Growing bluegrass festival adds radio broadcasts

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — A bluegrass festival in western Kentucky is branching out to reach a larger audience in more ways than one.

Not only will parts of the Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival in Owensboro be broadcast on public radio stations, those who go will be able to attend more activities including art and yoga classes and the event will also host children's activities for the first time.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports (http://bit.ly/LPB3zV) headline acts at this year's event June 28-30 include Vince Gill, Old Crow Medicine Show and the Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile.

Bluegrass classes on a variety of subjects ranging from picking banjo to writing songs to flatfoot dancing are also available to those who attend.

Public radio stations including WNIN in Evansville, Ind., WKMS in Murray, Ky., WKYU in Bowling Green, Ky., and WAMU in Washington, D.C., plan to air parts of the festival.

"WAMU has a digital channel that's 24-hour bluegrass. And we may add some more stations before it's over," said Steve Burger, vice president of radio and new media manager for WNIN Tri-State Public Media in Evansville.

Last year's event drew more than 15,000 people and this year organizers are aiming to draw more.

Fred Hillenbrand of Evansville helped put together a children's activity center called Beumont Grinn Village. It's centered around puppets and their old-time bluegrass band.

"We'll have puppet shows daily," he said. "And we'll be on the main stage for a few minutes on Saturday."

He said children will have the opportunity to make owl masks, sock puppets and clay pots.

"We have four kids," Hillenbrand said. "And we've been festivalgoers for years. We started Beaumont Grinn Village at Evansville's bluegrass festival at Angel Mounds this year. The people at ROMP saw it and invited us to do it again over there."

He said other activities such as whiffle ball and kick ball likely will be added.

"Kids get in free to ROMP," Hillenbrand said. "And all the children's activities are free. It's a good deal for parents."

International Bluegrass Music Museum Executive Director Gabrielle Gray said people can start their days at 9 a.m. with yoga classes and are invited to participate in painting 20 "enormous owls," where are part of an installation art project.

"What other animal's name starts with 'ow'?" like Owensboro, Gray said. "Plus the after parties are for night owls."


Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, http://www.messenger-inquirer.com

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