The inaugural Best of the Bluegrass festival will include everything from traditional bluegrass music to hip-hop bluegrass from Gangstagrass, the group that recorded the theme song for Justified.
"The week of BOB is going to be an event of really incredible music here in Lexington," said Art Shechet, who's on the board of the Lexington Area Music Alliance and the steering committee for BOB.
BOB, a prelude to the Festival of the Bluegrass, will run from June 3 to June 6 and will be at venues around downtown Lexington.
Several staples of the weekly entertainment calendar in Lexington, including the Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour and the Southland Jamboree, will be part of the BOB lineup, and there will be special concerts to add to the festive atmosphere.
"We are incredibly fortunate that we have some anchor events that we have been able to anchor the week of BOB around," Shechet said.
Some of the additional events include the Gangstagrass show at Natasha's June 3, which is billed as the BOB kickoff party. The Justified theme, Long Hard Times to Come, earned the group an Emmy nomination for outstanding original main title theme music. Other acts playing during the week include the Latin-bluegrass fusion group Appalatin, performing June 5 on Red Barn Radio and at an after-party at Natasha's, and Alison Brown, a noted banjo player who will perform June 4 at Willie's Locally Known.
That week, street performers will play around downtown Lexington at lunchtime, and event planners invite other pickers and fiddlers to play downtown at the same time.
The event was created at a LAMA retreat to celebrate the 40th year of the Festival of the Bluegrass and to highlight the Lexington music scene.
This year, the Festival of the Bluegrass, June 6 to 9 at the Kentucky Horse Park, includes an assortment of bluegrass masters, including the Lonesome River Band and IIIrd Tyme Out.
At a news conference Wednesday morning at Natasha's, KET announced that it will broadcast the festival live on its three channels and its website, KET.org. Highlights from the festival will be used in the 18th season of the bluegrass showcase Jubilee, to be broadcast in 2014. This will be the first time KET has ever broadcast a live festival. They will film Flint Ridge Millers' and Appalatin's performance at Natasha's for the series Kentucky Muse.
Planners are also looking at ways to incorporate other genres into future editions of BOB.
"We are very excited about this model," said Tom Martin, president of LAMA and a member of the BOB steering committee. "We want to see if it works, and if it does, our wheels are already turning about ways to carry it forward in the coming years."
BEST OF BLUEGRASS
What: Multi-venue, four-day event in conjunction with the Festival of the Bluegrass.
■ The Cleverlys & the Moore Brothers Band. Special visit from Nancy Cardwell the head of the International Bluegrass Music Association. Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour, The Lyric Theatre, 6:30 p.m. general public, $10; students, $5.
■ Gangstagrass, BOB Kickoff Party, Natasha's Bistro and Bar, 8 p.m. Free.
■ Newtown. Southland Jamboree, Southland Bowling Lanes, 7 p.m. Free.
■ Alison Brown. Willie's Locally Known, 9 p.m. Ticket price TBA.
■ Flint Ridge Millers and Appalatin. Red Barn Radio, ArtsPlace, 6:30 p.m. Admission: $8.
■ Dix River Crossing. Central Library, second floor atrium, 7 p.m. Free.
■ Newtown, Paulie's Toasted Barrel, 9 p.m. Price TBA.
■ Flint Ridge Millers and Appalatin. Red Barn Radio After Party, Natasha's Bistro and Bar, 9 p.m. Free.
■ Bluegrass Collective, Thursday Night Live, Fifth-Third Pavilion at Cheapside, 5:30 p.m. Free.
See bluegrasslex.com for more information.
Festival of the Bluegrass
The 40th annual Festival of the Bluegrass is June 6-9 at the Kentucky Horse Park, 4089 Iron Works Parkway.
Headliners include Lonesome River Band, June 6; IIIrd Tyme Out, 23 String Band, and Daily and Vincent, June 7; Town Mountain, Seldom Scene, and Masters of Bluegrass featuring Del McCoury, JD Crowe and Bobby Osborne, June 8; Gospel show featuring Dry Branch Fire Squad and Kentucky Blue, June 9.
Ticket prices and other information are available at Festivalofthebluegrass.com.