How to Do the Lake Cumberland Bluegrass Festival

Stay local, keep it simple, and bring your dancing shoes to have a killer time in Kentucky.

See live bands perform at the Lake Cumberland Bluegrass Festival in Kentucky

Love jazz? Love the blues? Then twang your banjo strings toward the Lake Cumberland Bluegrass Festival this August 19-20. Held in Russell Springs, Kentucky at the KOA Campground, the Lake Cumberland Bluegrass Festival is the one you can’t miss!

So … what is bluegrass?

If you’re not sure what bluegrass is, then let us hum a tune for you. Bluegrass is a genre of music with Anglo and African-American roots. The English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh brought the high-pitch harmonies, and the African-Americans brought the savory jazz. Bluegrass, which is native to the U.S.’s Appalachia (especially Kentucky), is the resulting musical love child of those things coming together.

See live bands perform at the Lake Cumberland Bluegrass FestivalWhat to bring & what to wear to the Lake Cumberland Bluegrass Festival

The festival takes place in mid-August when Kentucky highs are in the mid-80s to low-90s and the lows are in the lower-to-upper 60s. So, wear the best of your boho-chic during the day, but bring a flannel shirt to keep warm with at night.

That said, in addition to your most laid-back styles, you’ll want to bring a few things along with you:

  • Cash to make purchases (music, water, etc.) around the festival
  • Your ID
  • A blanket or folding chairs to sit on
  • A hat or a tent to keep the sun from being too much of a bother
  • Sunblock because ain’t nobody got time for that, right?
  • Entry tickets (purchased at the gate)


What’s the festival like?

The festival is a relaxed, family-friendly affair. It’s a fantastic folksy good time. Think patchwork quilts and a dance floor where you can cut a rug in your favorite flip-flops if the music gets you going.

A sample of the 2016 festival line-up includes:

  • The Band of Ruhks
  • Kenny & Amanda Smith
  • Kyle Perkins & Friends
  • Shadow Ridge

Follow the fest on Facebook to stay tuned for more artists and to keep up with festival news.


Where to stay during the Festival?

Now that we’ve covered what to bring, it’s time to figure out where to stay. While there are lots of great places to stay in Lake Cumberland, Lake Pointe Resort is closest to the festival. Lake Cumberland State Resort, is also a great choice with both cabins and a beautiful lodge that overlooks Lake Cumberland. Consider staying in a cabin or a house or parking your RV at the Indian Hills Resort Alligator II Marina & KOA (if you rent a cabin at the KOA, you’re staying right where the festival is taking place). Be rustic and camp at the park, or be unique and rent a houseboat for an ultra-cool staying experience at Lake Cumberland.   

(For a full list of lodging, go to

Local’s Tip: Lodging books up fast, so make reservations soon.

Make where you stay and what you do at Lake Cumberland part of your fun, festival experience. Russell County’s Lake Cumberland is a small community comprised of local shops and delicious eats (many of which are on Lake Cumberland).  The park surrounding the lake itself offers a full disc golf course, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, canoeing, and watersports on its to-do list, so maybe turn your festival weekend into a festive week where you explore all Lake Cumberland has to offer before or after the festival.

Wherever you stay and whatever you choose to do, just get ready to relax and enjoy the carefree soul, spirit, and vibe of bluegrass music at the Lake Cumberland Bluegrass Festival.

For more on where to stay, what to see, and what to do while at Lake Cumberland (you know, other than kick it at the Lake Cumberland Bluegrass Festival), visit the Lake Cumberland Tourism visitors website and discover what fun and adventure awaits.