I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #338

From October 1, 2010 through to the end of September 2011, we will, each day, celebrate the life of Bill Monroe by sharing information about him and those people who are associated with his life and music career. This information will include births and deaths; recording sessions; single, LP and CD release dates; and other interesting tidbits. Richard F. Thompson is responsible for the research and compilation of this information. We invite readers to share any tidbits, photos or memories you would like us to include.

  • September 3, 1965 First multi-day multi-bluegrass band bluegrass festival — The first multi-day multi-bluegrass band bluegrass festival took place at Cantrell’s Horse Farm, Fincastle, just 12 miles north of Roanoke, Virginia. *
  • September 3, 1965 Lamar Grier played his first date with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys at the Roanoke Virginia Bluegrass Festival, Fincastle, Virginia.
  • September 3, 1971 Bill Monroe’s first Lone Star Bluegrass Festival held between Garland and McKinney, Texas.  **
  • September 3, 1972 Bill Monroe was named the Best Mandolin Player in the Muleskinner News magazine poll.
  • September 3, 1983 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys made a personal appearance at the Old Dominion Fiddlers’ Convention and Bluegrass Band Championship, American Sportsman Family Campground, Smithfield, Virginia, during Labor Day weekend.

* Staged by Carlton Haney, the event included the first presentation of ‘The Story Of Bluegrass,’ an illustrated history of the music which reunited Bill Monroe with many former Blue Grass Boys. Participating were Clyde Moody, Mac Wiseman, Don Reno, Jimmy Martin and Benny Martin among others.

Here is some video from this seminal event, almost certainly from the archives of WDBJ television in Roanoke.


** Bill Monroe’s Texas festival took place at the Shady Brook Riding Stables just north of Garland, Texas. The three-day event took place from September 3rd, to the 4th, and 5th.

Also making personal appearances at the festival were Lester Flatt; Jim & Jesse; Reno, Smiley and Harrell; James Monroe; Carl Story; the Goins Brothers; Buck White and the Down Home Folks and local band Stone Mountain Boys, a band that included Mitchell Land among its members.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.