What Is Blue Sky Ky?
Blue Sky Kentucky is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in Louisville, Kentucky. Established in 2002 as a presenter of top-notch Americana/roots musicians to complement the local music-scape, Blue Sky’s mission is: to create original music programs that promote local talent; explore local collaborations; and introduce a range of national roots-based touring artists who inspire and educate audiences in Louisville and the broader Kentuckiana area. Blue Sky brings together audiences of all ages and segments of the community in fostering the appreciation and advancement of all forms of American roots music … local to national … listening room to classroom.
What is “Americana?”
Originally a category coined by the music industry, Americana is defined as a mix of American roots music styles, specifically those that are merged from folk, country, blues, r&b, rock and roll, gospel and soul, and other external influences, such as Latin or Celtic. The sum can be very different than its individual parts, from traditional to contemporary, acoustic to full electric. And that’s where Blue Sky comes in.
In The Beginning…
Formed in the ‘early oughts’, Blue Sky Kentucky, aka BSK, successfully completed its earliest stated mission goals of producing a multi-day festival, followed by a concert series and educational outreach within the local community: Jamfest
The 2002 Blue Sky Jamfest, held at Slugger Field and the recently developed Waterfront Park, presented a stellar lineup of musicians from the area and across the nation, was one of the earliest and most ambitious of the Americana-oriented ‘jam’ festivals in the country. With solid support from the city and county, affordable ticket prices ($50 for a three-day pass), and four stages of continuous entertainment, Jamfest comprised three days of live music and dozens of musical acts. Nothing like it had been attempted in Louisville before. Featured artists included Sam Bush, who, along with John Cowan, also served on the festival’s steering committee, Delbert McClinton, Los Lobos, Patty Griffin, Jerry Douglas, Leftover Salmon, Richie Havens, Tift Merritt, Donna the Buffalo, and Buddy and Julie Miller, and more. Most have worked, toured, recorded and/or collaborated with each other before and since. Local players included Tim Krekel, Peter Searcy, Johnny B. (Berry) & Honky-Tonk Revival, Steve Ferguson & Midwest Creole Ensemble, Hog Operation, John Gage & Will Owen Gage, Heidi Howe, Butch Rice, Tyrone Cotton, Gary Brewer and The Kentucky Ramblers, Tanita Gaines, The Nick Stump Band, Joe Debow, and Satchel’s Pawn Shop. Click here to peruse a showtime review in NO DEPRESSION for insight into the play-by-play.