ROMP FEST


ROMP is a music festival hosted in Owensboro, Kentucky by the International Bluegrass Music Museum.


This year, several artists took the stage over the four-day festival including iconic artist, Alison Krauss, bluegrass and county music legend, Ricky Skaggs and the 'Father of Newgrass,' Sam Bush.
 

ROMP is one of our favorite weekends!  It's an awesome outdoor music festival and the fact that it literally takes place in our own back yard adds to the fun.  It's makes for one big party in Owensboro.


Yellow Creek Park (where ROMP takes place) is famous for its nature trails, winding creek and fishing lake, and sweeping tree-lines.  We also venture to Yellow Creek often for their disc golf course.  


We (well, Dave) has even donated a handful of discs to the park.  HA!  The course is a lot of fun, but you kind of have to be decent to play.  There are lots of trees and water to avoid.  For the record, Dave is decent and I don't get competitive.  Which is why I haven't lost a disc yet because it's pretty easy to do there.


With Dave's new position at Visit Owensboro, he practically lived at ROMP this year.  In the past, we typically go in the evenings (Thursday and Friday) and then spend a little more time out there on Saturday.  His dad even came out one day this year to see what ROMP was all about and say hello.


This year, he was at ROMP from 9 or 10 each morning to anywhere from 9 to midnight.  He was there for the long haul and other than the temperature being super hot, he had a great time.  Dave absolutely LOVES what he does, and I can say from personal experience that no one sells Owensboro quite like he can. 


Dave did admit to having an easier time surviving the heat since they had a great tent setup (box fans included) and the biggest cooler of water bottles and gatorade you've ever seen.  That certainly helped put this wife's mind at ease with him spending so much time out there in the 100 degree heat.


The Visit Owensboro Team provided all kinds of information to people who were visiting the area in addition to answering lots and lots of questions.  This year, they had a trolley schedule set to encourage people to visit our local Distillery, Botanical Garden and Bluegrass Museum.  The trolley was free of charge and provided the perfect opportunity for people to escape the heat throughout the day.


They also handed out these AWESOME fans that included the schedule.  Let me tell ya, they were a hot commodity, no pun intended.  Seriously, they flew through hundreds (if not thousands) over those four days.  By Saturday afternoon, I was thankful I had stuffed a few in my bag earlier in the week.


They even had a bourbon barrel at their tent and encouraged everyone to sign it.  #goodjobdave
The barrel was scheduled to be filled the Monday following the festival at our local Distillery, O.Z. Tyler.  The bourbon will be aged and then released as a special Romp Reserve.  Brilliant, I tell ya! 


It was a great way to invite people into their tent and have conversations to hear where they were from and what they loved about the festival.  It really allowed people to feel part of something.  Plus, it's a piece of history.  The whole idea went over wonderfully and hopefully it will be an annual tradition. 


Dave was there for the barrel filling and put together a video so people could keep up with the barrel they had signed.  Once the bourbon is finished aging, the barrel will be on display at the Bluegrass Museum. 


Believe it or not, people from all over the world follow Bluegrass music and make it to the festival each year.  Dave had the opportunity to meet this nice group from Japan...


... and this sweet couple, too!  

 
It's kind of crazy how people travel for something like this.  We look forward to having them all continue these visits once our new Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum opens this October.  Y'all come back!


Dave and I love, love, love seeing all kinds of people, from all different backgrounds, from all over the world dancing together at ROMP.  And of course, we also love seeing lots of our friends there too. 


We often find ourselves saying, "you don't even feel like you are in Owensboro."  As a community, we continually think BIGGER, dream BIGGER and this is one of those times that it all really clicks.  Year after year we feel like ROMP is actually becoming more Owensboro, and we are both extremely proud of that.

 

Another fun thing about ROMP is that people camp.  Like camp in a tent for four days in the smothering heat kind of camp.  Apparently there are people who find this fun, but we are not those people.  There are also people who camp in their RV's for the festival which is a little more our style, but still doesn't quite cut it.  The closest thing to our kind of camping is the Holiday Inn and in no way are we ashamed by that.


One of the best parts of ROMP is that it is entirely family friendly.  Keep in mind that all things are relative speaking, but there are families everywhere.  Kids really seem to love ROMP as well and each year they seem to step it up a little and do more things that are interactive for them.  This year, there was a super cool bubble tent that made massive bubbles.  I'm not even a kid and thought it was pretty awesome!


We know lots of people that bring their kiddos to join in on the fun Wednesday through Friday, but let them believe that no kids are allowed on Saturday night (they really are).  But, the parents that tell their kiddos Saturday night is reserved for the parents to have fun are pretty smart.  #wearetakingnotes


The same thing goes for dogs!  Dogs are welcome at the festival which we really love... especially Hopsen.  We tend to follow the same kind of schedule and bring her out with us earlier in the week for shorter periods of time, but have her stay home on Saturday.  The crowd gets bigger and bigger each day and with us being there for a longer time on Saturday, it would be a lot for her to handle - not to mention the heat!
 

The mascot of the festival is Hootie the Owl, who makes multiple appearances throughout the four days.  Littles love seeing the owl and posing for a photo.  Lots of adults seem to love Hootie, too!  The Western Kentucky Raptor Center provides hands on programs for people to enjoy throughout the festival.


There is also an entire Kids Zone that has scheduling throughout the entire festival.  Several families travel together for the four-day event so this really makes it nice on both the parents and the kiddos to have some designated activities.  They have everything from special crafts to building your own first aid kit.  We really encourage you to check out the schedule if you're planning to attend and have littles in tow.


Another awesome thing that happens during ROMP are the Artist Workshops.  There is a full line up of artist-led instrument workshops that take place throughout the days during the festival.  These give musicians the opportunity to interact and teach fans and players of all ages and skill levels.  This is something so special to the Bluegrass community!  Everyone is willing and wanting to help everyone.


There are lots of food and craft vendors there, too.  We make stops at the wood fire pizza truck and the gyro truck from Lexington (my FAVE and not just because it's from Lexington) each year.  Sometimes more than once!  There was a food truck with unbelievable tacos this year that made the trek from Cincinnati.


One of the best parts of ROMP is the After Party!  People dance the night away at the late stage in Pioneer Village.  This rustic area is located within the park and is a short walking distance from the main stage, over the magical bridge.  If you can muscle up the energy after a long day in the sun, GO!  It is so much fun.


My brother came in town to join us for the festival on Saturday.  ROMP is right up his alley and I've always known he would absolutely love it, but schedules had never lined up quite right for him to be able to visit during the festival.  Thankfully this year that changed.  He came, he experienced and he loved ROMP.


We all had the best time together.  The best!  The three of us really appreciate good music and happy people and you can find a lot of both of those things at ROMP.  Sam Bush closed the show on the main stage Saturday around midnight and although we were all exhausted, we weren't quite ready for the night to end.


Thanks to some encouragement (and accountability) from friends, we found ourselves at the After Party.  This was the first one that Dave and I had actually attended since we started going to the festival years ago.  The after parties are late and we typically go to bed much earlier then they begin.  #noshame


We were so thankful we stayed out for some extra fun this night.  It was seriously the best time.  We even fought found our way up to the front of the stage.  The shows at Pioneer Village are neat because it's a smaller crowd and really gives you a more intimate feel with the artists versus the main stage.  


Although, you can still feel pretty close there too... just claim your spot early.


People have the opportunity to experience ROMP as VIP for a higher price tag.  Don't get me wrong, we love receiving VIP tickets and are EXTREMELY grateful for them whenever we are lucky enough to get them.  However, if you are someone who really enjoys the concert vibe VIP might not be the area for you.


We love the access VIP offers, but the area can get a little stuffy.  We would much rather be standing and dancing with everyone experiencing the music versus sitting still in our chairs while watching the show.  It's a total preference thing, but we really enjoy the vibe of the festival goers outside the VIP area.


For the first time in history, ROMP completely sold out for Saturday this year.  It is amazing how far this festival has come in such a short time, and it's all because of the wonderful people who support it.

 
Tickets to ROMP can be purchased as a full four-day pack or by individual days, with or without camping.  If you're near Owensboro, a lover of Bluegrass music, or just really enjoy a good ole' outdoor music festival then you should join us for all the fun next June!  Come on and Visit Owensboro for ROMP!

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