On a special ridge in Kentucky ...
Latest Letter from Campbell Mercer
May 20, 2016
Dear Friends, Jerusalem Ridge Musicians, and Family,
At the end of tonight's Cumberland Highlanders Show there will be an announcement relating to the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration. I know beyond any doubt that the world needs the Cumberland Highlanders Show and the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration in this time of un-Godly happenings and disturbing politics, but in the last three days Julie and I have had to make the most difficult decision that we have ever had to make. It is almost as hard to find the words to tell you what went into this decision, and to express just how much I love what I do, how important I think traditional bluegrass music is to the world, and how much I love all of you. Since I cannot find the perfect words, I will just start by saying that the Mercer Family, and its volunteers and supporters cannot have a 2016 Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration. Taking a year off will allow us a chance to heal physically, mentally, and financially, and will allow our many wonderful friends and volunteers extra time to rest.
Jerusalem Ridge went from being a dream of mine that I have had since I was 15 years old to being the biggest and best traditional bluegrass festival in the world. Along the way, Julie and I have experienced some of the greatest successes two people can experience over the last 20 years, and, as many mortals who put themselves out on a number of limbs will experience, some painful failures. The failures, for the most part, have been as pertains to our family finances and to our health.
So, the reality is if we have a 2016 Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration :
* We will likely be able to have no more
* We will have to stop producing the Cumberland Highlanders TV show
* We will have to sell our last remaining properties
* And the family will continue to experience tough financial sacrifices
So, given the options, the plan is to:
* Take a rest for a year for the family and the volunteers
* Work on the park, focusing on getting permanent electricity installed in the stage and vending areas
* Continue to produce the Cumberland Highlanders TV Show which is distributed to about 40 million homes every week. (On average 300,000 to 400,000 watching each show). We have enough never before seen footage to make several years of new shows.
More to come.
God love you all, love the musicians, love RFD-TV
Old Letters Below
On a special ridge in Kentucky ...
WELCOME to Kentucky
The Blue Grass State!
2015 Pre-Festival Newsletter
Hello! This is Campbell Mercer writing to you from here on Jerusalem Ridge, birthplace of American Bluegrass Music. We hope you and your families and friends are doing well this summer. While we give thanks for our many blessings, let us remember those who are suffering. Let us pray for them and help them in all ways possible.
Jerusalem Ridge 2015-
The dates are set for September 16-20, 2015. Nine out of ten fans said they wanted Septemebr 16th added...so we listened. We are here to serve.
Previous Festivals- Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration
Those in attendance were witness to another miraculous event. Thursday and Friday were near record crowds. Saturday and Sunday were record rainfalls. Over five inches of rain fell on those two days. Mother nature proved to be no match for the big hearts of the volunteers, staff, musicians and attendees. Neighbors came with tractors and chains and warm smiles. Everyone helped each other and no one was left in the mud! Over a hundred motor homes were pulled from the mud and no one got a tow bill! And amazingly, there were no complaints.
Here is what Edna Walker had to say:
"I've intended to write this note of appreciation every since our arrival home. What a great festival and caring crew of helpers you have. Just a day before heading to the festival I injured myself and had to use a walker. What handicap service we had ! Always so willing and thoughtful. Then the last day of the festival when it rained, we were foolish enough to stay until the last music note. You made sure we all got back to our campers. They even helped me across the road to our camper in ankle deep mud. Then the next morning after it raining most of the night, we needed assistance getting our camper out. They pulled us out with a big smile on their face like the sun was shining, when actually it was still raining. Keep up the good work. We enjoy every minute of the good bluegrass music, along with my sis and her husband. We'll be there every year as long as our health and pocket book holds up.
God Bless you All."
I hope I will always remember her going up the slippery hill in front of the stage with her walker declaring that she had the time of her life and vowing she would see us next year! That is love !
Thank you to all the musicians, supporters and fans who made the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration 2014 more than a success !!
God Bless You All
Campbell and Julie Mercer
2013 Pre- Festival Letter
This is your friend Campbell Mercer writing to you from high upon Jerusalem Ridge overlooking the town of Rosine, Kentucky. You are living a part of American history this weekend as the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration enlarges and grows to include even more of the ancestral Monroe land that was originally deeded to Bill Monroe’s great, great, great grandfather in 1801 for service to the young United States of America in the Revolutionary War. This part of the farm was even farmed by Uncle Pen and was owned by Pen’s best friend Clarence Wilson. When Bill first added the banjo to the Blue Grass Boys in 1943 he chose Dave “Stringbean” Akeman from Jackson County Kentucky. Bill said later that he added “Stringbean” because he wanted to “include the sound of the 5-string banjo that he heard as a boy growing up in Kentucky” This farm may have been the first place that Bill heard a five string banjo and Clarence likely was the first banjo player that Bill heard. In Bill’s mind this farm that you are sitting or standing on right now may be the birthplace of the bluegrass banjo.
We call Jerusalem Ridge not only the birthplace and boyhood home of famous people like Bill and Charlie Monroe, but also the birthplace of an American art form. When you come to Jerusalem Ridge you will feel and experience the history everywhere you turn. You will see the views and hear the sounds of nature that inspired young Bill. And, you’ll experience the warmth of the Jerusalem Ridge folks.
The Jerusalem Ridge project is run by a very small volunteer army. Today, there are about 30 dedicated individuals who have kept the dream of the Rosine Project alive. In addition, there are about twenty wonderful local people who give tours of the birthplace of bluegrass music seven days a week But there is so much to do and we need your help too!
The new park addition is a diamond in the rough, but not as rough as last year. We appreciate your love and understanding. We had twelve years to build the Home Place side of the park…but last year we had only 40 days and 40 nights to carve this one from the wilderness. This year the team has been working night and day for the past five weeks getting ready for the 12th Annual Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration. Heartfelt thanks to them, to you who expended so much energy and expense to support our preservation efforts, and to the musicians who keep this precious part of our American culture alive.
God Bless You All,
PS- We are excited to have Stringbean’s nephew, Phillip Akeman, with us this year and he is playing on Thursday with Grandpa Jones’ nephew, Phillip Steinmetz. Before “String” went to work for Bill Monroe he worked for Silas and Charlie Rogers (Si Rogers and the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers) out of Winchester, KY from 1933 on. “Stringbean” carried the song Rocky Road Blues from the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers to Bill Monroe.
Jerusalem Ridge 2013
A Great American Moment in a Great American Movement
1-270-256-1430 or 1-270-274-9181 jerusalemridgefestival.org email@example.com
Howdy Friends !
This is Campbell Mercer writing to you from my office high on Jerusalem Ridge overlooking the town of Rosine, Kentucky. We call this not only the birthplace and boyhood home of famous people like Bill and Charlie Monroe, but also the birthplace of an American art form. When you come to Jerusalem Ridge you will feel and experience the history everywhere you turn. You will see the views and hear the sounds of nature that inspired young Bill, and you'll experience the warmth of the Jerusalem Ridge folks.
The Jerusalem Ridge Foundation is operated by a volunteer team. We are updating the information about the JRBC daily. Those of you who have sent email inquiries will soon receive an email back from us! And all of you have been added to the email address book. You will receive updates and newsletters from my office and the time approaches for the greatest festival in the world.
Today, there are ten dedicated individuals who make up the board of the Foundation. In addition, there are twenty wonderful local people who give tours of the birthplace of bluegrass music seven days a week. During the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration, the number of volunteers grows to almost three hundred. But there is much more to do and we need your help too!
Please tour the web site and learn about the project, this year's festival and have a look at past festivals. Remember to give us a call or drop us an email if you have any questions.
Campbell Doc Mercer