The DC Bluegrass Union has announced that Pete Kuykendall, longtime publisher of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, will be the posthumous recipient of their 2018 Washington Monument Award. It is given each year to an individual who has made significant contributions to bluegrass music in the Washington, DC region.
In addition to his work as Executive Editor of the magazine, Pete was also involved in many other aspects of the business of bluegrass from his home in the DC Metro area. Starting out as a banjo player in the early ’50s, he eventually worked as an audio engineer, recording artists in his basement studio, and as a music publisher, plus as a songwriter, radio host, and show promoter.
Pete helped establish and run the Indian Springs Bluegrass Festival in Maryland, and was among the founding members of the International Bluegrass Music Association in 1988.
Bluegrass Unlimited launched in 1966 as several sheets of mimeographed paper stapled together, with information primarily of interest to fans in the DC market, growing to include articles about bluegrass music worldwide as a full color, glossy publication. The magazine is still published from offices in northern Virginia.
The Washington Monument Award will be given to his wife, Kitsy, during this weekend’s DC Bluegrass Festival in Tyson Corners, VA. Presenting will be former recipient Katy Daley, a fixture on bluegrass radio in DC for many years, and a close friend to both Pete and Kitsy over the years.
Other previous recipients of the Monument Award include Hazel Dickens, Bill Emerson, Lynn Morris, Tom Gray, Ben Eldridge and Eddie Adcock.
Congratulations to Pete, who may have done more to popularize bluegrass than anyone else who wasn’t a full-time performer.