Jerusalem Ridge Festival

A Message About Jerusalem Ridge Magazine

Finally, news about the magazine. We at Crossing the Cumberlands, the Monroe Foundation, and Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration are sorry for the long wait for a response to your questions about the status of Ron Malec's Jerusalem Ridge Magazine. We thank you for your direct support to our organizations, and we thank you for showing so much interest in Ron's planned venture.  The fact that Ron chose the name "Jerusalem Ridge" for his magazine turned out to be an unfortunate decision that has created lots of confusion. Though we did not have any business connection to the magazine, we were excited about the dream of a magazine devoted to traditional music and we gave our moral support to Ron. 

We have all been waiting for an explanation and decision from him. We forwarded emails to him and many got a response, but some did not. We have learned that Ron's life, like so many in America, has been turned upside down by recent economic events and he has found himself in a nearly impossible situation. As for us, we are all volunteers trying to balance family duties, TV production, careers, shortage of funds, and the planning of the 2009 festival. We are also all still picking up our lives after this winter's devastating ice storm that ravaged much of Kentucky including Jerusalem Ridge.

We can now say without reservation that this great idea is not going to happen at this time. The publisher is a good person and a believer in the mission of the Monroe Foundation which is to preserve traditional bluegrass and mountain music. Though he lives more than 700 miles away, Ron has performed hundreds of hours of  graphic art and web site development for the Monroe Foundation and the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration over the past eight years at no charge. He has lost countless hours of sleep over the years designing and making our festival flyers. He attended two of the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebrations and donated over 300 custom Jerusalem Ridge t-shirts so all the participating band members could have a special keepsake. This is the kind of man it takes to make a project like this work. He is a friend and we know he needs our understanding and prayers.

Turning the clock back to Spring 2008, Ron notified us that he wanted to publish a magazine. He said that he wanted traditional bluegrass to have its own print voice and he wanted to call it Jerusalem Ridge Magazine. He said it would be his private venture. We were excited because we agreed with his goals and we knew he would do a great job, but, at the same time, we were concerned because of how difficult we thought it might be to make a profit in the print media business these days. We also were concerned about him using the Jerusalem Ridge name because of the confusion it might create, especially if the magazine did not succeed. Despite us voicing our concerns to him, Ron was firm on keeping the name, and we believe he did it for the right reasons: he thought it would provide valuable press and PR about the Monroe project that other magazines have been mute about.

Soon after Ron began work on the magazine, the U.S. economy went into a tail spin, hurricanes hit, gas prices climbed and the history making 2008 Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration came and went. Ron showed up at the 2008 festival with several prototypes of the magazine and they looked to all who laid eyes on them to be the finest quality magazine any of us could have hoped for. The prototypes were picked up so quickly as souvenirs that none of us at the Monroe Foundation even got a copy. Encouraged, Ron took orders and sent the print files to a printer in Texas. The printer was hit by the next hurricane and went out of business. Ron has paid the printer in advance and is having to go through the printer's insurance company to recover his money... which is your money too.  Then, the tragic death of a close family member struck on Christmas Eve and Ron is still dealing with that.

Additional orders for the magazine have been too slow for him to bounce back financially, and he is suspending the magazine at this time. Ron tells us that he wants no more orders, and that he will pay back each person their subscription money as he is able.

Ron took many risks in his attempt to preserve and propagate this part of American history and culture through his magazine. Most folks didn't realize they were taking a risk purchasing a subscription, and the frustration from lack of communication is real as is the disappointment that a magazine with such great potential is not going to happen at this time.

Again, the Monroe Foundation, Crossing the Cumberlands, and I personally apologize for the lack of communication from Ron and from us regarding this matter. We ask for your understanding, and increasing support for this precious American project and for all of the people who work so hard for it  in the months and years ahead.

Your truly,

Campbell Mercer

Campbell Mercer, the Board of the Monroe Foundation, the team at the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration and the producers of Crossing the Cumberlands

P.S.- Ron's email address is if you want to try to contact him. If you have more questions for me please email me back at