ROMP adding campsites, dancing in June

ROMP is looking at some major changes this year to accommodate a larger – and younger – crowd at Yellow Creek Park June 23-25 .

The International Bluegrass Music Museum’s River of Music Party’s is expecting larger crowds with its beefed up lineup. So, it’s adding more than 217,500 square feet of primitive camping near the park’s fire tower.

That’s enough to accommodate a minimum of 200 tents, said Ross Leigh, executive director of Daviess County Parks & Recreation.

And Gabrielle Gray, the museum’s executive director, said, “We’re giving strong consideration to moving the main stage to the bowl area near the lake.”

That’s the park’s disc golf course, which is closed during the festival. Years ago, it was the park’s soccer field.

Leigh estimated that the disc golf course would seat about 7,500 people.

“That’s about three times what we’ve been able to seat in the past,” Gray said.

Previous festivals have drawn 7,000 or so people over three days, but rarely more than 2,500 at a time.

Leigh said the primitive camping area is being called “Camping on the Wrong Side of the Creek.”

It’s designed to appeal to a younger crowd than those staying in the recreational vehicles closer to the park road.

“They’re expecting a larger crowd this year,” Leigh said. “And we’re trying to help accommodate them.”

The lineup includes Emmylou Harris, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, Pete & Joan Wernick, Audie Blaylock & Redline, Tony Rice, Mountain Heart, Trampled By Turtles, Kenny & Amanda Smith, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, The 23 String Band, the Josh Williams Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Professors of Bluegrass and Sarah Jarosz.

Many of those acts appeal to people who don’t traditionally attend bluegrass festivals.

Gray said “an entirely new element is being added to ROMP this year,” with after-hours dancing in the park’s Pioneer Village, which features two log cabins, two log barns, a one-room school and a pavilion.

“We’re going to have jamming in the Pioneer Village every night after the last act on the main stage,” she said.

That’s 10 p.m. Thursday and 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

“We’ll have bands playing for dancing in the pavilion as long as people want to continue,” Gray said.

It’s likely, she said, that some of the bands from the main stage will be playing for the dances.

“It depends on who plays the best dance music,” Gray said.

Most of the dance music will be old-time music rather than bluegrass, she said.

This year, ROMP is being billed as “ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival.” It’s designed to attract younger fans.

Tickets for all three days are $70 for general admission, $50 for museum members, $55 for students and $60 for senior citizens and active-duty military.

One-day tickets, which aren’t sold in advance, are $25 for all groups.

Three-day tickets can be ordered by calling 926-7891.

The lineup doesn’t include traditional bluegrass musicians because the museum has created a second festival this year on Sept. 12-14 at the RiverPark Center to celebrate what would have been Bill Monroe’s 100th birthday.

Monroe, “the father of bluegrass music,” was born on a farm outside Rosine on Sept. 13, 1911. He died Sept. 9, 1996, and is buried in Rosine Cemetery.

That lineup includes every active member of the IBMA’s Hall of Honor – Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Doc Watson, Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman, J.D. Crowe, Bobby Osborne, Eddie Adcock, Tom Gray, Kenny Baker, Curly Seckler, Everett Lilly, The Lewis Family, Bill Clifton, Rodney Dillard, Melvin Goins and Paul Williams.

Three-day tickets range from $100 to $175. They can be ordered by calling 926-7891.

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