ROMP Festival is an annual celebration of Bluegrass music that takes place in Owensboro, Kentucky. The event is held at Yellow Creek Park, a scenic multi-acre location with beautiful hiking trails, forested areas, and even a large lake. The festival celebrated its 15th year in 2018.
Proceeds from the festival go towards supporting various programs organized by the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum. It is a nonprofit organization based out of Owensboro. The event is made possible through the hard work of volunteers, sponsors, street teams, and community partners.
Internationally acclaimed bluegrass musicians, as well as emerging local bands play at ROMP Festival. Artists who have performed at the event in the past include Alison Krauss, Leftover Salmon, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Billy Strings, Old Crow Medicine Show, Travelin' McCourys, Punch Brothers, Sam Bush Band, Emmylou Harris, County Line Bluegrass, Pokey LaFarge, and The SteelDrivers.
Live music performances take place throughout the day as well as instrument workshops, meet-and-greets, yoga sessions, and dance classes. The festival is open to guests of all ages, and usually offers a special kids zone that's free for children under the age of 13. For camping enthusiasts, there are many different types of campsites offered, including family-friendly ones.
General Admission and VIP tickets go on sale a few months before the festival. They can be bought for single days or all four days of the event. The VIP passes come with exclusive perks like special viewing areas, reserved parking, and limited-edition merchandise.
Once you make your purchase, your ROMP Fest tickets will be emailed to you. RV and tent camping tickets can also be bought on the website. Kids 12 and under may be able to attend the festival for free as long as they are accompanied by a ticket-holding adult.
The festival takes place at Yellow Creek Park in Owensboro, Kentucky, about two hours away from Nashville. If you're driving in from Louisville, it might take you about one hour and forty-five minutes. Depending on the direction you're traveling from, you may take I-64, I-65, or I-69.
VIP and general paid parking spots are available for cars. The VIP parking area is located close to the stage. RV campers will be allowed to enter the church staging lot early to begin setting up a spot. Once this lot fills up, RVs will be directed to an offsite camping area. Try to get there early to avoid missing out on an onsite spot.
Owensboro has a well-developed bus system and well as a downtown trolley. However, there are no stops close to the festival site. Shuttles will be available to transport guests from different parts of the town to the venue. Hop on one of these or use a taxi or ride-hailing service.
ROMP Festival offers RV camping for buses, trailers, motorhomes, and other large vehicles. Fans will need to purchase an RV camping pass, and everyone in your party must have an admission pass as well as camping wristbands. Electrical, water, or sewer hookups are not available. Generators will be allowed as long as they are quiet and do not disrupt the peace. Cold showers and porta-potties are usually available close to the camping areas.
The nearest RV park is about six miles away and offers sites with partial hookups. John James Audubon State Park is about 40 miles away from the venue and is highly recommended by fellow RVs. Harmonie State Park, across the state border in Indiana, may also already be along your route. Motorists looking for the best places for RV camping may also want to look for options along the Ohio River.
Golf carts and other four-wheelers will not be allowed in the venue. Bicycles and small individual vehicles are usually permitted in certain areas. Patrons with disabilities can get around using the wheelchair navigable pathways present in most parts of the park. Shuttles operating within the grounds will help ferry guests.
Wear lightweight, summer attire like shorts, t-shirts, and cotton dresses. It can get pretty hot during the day, so make sure your clothing is made of breathable fabrics. A pair of sunglasses and a hat will not only up the style quotient of your outfit but also protect your eyes and skin. A shirt with your favorite bluegrass artist would also round out your ROMP Fest attire. Guests are likely to find some mud, paint, and, splashing water in the Kid's Zone, so pack some clothes and a swimsuit that you don't mind getting dirty.
Bring sunscreen with you and apply it throughout the day. Umbrellas, chairs, or tents that may block the view of other patrons will not be allowed in the performance area. You can still bring these, but use them only in the campground or the outskirts of the festival field. Planning to enjoy some water activities while near the waterways of Kentucky? Don't forget lifejackets, swimsuits, and a waterproof container for any emergency items.
ROMP Fest organizers request that patrons use the trash receptacles and leave the park as clean as they found it. Dogs are allowed, but they must be kept on a short leash at all times. Swimming is not permitted in the lake but is allowed in other waterways in the region. Kids can enjoy playing in the water spray park, but an adult must accompany them.
Campfires and other open flames will not be allowed on the festival grounds. You can cook using a portable grill or the cooking appliance associated with your RV. Make sure you refill your gas tank and fill your refrigerator with fresh produce before heading to your campsite. You'll find grocery store options in the downtown area if you need to stock up on supplies.
You may not want to leave Owensboro without eating at one of the local barbecue restaurants. Try the pulled pork or beef brisket. If you'd like to eat something fast and familiar, several major restaurant chains have outlets in the city. Visitors to the area are likely to find plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians downtown as well.
If you're not in the mood to cook your own food, you'll find plenty of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options at ROMP Fest. Organizers partner with local chefs and caterers to bring the best flavors of the region to the festival. The focus is on fresh, nutritious farm-to-table cuisine at this festival that happens just east of the Ohio River.
Vehicle and bag checks will be conducted before you're allowed to enter ROMP Fest. You'll need to pass through security every time you exit and re-enter the site. Weapons, drugs, or alcohol are not allowed. Make sure you're not carrying any banned items, as they may be confiscated, or you may be asked to leave.
The weather is often quite hot during the day, so adequate sun protection is a must. Carry a lightweight jacket for the nighttime. If it does rain, there are some covered areas where you can seek shelter, but you may already be wet if playing in the Kid's Zone. Check if any road or weather alerts have been issued in Daviess County before starting on your trip.
The first aid station will be in a central, easy to spot location. It will be staffed with trained EMTs who will be able to assist patrons with medical or accessibility requests. Additional medical care and drug store options are within ten miles of Yellow Creek Park and toward Downtown Owensboro.