Lexington Old-Time Music Gathering is a four-day winter music festival bringing Kentucky's traditional arts to the Commonwealth's largest epicenter. We welcome hundreds of visitors from across the country into this bucolic, walkable downtown for a weekend featuring the “old masters” of traditional mountain music; dance callers from throughout the state; performances by accomplished and emerging string bands; youth workshops and performances; academic presentations; jamming for all skill levels; dance, singing, and instrument workshops; literary readings; instrument and art vendors; and some of our finest farm-to-table eating experiences. Kentucky’s rural diaspora is a lineage largely responsible for the Commonwealth's unique and diverse cultural heritage. Because these Kentuckians migrated to nearby urban centers for work and education, Lexington is a perfect place to explore the boundaries of these traditions and enjoy the melting pot revival of these arts. 

The Lexington Gathering was founded by Brett Ratliff in 2015 as a way to cross the rural/urban divide with traditional arts. The 2015 gathering featured artists from throughout the region in master showcases, workshops, and square dances, as well as a Appalachian Heritage Seminar. The first Gathering developed under partnerships with WUKY, Hindman Settlement School, University of Kentucky's Appalachian Center, West Sixth Brewing, Ouita Michel's Restaurants, The Morris Bookshop, Red Barn Radio, Appalshop and WMMT, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Morehead State University's Center for Traditional Music and Center for Regional Engagement, and Parlor Room Fine Art Tattooing in Whitesburg, KY.

The 2018 Lexington Old-Time Gathering

February 8-11 | Lexington, KY

Schedule of Events

Thursday 2/8
Kick-off Party @The Burl (Benefit for KY Natural Lands Trust)
($5 admission, not included in weekend pass)
The Golden West Cowboys from the Golden West/The Local Honeys/Giant Rooster Sideshow/Wayne Graham/    Luna & The Mountain Jets/Laid Back Country Picker

Friday 2/9 
@Willie’s Locally Known

Appalatin//Zoe Speaks

Doors open at 5:00pm

5:30-7:00pm - Reception
Sam Gleaves & Tyler Hughes

7:00-10:00pm - Friday Evening Concert
(Benefit for Be Bold)

A Celebration of Women in Traditional Music:                                                                                               Sue Massek//Joan Brannon//Karen Jones & Beverly Futrell//Maiden Radio

10:00pm-11:30pm - Friday Night Square Dance

Saturday 2/10
Doors open at 10:00am

Noon-5:00pm - Performances, Workshops, Presentations, & Open Jam Sessions

Workshops: KY Banjo Styles//KY Fiddle Tunes//Square Dance Calling//Shape-note Singing//Shaker Songs/Freedom Songs//Harmony Singing//African Drumming//Appalachian Dance

Conversations: Understanding and Reimagining the Murder Ballad with Richard Underwood and Mason Colby/Mary Wheeler: Paducah's Songcatcher with Nathan Blake Lynn/Black KY Fiddlers and the History of Jug Band Music with John Harrod and Michael Jones

3:00-5:00pm - KSEC Coffee House Music Showcase
(Benefit for KY Student Environmental Coalition)

5:00-9:00pm - Saturday Evening Concert
KY Wild Horse//Sarah Wood//Nathan Blake Lynn//The Local Honeys//KarlyDawn & The HillFolk//John Haywood//Carla Gover

9:00-11:30pm - Saturday Night Dance

Sunday 2/11
2:00pm-5:00pm - Cabaret @Al's Bar
($5, not included in weekend pass)
Hosted by Stephanie Jeter & Andy Duckworth

6:00pm-8:30pm - Closing Jam Session @Windy Corner (free admission)

Featured Dance Bands Include:
The Pine Mountain Railsplitters, The Paw Paw Pickers, The Troublesome Ramblers, The Kentucky Round-Ups, & others!

Featured Dance Callers:
Randy Wilson, Alexander Udis, Johanna Sims, Tyler Hughes, Joe Burdock, & Abigail Huggins.

Kentucky for Kentucky; James E. Webb Musical Repair and Sales; Joe Burdock's Violin and Bow Restoration; Food by Ouita Michel; Drinks by West Sixth Brewing; June Appal Recordings; Emperor Records Country; and Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Museum. 

*Watch this space for updates.  

*Ticket prices at ArtsPlace on the weekend of the event: Friday $20, Saturday $30, Weekend Pass $45                       (Thursday & Sunday are ticketed separately)

2018 LOTMG Sponsors: WUKY, Kentucky for Kentucky, Kentucky Center for Traditional Music, West Sixth Brewing, Ouita Michel Restaurants, 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Lexington, WMMT Community Radio (Whitesburg, KY), The Parlor Room Fine Art and Tattoo (Whitesburg, KY).


The Morehead Old Time Fiddler’s Convention was started by Brett Ratliff in 2005 as a way to encourage emerging musicians. Brett enlisted a variety of local music enthusiasts, and the annual event gained steam in partnership with the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music, housed at Morehead State University. The Convention turned into a Festival and has continued annually since.

Each summer, at the end of July, the Morehead Old Time Music Festival celebrates Art Stamper Day and offers over $3000 in cash prizes for contests in youth fiddle, youth banjo, adult fiddle, banjo, dulcimer, singing, dancing, and best string band--all designed to support new musicians. In addition to these competitions, the two-day Morehead Festival offers performances by such artists as Sam Gleaves, The Local Honeys, and The Empty Bottle String Band, as well as workshops, nightly square dances, and camping at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest. Although the Morehead Festival organizers took a needed respite in 2017, Kentucky Old-Time, Inc. is working to revive this event.

Morehead Old-Time Music Festival

July 2018

Watch this space for coming announcements about the 2018 festival.