The International Bluegrass Music Museum's 2018 ROMP festival held during the last four days in June was so successful that organizers had to stop selling tickets at the gate.
This year was the first time in the 15-year history of ROMP that one-day ticket sales for Saturday had to be stopped about 3 p.m. That final day of the festival on June 30, featuring headliners Alison Krauss and Sam Bush, maxed out the site at Yellow Creek Park in Daviess County, mainly for parking.
Bluegrass Museum Executive Director Chris Joslin said this year’s ticket sales broke a record at slightly more than 27,000 over the four-day festival, and with that increased demand comes the need to manage success carefully. That's why the decision was made to halt Saturday ticket sales at the gate.
“We just wanted to insure that those who did buy their ticket in advance that we could accommodate them," said Joslin. "It was a bit of a judgement call. Part of our strategy is just preserving the experience. That’s what people keep talking to me about, it’s just a great experience. And so, even though we continue to grow, we want manage that well, and preserve that.”
This year’s ticket sales topped last year’s by about 1,000. And more people bought tickets for the entire four-day music festival than in past years.
RV spots were maxed out at about 275 and there were more than 2,000 RV and tent campsites filled.
Joslin said many of those who attend for multiple days or camp at the event have said they enjoy the sense of community they find at ROMP.
“I think we just want to preserve kind of the integrity of the event. I mean one of the reasons why it’s grown is that people love the atmosphere," said Joslin. "It’s almost like a big festival, but it’s still easy to navigate, it’s very family friendly, the lineup is still awesome. So it’s like we’re in this sweet spot and we want to be able to preserve that.”
Joslin said managing the success of ROMP in the future may include more off-site parking or putting a cap on ticket sales.
On the heels of the successful 2018 ROMP festival, the Bluegrass Museum is preparing for its next major event, the opening of its new $15 million riverfront facility in October.
The headliner for that event is Bowling Green native Sam Bush, a ROMP favorite who is credited with defining the genre of "newgrass" with his New Grass Revival beginning in 1972. Bush has also recorded and performed with Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and Bela Fleck, as well as many other top musicians in a varity of genres.
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