Owensboro: The Bluegrass Music Capital of the World

Owensboro put the work in for decades to become a music destination, and after officially being declared the Bluegrass Music Capital of the World in November, our city is just one step closer to being the hot spot for all things Bluegrass.

Being the Bluegrass Music Capital of the World is more than a declaration, or a name. It’s a promise and a mission that can, and will, fuel Owensboro’s growth–both in tourism and economic development.

As the official destination marketing organization for Owensboro-Daviess County, Visit Owensboro has continued to leverage the positive momentum that’s been leading up to this moment, including the opening of the only Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum on the entire planet.

“Bluegrass Music is not only part of our identity, but a key driver of economic growth and revenue,” said Mark Calitri, Visit Owensboro president.

According to Calitri, so long as Visit Owensboro focuses on driving state- and nationwide attention toward being the worldwide hub for Bluegrass Music, the city and county would see a “positive, substantial economic impact that supports the community and tourism economy.”

Already, Brand USA has named Owensboro as a “Top 10 Music City Destination,” while Rolling Stone recently listed Owensboro as one of seven “Must-Visit Places Country Music Fans Should Flock to Now.” Owensboro Living’s most recent publication focuses on the new declaration. 

“The Bluegrass Museum was key to the city earning that designation and was prominently featured in a professionally created video that was marketed and advertised throughout the world,” Calitri noted.

That video has been watched more than seven million times across the globe, creating worldwide exposure for the Owensboro brand.

According to Chris Joslin, executive director for the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum, visitors everywhere are on the search for something “authentic and compelling” in the destinations they travel to.

“There are so many great reasons to visit Owensboro, and the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum works to be the driver and the differentiator,” he said.
Joslin said there is no competition from other cities when it comes to being a world-class destination for this original, American genre of music. This puts Owensboro at the forefront of an opportunity that can, and should, bring more visitors than ever to our city.

As Joslin noted, the potential for a truly amazing future for both Owensboro and Bluegrass music all comes down to one thing—momentum.

“Exposure is one thing, but what we want is momentum,” he said. “Owensboro simply needs to take the reins to ensure the recognition and the declarations all translate into a great visitor experience.”