If you have a strong interest in the roots of bluegrass music, you might consider a trip this summer to Owensboro, Kentucky. It is not only home to the International Bluegrass Music Museum (IBMM), but also plays host to the River Of Music Party (ROMP), sponsored by the IBMM. Originally held on the banks of the Ohio River, ROMP is traditionally held the last weekend in June.
The museum has inter-active exhibits, posters, costumes, and memorabilia, along with live instrument demonstrations, and also houses the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. The non-prophet organization was founded in 1991 as a tribute to the pioneers of bluegrass music and the people who made it great. The museum experience begins with a tribute to Bill Monroe, and proceeds with a timeline that follows the roots of bluegrass music, from the Scots-Irish string bands to camp meetings and gospel quartets, through fiddling conventions, the jazz era, and the folk music revival. There is a large selection of stringed instruments on display throughout the museum, along with a showcase of historically significant instruments and the folks who crafted them.
June 22 – 25 this year marks the 13th annual ROMP Festival. Each year this bluegrass/Americana music features a stellar line-up of acts in a friendly camping atmosphere. The festival also includes original arts and crafts, farm-to-table healthy food vendors, and professionally-led children’s activities. The Yellow Creek Park, a 150-acre facility famous for its raptor rescue center, makes a gorgeous setting for this event. Acts scheduled to perform this year include, Old Crow Medicine Show, Marty Stewart, Del McCoury Band, Steep Canyon Rangers, Sam Bush Band, Della Mae, Infamous Stringdusters, and Town Mountain just to name a few.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their instruments and jam with ROMP artists day and night, or dance until dawn at awesome after-hours parties, featuring national acts on the cabin stage in the park’s rustic Pioneer Village. Artist-led instrument workshops will take place throughout the day, giving musicians the chance to interact and teach fans and players of all ages and skill levels.
ROMP is the annual fundraising event supporting the International Bluegrass Music Museum. Museum admission is free to all festival attendees.