scheduled for June 24th-27th in Owensboro, KY. This year the excitement is buzzing about the Pioneers of Bluegrass Gathering taking place on June 25th at ROMP!
Not only is this year’s line-up the biggest ever, but the museum
is also hosting between 65 and 70 of Bluegrass Music’s pioneering
generation to attend. These legendary musicians are coming from as
far distant as Japan and coast-to-coast across the United States.

To our knowledge, this is the most extensive gathering
of bluegrass music’s iconic musicians ever held. We warmly
invite and encourage you to attend and help us give these
musicians the honor and recognition they so richly deserve.

Not only are the Pioneers coming to exchange
hugs and stories, they are also coming to perform! Almost all of
them will take the stage at one time or another throughout
the event.

On Thursday, plan to hear Gloria Belle & Tennessee Sunshine,
Roger Sprung & Friends (CT), The Homer Bailes Band (LA),
Eddie & Martha Adcock with Tom Gray,
Jim Smoak & The L A Honeydrippers (IN),
Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys, and
Hall of Fame honoree Bill Clifton with Jimmy Gadreau.

The Pioneers of Bluegrass Gathering is not guaranteed
to be an annual event,so please take advantage of it
happening this year and come if you possibly
can. For a list of artists planning to attend,
please visit our website,,
and click on ROMP. The Gathering is sponsored by
Chattanooga’s pre-eminent fiddler, Fletcher Bright.

Terry Woodward, the civic leader credited with founding
the International Bluegrass Music Museum and helping
IBMA become well-established in its early years in Owensboro,
is once again giving the bluegrass world a major gift.

He is hosting a “ROMP Kick-Off Concert” on
Wednesday, June 24, at 7 PM at the RiverPark Center in Owensboro
covering all the expenses and giving all the ticket sales
to the Museum to help with the preservation of the history
of bluegrass music. The ROMP Kick-Off Concert features
Mike Snider, Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives,
and The Del McCoury Band. Tickets range from $10 to $50 in advance
($20-$60 at the door) and can be purchased
by calling the museum: 270-926-7891. Please attend and
help us make the most of Terry’s gift. Performances leading
up to this concert feature six of our most excellent regional
bands: Blackberry Jam, Mountain Harmony, Grandview Junction,
County Line Bluegrass, Up-N-Gone, and King’s Highway.

The IBMA Bluegrass Hall of Fame plaques honoring
Charles Wolfe and Bill Clifton will be unveiled
and entered into the Hall of Fame on Thursday, June
25, during The Legends Supper. Tickets to the supper
are extremely limited, so please order yours now if you
plan to attend. Following The Legends Supper, Ronnie Reno
will be Master of Ceremonies for the annual Legends Concert,
featuring Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers,
Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain, and Paul Williams & The Victory Trio.
Mid-way through this concert, The Pioneers of Bluegrass Recognition
Ceremony will take place. Each Pioneer will be individually recognized
onstage in a beautiful ceremony. Along with Ronnie Reno, watch
for Valerie Smith, Becky Buller,and Josh Williams, who will be
bringing the Pioneers onstage.

The historic, first-ever Pioneers of Bluegrass Exhibit will open Thursday,
June 25. Nearly all the attending pioneers will have artifacts on display
for a year following the opening. The Phil Zimmerman photographic exhibit
memorialized by his gorgeous book, Bluegrass Time, has been extended for a
second year. All new and renewing members in 2009 will receive this book as
a membership perk, a $25 value. Museum memberships are $45.

For the four days of ROMP, our Bluegrass Masters Film Festival will be
showing documentaries this museum has produced through its Video Oral
History Project featuring 1st and 2nd generation bluegrass musicians. And,
for the first time, on Thursday, June 25, Fred Bartenstein will host an
all-day marathon of interviews with Pioneers emanating from the museum.
These interviews will be carried live on our internet radio station, RBI,
Radio Bluegrass International, which you can access from our website (top
left corner of the home page, click on the radio). Let us know how you like
our new website!

A huge line-up of ROMP performances and an impressive array of instrumental
workshops awaits festivalgoers at Yellow Creek Park, 4 miles outside of
Owensboro, on Friday and Saturday, June 26-27. Throughout much of Friday
June 26 at the park, ROMP will again be graced by rare performances by
pioneering musicians.

Friday: Performances by Individual Pioneers from 10AM to noon on Friday,
followed by The McCormick Brothers, Bluegrass Authority (Les Woodie, Dave
Verny, Tony Ellis & Tom Gray), The Reunion Band, The Ozaki Brothers
(Japan), Williams & Clark Expedition, J. D. Crowe & The New South, Bobby
Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Josh Williams

Saturday: The Harringtons and The Grasstains, Cats & The Fiddler, Kentucky
BlueGrass AllStars, Bill Evans & Megan Lynch, Ronnie Reno & The Reno
Tradition, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, Bluegrass Parkway (Australia), The
Dixie Bee-Liners, The Special Consensus, Grasstowne, Doyle Lawson &
Quicksilver, and The Dan Tyminski Band.

Substantial discounts (50%) apply to Museum Members, Seniors, Students and
Military. Children 12 & Under are free. Camping is plentiful and free.
Advance tickets are on sale at <>, or call the museum toll-free: 1-888-MYBANJO

Please join us here in the bluegrass state for what is certain to be an
amazing four days this June.