Since 2012 I have traveled to Owensboro every June to attend the ROMP Fest. So you might call me an expert. I've been to 10 music festivals in my short 27 years on this Earth. ROMP or the River of Music Party (as it was originally dubbed) is a Bluegrass Music Festival at Yellow Creek Park in Owensboro, Kentucky and is in it's 12th year. The event is the main fundraiser for the International Bluegrass Music Museum located downtown (which is an incredible museum that I have featured in a previous post about Owensboro). ROMP is known for it's killer line-up of Bluegrass greats, friendly camping atmosphere, and artist-led workshops.
Headlining this year are: John Prine, Sam Bush, Punch Brothers, The Lone Bellow, Del McCoury and David Grisman, Leftover Salmon, and Hot Rize. Dozens of other artists are on the bill.
As a huge fan of Punch Brothers, I have had front row access to their amazing talents alongside other music fans in 2012 and 2013. They were the reason I first started attending ROMP in the first place. I would follow that band all over the world if I could. Now, I'm a supporter of ROMP and the International Bluegrass Music Museum because of the friendly people I've met and the appreciation I've gained for Bluegrass Music as an art form. ROMP really is a special place.
I took three days of vacation from work to ensure I could properly enjoy ROMP this year. In fact, I'm road trippin' to ROMP Fest with one of my closest friends so you can follow our antics on my Instagram (@cherisemingus). I'll also be posting a photo essay daily with highlights. Maybe you'll see yourself in a photo or two if you are attending! It is our hope that more people will make this local music festival a travel destination each summer. Support local business and economy. In addition, you are supporting a local tradition of bluegrass music with deep roots.
Each evening of ROMP Fest hosts a rowdy After Party with one of the artists performing an additional late-night set at the cabin porch near the camp area. Camping is available at ROMP for $15. It'll cost you a little extra if you want to camp with your RV, though. Four-day festival passes are still available. General admission passes are only $150. When you look at the line-up you'll see what a steal this price really is. Your festival pass also gets you free admission to the International Bluegrass Music Museum throughout the event, so be sure to learn about Bill Monroe and see Uncle Penn's Fiddle for yourself!
In addition, food trucks and local vendors are available with food, coffee, and desserts to purchase morning, noon, or night. You may also bring coolers with your own refreshments. Alcohol and drugs are not permitted onsite.
Here's a list of things to pack if you are planning to attend ROMP (or any other music festival this summer):
- Water bottle (make sure you stay hydrated)
- Hat (protect yourself from that sun, y'all)
- Poncho (rain happens)
- Rain boots (in case that rain happens)
- Bandana (sweating is real. Plus, you can dunk your bandana in water and it will keep your neck cool)
- Extra phone charger (you'll want to take pictures and video of all the cool stuff you'll see and tag #explorekentucky and @rompfest when you Instagram)
- Cash (most vendors only take cash but there will be an ATM on site)
- Glowsticks (because they are totally fun)
- Snacks (make sure you are eating enough)
- Tent (if you're camping you know what's up)
- Extra toilet paper (sometimes those portable potties run out and that's uncomfortable)
- Extra clothes (you never know)
- Hand sanitizer (you know your hands will get nasty)
- Bug spray
- Blanket (outdoor blankets are valuable when you want to take a rest from dancing)
- Instrument (if you play one you should join one of the many jam sessions and workshops going on)
- Ziplock bags (in case it rains you'll have somewhere safe to put your phone, keys, and wallet)
- Comfortable shoes (I can't emphasize this enough)
- A good attitude (because friendliness goes a long way)
For more information about ROMP and how to purchase tickets click here!
See you at Yellow Creek Park!