OWENSBORO, Ky. (July 14, 2015) — Visiting Owensboro and the surrounding area appeals to bluegrass fans for many reasons. Some travel here for Bill Monroe’s high lonesome sound, while others bring instruments to play at informal jam sessions. That is not unusual in a town where bluegrass is played, and welcomed, just about anywhere.
Bill Monroe was born in nearby Rosine and fans make pilgrimages to the western Kentucky town and pay homage to the father of bluegrass. In Rosine and neighboring Owensboro, the music comes alive at events and impromptu sessions.
“We invite anyone to bring their instruments,” said Shannon Wetzel, executive director of Visit Owensboro. “If music isn’t on the calendar then you can usually find someone, somewhere interested in playing.”
Do just that at the International Bluegrass Music Museum, where visitors from near and far come to play. Some even make the trek across the globe to create the memory.
“It’s not uncommon for international visitors to uncase instruments and play in the lobby,” added Wetzel. “They come here specifically to experience a culture that is part of our lifestyle.”
Visitors to Owensboro have plenty of opportunities for playing and listening to bluegrass at these places and events.
Owensboro Music Center: Come pick and play, watch and listen or shop at this revered music store. Jam sessions happen monthly on the first Saturday. Call ahead to confirm times. 1303 Breckenridge St., (270) 684-2156.
Picking in the Park: Local musicians gather on the Ohio River shoreline for informal jam sessions at Allen Street Gazebo in Smothers Park. Upcoming events beginning at 7 p.m. are July 25, Aug. 29 and Sept 26. 199 West Veterans Blvd.
Downtown Date Night: Share dinner at trendy downtown restaurants and treat your date to live music of all kinds, including bluegrass, on the riverfront at Smothers Park. The music begins on Thursdays at 7 p.m., weather permitting.
Bluegrass on the Banks: The monthly series on the first and third Tuesday runs through September. Music begins at 7 p.m. at Overlook Stage in Smothers Park.
Friday After 5: At this summertime concert series music plays at five venues, including the Bluegrass Jam stage. Bring your instrument or listen to live music of all genres at Smothers Park. Music begins at 6 p.m. with concerts through Sept. 4.
Rosine Barn Jamboree: Enjoy an evening of bluegrass music every Friday through November in the nearby town of Rosine, the birthplace of Bill Monroe. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. 8205 Blue Moon of Kentucky Hwy., (270) 363-3052.
International Bluegrass Music Museum: Bring your instruments and jam on the first Thursday of the month beginning at 6 p.m. Call ahead to confirm dates and times. The museum is a shrine to the preservation of bluegrass with interactive exhibits and displays of memorabilia from iconic stars. 117 Daviess St., (270) 926-7891.
Find out more about Owensboro and Daviess County at visitowensboro.com or call (270) 926-1100. Stay informed of Owensboro events and happenings through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VisitOwensboro.