ROMP Festival Preview
June 22-25, 2016, Owensboro, KY
By Matt Wickstrom
For the last 13 years some of the world’s best bluegrass musicians have descended upon Yellow Creek park for the ROMP music festival, hosted by the International Bluegrass Music Museum located a stone’s throw away in downtown Owensboro, Kentucky. The festival is known not only for it’s stellar and eclectic bluegrass lineups, but their family-friendly atmosphere and easy access to artists as well. This year’s festivities begin Wednesday, June 22, and run through Saturday, June 25.
The 2016 lineup for ROMP is headlined by Old Crow Medicine show, The Del McCoury Band, Jerry Douglas, Infamous Stringdusters, The 23 String Band, and Kentuckian and mandolin legend Sam Bush, among several others. The Infamous Stringdusters will likely call upon the services of another ROMP artist, Lee Ann Womack, to sit-in for a song or two, with Womack (along with other prominent female musicians) having been featured on the Stringduster’s latest album, February’s “Ladies and Gentlemen”.
Each night of the festival will also feature after-parties late-night at the nearby Pioneer Village, nestled in the woods of Yellow Creek Park. The Travelin’ McCoury’s and Lil Smokies will grace the stage Thursday night, followed by Jon Stickley Trio and Town Mountain on Friday night. ROMP 2016 comes to a close Saturday night with late-night sets from Billy Strings and Old Salt Union. Billy Strings recently released his self-titled debut EP on June 10, and Old Salt Union released an EP titled “Cut & Run” in March.
Several ROMP artists will also be hosting workshops throughout the weekend, including Sam Bush, Jon Stickley, Andy Hall of Infamous Stringdusters, Jerry Douglas, and Dave Howard of 23 String Band, among others.
Aside from the workshops, ROMP also offers a kids zone to keep the little ones entertained throughout the day with family yoga sessions, arts and crafts, an introduction to harmonica with Art the Dude, and much more.
The International Bluegrass Music Museum, which puts on the festival, will also be hosting a music and film festival at their museum in the heart of downtown Owensboro, running during the entirety of the festival. At noon on June 23 the museum will hold a ground-breaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction on an all-new museum and hall of fame complex, which will include a 450 seat concert hall, recording studio, 2,000 person outdoor concert area, teaching rooms, rooftop restaurant, and much more. The project is projected for completion in 2018.
With the workshops, family activities, and events at the museum coupled with a lineup that most bluegrass fans could only dream about, ROMP is a festival that should be on every music lover’s bucket list. Bluegrass music has deep roots in Kentucky, and with the success and precedent set by ROMP those roots continue to grow deeper and deeper.
To purchase tickets to ROMP, view the full artist lineup, daily schedules, directions, or gather any other general information, visit rompfest.com.