Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration back in 2018?

Veteran Kentucky grasser, Tommy Brown, and his wife, Laura, are spearheading an effort to revive the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration festival at its original site on the Bill Monroe Homeplace.

The festival was launched in conjunction with the opening of the restored Monroe home in Rosine back in 2001. It was held there on that land for more than 10 years before a dispute with the owner of the adjoining property necessitated it being moved to a nearby parcel owned by promoter, Campbell Mercer. It ran there through 2015, but a scheduled event in 2016 was cancelled, and plans to resurrect it this year were scrapped.

People in this part of Kentucky, and across the country, recall Jerusalem Ridge with fondness for its support of traditional bluegrass, and its place in honoring the music and memory of Bill Monroe.

Brown also feels that it could be a dependable source of funding for the Bill Monroe Foundation, who manages the homeplace as a tourist destination. In recent conversations with the Ohio County Tourism Commission, they have learned that they are in support of the idea to bring the festival back, and Tommy and Laura have been invited to speak with the Foundation Board of Directors later this month about it.

Tommy tells us that he doesn’t care who runs the festival, as long as it can return to operation, and on the old Monroe homeplace where it was born.

“Since we posted a note about this on Facebook, I’ve had bands calling willing to play, and folks from as far away as Washington state offering to volunteer. Everywhere we play, people come up and ask about Jerusalem Ridge. They miss this festival!”

In advance of the meeting November 16, Tommy and Laura are asking that people who would like to see the festival return to please contact the Ohio County Tourism Commission expressing support for the idea. A large number of such supporters will be very beneficial in their effort to convince the Monroe Foundation to get involved.

They ask that you contact Jody Flener at the Commission by phone (270-298-0036) or email, or send a card or letter of support to:

Ohio County Tourism Commission
PO Box 22
Hartford, KY 42347

They also suggest contacting the Bill Monroe Foundation directly through Facebook.

The Browns promise to let us know after their meeting how things look. They are hoping that the Foundation will take the lead with a renewed Jerusalem Ridge, but are willing to tackle it themselves if need be.

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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.