Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Foundation wins court ruling

Jerusalem RidgeThe Kentucky Supreme Court has declined a request to review the case over how the name of legendary bluegrass musician Bill Monroe can be used.

This means that the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling stands, and that the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Foundation can continue to use the name of Bill Monroe after the Ohio County Industrial Foundation had asked the court to hear their case over the issue of the use of the name of the Father of Bluegrass Music.

The panel concluded that county officials meant to grant the festival the legal right to use Monroe’s name, but failed to formalize the agreement in writing before a dispute occurred in 2004.

The Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Festival of Kentucky Inc. have wanted to use the name Bill Monroe in promoting the festival that takes place each year in Rosine, Kentucky, on a farm adjacent to his old home place.

The issue isn’t resolved yet, though.

The Ohio County Industrial Foundation and Bill Monroe’s son, James Monroe, have obtained a temporary injunction in Tennessee to prohibit Campbell Mercer, Director of the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Foundation of Kentucky Inc., from using the name.

In a statement Mercer said ……….

“We still have to go back to Tennessee and ask the judge to lift the injunction. There’s a little more legwork. He said in the past that he would give deference to the Kentucky courts. So, we’re hoping when we show him the Kentucky Supreme Court decision that this will all be over.”

The statement continued ……

[The Jerusalem Ridge Foundation of Kentucky Inc. said it plans to] “reassume the Bill Monroe name and to use it to further the tourism and economic development interests of Ohio County, its citizens, the surrounding area and the entire state of Kentucky.”

There isn’t enough time to change the name of this year’s festival, but Mercer expects Monroe’s name to be in the festival’s title next year.

The feud between the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Foundation and the Ohio County Industrial Foundation has been on-going for over a decade and it seems as though it will never end.

Initially, the issue centred on the rights to the Monroe name as used by the now-defunct Bill Monroe Foundation.

This year’s Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Festival takes place from October 3rd through to 6th.

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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.