There’s no denying it. Eddie Pennington is a big man. With a big talent, a big heart, and big, colorful prints on his ubiquitous Hawaiian shirts. For going on fifteen years, Eddie and the charming little Kentucky town of Princeton have been opening those big hearts and inviting the world to attend the Pennington Folk Festival, for a taste of the magic that Eddie and his friends
(and family) conjure up for a weekend of music and good old small town hospitality.
I first met Eddie many years ago when he was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship Award for his contribution to the art of “Travis” or thumbpicking guitar. Eddie has been the National Thumbpicking champion for several years, and was inducted into the Thumbpickers Hall of Fame in 2003. It’s hard to imagine spending any time with Eddie and his music and not leaving without a smile on your face and a bit of a spring in your step. This is music- and a master musician, who just makes you feel good and happy to be alive!
It was with joy that I packed up my cameras and headed to southwest Kentucky at the invitation of Eddie, Penny and the good folks at The Princeton Times-Leader to be part of the festivities. Being from Washington, D.C. you sometimes tend to forget the warmth, spirit and
charm of life “outside the Beltway” and what life is like in the heartland of America. Well, friends, this is it! ….and the music is fabulous! Eddie Pennington is a man of many friends, and he manages to bring an earful of his buddies out to help in the celebration every year.
I’ve got June 1st & 2nd marked on my calender and am counting the days. Looks like a good lineup of pickers is starting to fill up the roster and I’m really hoping to have time for some BBQ this year. In any event, I may just leave some time to stop in Bardstown and pick up some bourbon on the way. Caldwell County is dry, but Pennington Fest is like a refreshing shower on a hot summer’s day! Hope to see you in Princeton!
A small sampling of the BIG talent at the Pennington Festival in 2011
A few scenes of the town & folks of Princeton