Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame
and Uncle Pen Days Festival
September 19-22, 2007
by Mark Blackwell
Back in 1974, Bill Monroe instituted the “Uncle Pen Days” Bluegrass festival to memorialize his beloved uncle and musical mentor, Pendelton Vandiver. Thirty-three years later it’s still going strong and is a fitting way to end the summer and welcome in the fall. This year’s festival gets started on Wednesday, September 19 and goes on through Saturday, September 22.
The talent line-up of over 30 acts spans venerable Bluegrass pioneers such as Ralph Stanley and Melvin Goins, to second generation bluegrassers Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, right up to award winning newcomers Cherryholmes. Also included are favorite acts like Karl Shifflett and the Big Country Show, J. D. Crowe and the New South, IIIrd Tyme Out, the Anita Fisher Band, the James King Band, and the Steep Canyon Rangers. Bluegrass Gospel music is represented by Paul Williams and The Victory Trio and The Isaacs. Music and instrument workshops will be conducted by the many of the musicians that appear on stage.
For the past twenty some years, the Uncle Pen Days Festival has been combined with the celebration and induction of legendary Bluegrass musicians and groups into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame. This year’s inductee’s will be the “Original Carter Family,” who, along with Jimmy Rodgers, popularized recorded country music back in 1927. This special ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, September 22 at the Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Bill Monroe Museum.
The museum is full of Bluegrass music memorabilia. Uncle Pen’s log cabin is on the museum grounds as is a gift shop with recordings, books, movies, and souvenirs.
Uncle Pen Days is more than just a music festival, it is an outdoor vacation experience. The park is beautifully wooded, with a lake for fishing, trails to hike, and clean comfortable campgrounds. There is also a flea market and vendors selling food, souvenirs, and instruments. When groups finish performing they come back to the shelter house for autographs and conversation.
All these activities combined with the mild weather of early autumn in Southern Indiana makes the Uncle Pen Days Festival a memorable experience for the whole family.
Tickets are $20 each for Wednesday and Thursday, $25 each for Friday and Saturday, or a 4-day combo pass can be had for $95. RV camping with water and electric is just $15 dollars a day, while primitive campsites are available for $6. Tickets and information can be had by calling
(800) 414-4677 or going online at <www.beanblossom.com>.