New Venue Announced For Controversial Bluegrass Show


The City of Gallatin has re-announced a bluegrass music show for Sunday, May 26th from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Gallatin’s Downtown Square. The show was originally intended to be held in the Gallatin City Cemetery; however, social media complaints about having music in the cemetery prompted organizers to change plans. The program is now split into two events in support of the cemetery. The traditional Decoration Day ceremony will take place Sunday, May 26th at 2 p.m. at the cemetery (250 Cemetery Avenue), and the free bluegrass show will be held in Gallatin’s Downtown Square later that evening from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. N. Water between Franklin Street and Main will be closed during the event. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chair for the bluegrass show.

Both events are organized by the Gallatin City Cemetery Committee, whose members consist of City department heads, historians, business leaders, and specialists in the maintenance of cemeteries.

“Stirring things up started the conversation about the needs of the cemetery, but some people got it wrong about what old-timers had in mind,” Ken Thomson, member of the Gallatin City Cemetery committee and President of the Sumner Historical Society, said. “Starting in the late 1800s, the Gallatin City Cemetery was modified to be more like a park, like they had in Europe at that time. Community gatherings just like this were common, and that’s what we were trying to bring back.”

Thomson and others on the committee hold meetings and organize work sessions to restore monuments and other projects around the cemetery. In its sixth year, the traditional Decoration Day at the Gallatin City Cemetery will feature a brief ceremony honoring those buried who served in the military and volunteers will take part in headstone restoration.

“Many of the monuments are leaning, broken or damaged by time and neglect,” Gallatin Vice Mayor Lynda Love said. “It’s important for us to advocate for this historic place and do more than simply cut the grass.”

The free bluegrass show in Gallatin’s Downtown Square will mirror the layout of the popular music series, “Third Thursday on Main,” which will start in June. Two bands will perform, including the Nashville-based bluegrass band Wharfgrass, specializing in bluegrass versions of *Grateful Dead songs. The second band, “Midnight Ride,” will perform traditional bluegrass songs. Between sets, historians and cemetery supporters will speak to the audience about restoration efforts intended for the Gallatin City Cemetery.

Bluegrass musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments to participate in “Pickin’ Circles” on the sidewalks of Downtown Gallatin during and after the show. Chairs will be reserved for musicians only in these areas.

For more information about Decoration Day or to become involved with the restoration of the Gallatin City Cemetery, please contact Jeff Hentschel in the Mayor’s Office at 615-451-5961.

*The Grateful Dead was an American band formed in 1965 and is known for “jam band” music influenced by rock, blues, jazz, folk, country and bluegrass.

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