Kentucky Music Weekend

By Amanda Lee Anderson

Iroquois Amphitheater played host to the twenty-ninth annual Kentucky Music Weekend on July 23-25. This event, sponsored by Steilberg String Instruments, Iroquois Arts Association, Kentucky Music Incorporated and Louisville Metro Parks, drew locally and nationally renowned artists to Louisville to display their talents in bluegrass, roots and country music. In addition to performances by over twenty artists and ensembles, it featured displays by Iroquois Arts and Crafts Festival artists, jam sessions sponsored by the Louisville Dulcimer Society and championship dulcimer and hammered dulcimer contests.

Nancy Johnson Barker served as the emcee and coordinator for the entire event. In true Kentucky Music Weekend tradition, Fred Meyer called the audience to attention at the beginning of the mainstage performances with his stylings on the hurdy gurdy.

Highlights included Wisconsin native folk duo Lou and Peter Berryman, who sang silly songs that made everyone smile while still maintaining a startling level of musicianship. Also, Matt Watroba and Katie Geddes displayed spine-tingling classic country harmonies blending Geddes' rich alto and Watroba's unaffected tenor in a way that today's country artists only dream of.

One of the most notable attendees was Jean Ritchie, a Kentucky native who received the National Endowment of the Arts Heritage Fellowship and was one of the first inductees into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. She has been performed at this event almost every year since its inception. Louisville folk singer and music veteran John Gage was impressed by the lineup. "This music is all about our roots," he said. "These people [performing] are the real representatives of this genre of music, roots music."

Ritchie agreed. "There has always been a sense of camaraderie. It`s like coming back to family. We always have a good time."