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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Louisville, Kentucky Popularizes Jug Band Music

While bluegrass and country music are more commonly associated with Kentucky, another genre with deep roots in the state is jug band music. Many music historians cite Louisville, where jugs abounded due to the city’s bourbon distilling industry, as the birthplace of this light-hearted musical form that spread up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers around the turn of the 20th century.

The music has come full circle, with the seventh annual National Jug Band Jubilee in Louisville on September 15 set to celebrate the genre’s origins. Nine of the country’s best bands will play from 1 to 11pm at the free festival at the Brown-Forman Amphitheater in Waterfront Park, on the banks of the Ohio River near downtown Louisville. The acts will include Louisville’s Juggernaut Jug Band and groups from Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Washington and other states.

The festival also includes free workshops where you can learn to play a jug, washboard, kazoo or even a saw. This family-friendly event also offers instrument-building workshops for children, and food and drinks will be sold.

Jug band music is played on a combination of instruments, both makeshift (whiskey jugs, washboards, washtub basins and kazoos) and traditional (fiddles, banjos and guitars). Originated by African-American street performers, jug band music gradually made its way from the streets of Louisville, Memphis and New Orleans to entertain upscale crowds at venues as varied as Churchill Downs, river-travelling steamboats and music halls and theaters as far away as Chicago, New York and Europe. 

For more information on the National Jug Band Jubilee, visit www.jugbandjubilee.com, call 502-417-1107 or email juggernautpr@yahoo.com.

For more information about top events in Kentucky take a look at Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Kentucky