John Hartford Memorial Festival
Kansas. The land of Ahs! My father exited the Korean conflict and instead of returning to the coal mines in East Virginia, he, like so many other veterans, took a job with an airplane manufacturer in Wichita, where I was born and lived until I was 8. Kansas is loaded with sweeping prairies, farmlands, alabaster, clay and flint hills, geological anomalies, and Lily B. Moonflower. Lily (Brown) is a rising young star from Lawrence, KS, whose talents are broad, poetic and colorful.
It was different being home this year when we should've been at Bean. The wise call was made to postpone due to pandemic. Fest family came to the rescue with videos, photos, stories, encouraging well wishes and donations. But man, the last nine festivals- they all just go by so darned fast! Sort of like baking the perfect cake and inviting friends over to help you eat it. It’s gone before you know it. We all plan year round to make this festival happen and to attend.
Tune up your banjo and fiddle and dust off the hammock because festival season is just around the corner. In less than 90 days the sound of music floating over the hills of beautiful Bean Blossom, IN at the Bill Monroe Music Park & Campground will be upon us. Folks are talking about the genre busting lineup, the legendary jams and our family atmosphere, all happening on the hallowed ground where Bill Monroe and John Hartford walked along with so many other groundbreaking names in Bluegrass and Americana music.
Hey songwriters and musicians! The John Hartford Memorial Festival invites you to give us your best John Hartford inspired original song for the JHMF10 Songwriter’s Challenge, or/and enter your ensemble in the John Hartford Band Contest! You can win stage time, be considered for booking, $$$ and other cool stuff, but overall, the top four in each category will perform at the historic legendary Bill Monroe Music Park in Bean Blossom IN. Read all about what you can win and get your name out there at www.hartfordfest.com. You’d better hurry, the deadline for entries to both contests is midnight, Feb 28th, 2020.
Nestled in the beautiful hills of Brown County in Southern Indiana, in a little slice of heaven called Bean Blossom, the park is located on a 55-acre tract of land. Bill Monroe fell in love with this small town, and the property he owned, calling it his home away from home for more than forty years. Once you visit, you too will experience the magic of Bean Blossom. Come experience the history, become a part of tradition and find out why so many call this the Mecca of Bluegrass Music.
Ten years ago festival founder John Hotze gathered in Bean Blossom, IN with a hundred of his friends and family and celebrated the life of his childhood friend, John Hartford. This inaugural gathering took place in the most appropriate form of jubilation, that of a festival. The first year included performances from people who worked with, and were inspired by Hartford, and ten years later we are delighted to continue that same tradition. John Hartford was a trend setting, genre bending, creative force that left a culturally rich legacy of musical history.
When I was invited, for the third time, to review the John Hartford Memorial Festival, in its 9th year, I heartily accepted. I also tried to bring people along, because it’s an experience worth sharing. I was at a loss, at first, to explain it. Not just a bluegrass festival. A picking festival? Mostly. But with elements ranging from old-time Americana, root music, classical and rock and jazz- I settled on bluegrass and its extended family. It turns out that ‘extended family’ would come back around a few times.
We are tickled to announce the Hourly Stage Schedule! In a little over a month every stage will soon be overflowing with folks plying their musical wares for you. Over forty bands will be spread over three stages (Hartford, Boogie, Hippy Hill) throughout the Bill Monroe Music Park & Campground in beautiful Bean Blossom, IN. Start planning your festival fun with the help of the hourly stage schedule.
Here we go! It's hard to believe that in less than 90 days our John Hartford Memorial Festival family will be gathering in the hills and hollers of Bean Blossom, IN to celebrate life with music and to honor our namesake, John Hartford, for the 9th consecutive time.