If you love bluegrass, and spend any time in the greater DC area, you probably are familiar with the Old Lucketts Schoolhouse, and the concert series that has been hosted there for the past 40 years. Now known as the Lucketts Community Center, they host the Lucketts Bluegrass concert series every Saturday night from October through April.
The shows really are staged in an old schoolhouse, built in 1913. Concerts are held in the old school auditorium, with classrooms serving as backstage and meet-and-greet. Over the years, almost everyone who plays bluegrass professionally has stood on their stage, before an audience that really enjoys traditional bluegrass.
WAMU’s Bluegrass County has partnered with Luckett’s Bluegrass to record and broadcast these concerts during their Open Mic program. Hosted by Jared Walker, Open Mic airs on Saturday mornings at 6:00 a.m. and again on Friday evenings at 7:00 p.m. A Lucketts show will be aired on the 2nd Saturday of each month, rebroadcasting the following Saturday.
The show tomorrow night (12/20) will feature sets from Jim & Valerie Gabehart and Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass, recorded earlier this year.
Walker did a piece for WAMU’s main radio station last Friday that tells the story of this iconic Virginia venue, the people who volunteer to keep it going, and their concerns about keeping it going into the future.
Although the crowds are healthy, they skew to an older demographic. Lucketts volunteer and live sound engineer Paul Hope says this presents a long-term dilemma.
“The only way I can see [the event] going forward in the future is if we can find someone to pass it on to because we don’t want it to end with us.”
Lucketts Bluegrass Foundation president Paul Garvin says his organization is committed to preventing that, even if that means moving away from the traditional style with which Lucketts has long been associated.
“I look at the goal as keeping the program going,” says Garvin. “If it means going away from the traditional stuff and trending more towards the contemporary we’re going to have to do that.”