This is a big week for bluegrass lovers, and the region, with the start of Rudy Fest. 

The festival runs Wednesday through Saturday. The festival is recognized as a world class event that has really flourished over the last 19 years, with each year getting better. It is held at the Poppy Mountain campground in Rowan County. Money raised during the festival benefits youth sports organizations.

This year’s lineup is big-time: Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Lacy Creek, Hammertowne, The Lonesome River Band, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Dan Tymynski, Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, and Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time, among others.

This is just one of many bluegrass events in our area. The Rattlesnake Ridge Community Center in Carter County holds shows most Saturday nights throughout the fall and spring. The Shriner’s Bluegrass Festival at the Shrine Club Park in Olive Hill is July 11-13. The Sixth Annual Cole’s Bluegrass Festival, at 1288 Greasy Creek in Olive Hill, is next on the schedule on Saturday, Aug. 24.

These events naturally capitalize on one of the greatest exports Kentucky has ever produced - bluegrass. You will find lovers of bluegrass across the nation: in big cities and small towns. They have Kentucky to thank for this magnificent art form. We as a state are the epicenter of bluegrass production. Think Ricky Skaggs, Jason Carter, Sam Bush, and of course Keith Whitley and Bill Monroe. 

The organization and carrying out of all of these festivals, events and concerts are a major undertaking. They represent a very significant contribution to the county and the region. They also make for a significant economic development impact. Lovers of bluegrass are passionate about the music. They come from all across the state and nation to enjoy what we have here, and they will be here this week.

This week we celebrate Rudy Fest and all those who work so hard to make it all happen. We celebrate those willing to come here and enjoy some fine pickin’.

To the organizers, we are forever grateful for all your hard work and express our appreciation for the time and effort. It is one of many examples of why Eastern Kentucky is such a special place.