Bob Redford passes

Bob Redford, one of the original founders of the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, died on December 17. He was 78 years of age.

A life long Kansan, Bob served as the President of the Walnut Valley Association for more than 40 years. Their festival at Winfield hosts some of the most prestigious instrumental competitions in the United States. Their National Flat Pick Guitar Championship is perhaps the most cherished prize in that universe, as is the National Finger Pick Guitar Championship, National Bluegrass Banjo Championship, National Mandolin Championship, and similar contests for autoharp and dulcimer.

Bob Redford at the Walnut Valley Festival in 1987

Redford helped organize the festival in 1972, which went on to be named Bluegrass Event of the Year by the IBMA in 1999. Like the Galax convention in Virginia and the one in Wesier, ID, the Walnut Valley Festival has reachd the level of popularity where it is generally described by its location. Contestants and fans regularly ask each other if they are “going to Winfield.”

Funeral services will be held at Tisdale United Methodist Church in Winfield on Thursday, December 22 at 10:00 a.m. The family will receive friends and well-wishers at Miles Funeral Service from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening.

Condolences to the family, especially having to host a funeral so close to Christmas.

R.I.P., Bob Redford.

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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.