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One day in the early 1970s, Bob Cornett looked out his office window at the Council of State Governments and thought, “That would be a great place for a Bluegrass Festival.” Thus in June of 1974, Bob and Jean Cornett (and their 6 boys) converged on Walnut Hall Farm in northern Fayette County for what would be the first Festival of the Bluegrass.

They spent a rainy first year with Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, JD Crowe, and a few thousand bluegrass fans. The state of Kentucky saw value in the Walnut Hall Farm too, and the Festival of the Bluegrass moved to Masterson Station Park for the building of what we now know as The Kentucky Horse Park.

For 14 years, bluegrass fans and musicians gathered together at Masterson Station Park. Legends like Ricky Scaggs and Bela Fleck got their start playing the Festival Stage, and a teenage Alison Krause wowed audiences time and time again.

In 1990, the Festival of the Bluegrass went home to the Kentucky Horse Park campground and they added a new feature to the Festival experience: The Kentucky Music Camp. This bluegrass music camp is held the week of the Festival, Tuesday - Thursday, and welcomes kids ages for 8-18 and from beginner to advanced ability.

Today, Bob and Jean are enjoying the fruits of their labor in the best way possible: by letting someone else do the work. The Festival has stayed in the family and is now run by grandson Roy Miller Cornett and his wife, AnnaMarie. They, along with an experienced and essential volunteer crew, are keeping Bluegrass Music alive and well in the heart of the Bluegrass state.