The Blue Grass Boys are getting back together.
More than 70 members of the band fronted by Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music, are set to reunite in June at the River of Music Party, an annual festival held in Daviess County.
“This is the biggest Blue Grass Boys reunion I’ve heard of,” said Gabrielle Gray, executive director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum, which hosts the party. “This is huge.”
The Owensboro Messenger Inquirer reports that the festival, scheduled for June 23-26, is one of two celebrating Monroe’s musical legacy.
Ohio County, where Monroe was born near Rosine on Sept. 13, 1911 and buried in 1996, is planning activities in September on Monroe’s homestead. Monroe and Bluegrass music will be featured at festivals around Ohio County.
“Our finances here, we have limited resources. … What we’ve planned are activities that we feel won’t be too difficult to handle financially but will express the importance of the occasion,” said Marianne Pieper, executive director of the Ohio County Tourism Commission.
Ohio County officials have planned a Mandolin Trail, where artists will decorate two-dimensional mandolins that will be placed at local businesses. A song writing contest, known as “Come Home to Bluegrass,” is also planned.
“I don’t think we’ve asked one person who wasn’t willing to help,” Pieper said. “There’s a great deal of enthusiasm. People see this as their heritage.”
In Daviess County, museum officials are staging an art competition where the artists create works based on Monroe’s song lyrics. Gray said she hopes the exhibition will be installed by June. Song lyrics will be posted by each work.
“It’s going to be a marvelous art exhibit,” Gray said.
Along with the festivities, officials in both counties are collecting oral histories related to Monroe and bluegrass music. The bluegrass museum is working on two documentaries about Monroe, and officials are interviewing Blue Grass Boys for the project. One version of the documentary will be for schools.