2018 Rudy Fest to feature Lonesome River Band reunion

After this year’s flash flooding, no one would have been surprised to hear that Rudy Fest was packing it in. The site in Grayson, Kentucky where the festival is held was inundated with 5” of rain in short order on June 23, causing both flooding and swift water running through the campground just before dark. Vehicles and campers were damaged or destroyed by the flood waters, but fortunately, there was no loss of life.

But giving up isn’t part of the Rudy Fest creed, and they have announced today that they will be back again in 2018 at a new location, with a very special stage show in store.

Rudy Fest 2018 will run from June 19-23, hosted at Poppy Mountain in Morehead, KY. Five full days of bluegrass music are scheduled for the week, including a Lonesome River Band reunion on Friday night. This will be the first stage appearance by the mid-to-late ’90s edition of the band, featuring Sammy Shelor, Ronnie Bowman, Don Rigsby and Kenny Smith in at least ten years.

Not to be confused with the Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival held in September (and going on right now), Rudy Fest will be leasing the space to hold their own event there. You can expect the same Rudy Fest spirit of fun, based on pure bluegrass music, good times, and good friends made over the past 15 years. Festival camping will be available starting June 1 for folks who want to spend the whole month on site.

Leroy Walker with Rudy Fest says that they had wanted to stay close to their Carter County roots, and choose a spot well above the high water line.

“At Poppy Mountain, we’ll be on a mountain top, with 600 camping spots to accommodate our fans. We’re all excited to move into a new spot, and do something special with Lonesome River Band.

We were afraid it was all over after the flood, and really appreciative all of the support from the community to help us come back.”

Sammy Shelor with LRB is looking forward to this as well.

“This has been a while coming. We did a show for Don at the Mountain Arts Center about ten years ago, and that was the only reunion since we parted ways. The show will concentrate on material we all cut together, from 1995-2001.

It’s so good to see Rudy Fest making a comeback. They are the biggest of all the bluegrass festival in Kentucky. There aren’t many that can consistently put 5,000 people in the audience, but they do it.”

Other entertainers booked for ’18 include Del McCoury Band, Rhonda Vincent, The Grascals, Marty Raybon, Rhonda Vincent, and more. Complete ticket information and directions to the new site can be found online.

A Rudy Fest relief festival has been scheduled for October 13-14 in Olive Hill, KY to help the organizers recover some of the financial losses associated with the flood. For more details about that show, contact Cindy Bentley at 740-935-8854.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.