Sep 16, 2012 3:25 PM
OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) - Organizers of an annual bluegrass festival in western Kentucky are considering a change in next year's dates.
The International Bluegrass Music Museum's ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival in Owensboro is usually held during the last weekend in June, but organizers are polling fans to see if they would favor moving it up to the last weekend in May.
Museum executive director Gabrielle Gray told the Messenger-Inquirer that organizers want to keep their audience "happy, safe and cooler, if possible."
"So far, the vote is running about 65 percent in favor of the earlier dates," Gray said last week.
The proposed 2013 dates for the festival are either May 30-June1 or June 27-29.
Gray says the dates for next year's festival will be announced on or before Sept. 24, when the museum's board of trustees meets in Nashville, Tenn.
Fans can cast their votes at www.rompfest.com .
During the first two days of the 2012 festival, the temperature in Owensboro hit a record high of 107 degrees before dropping by 1 degree to 106 on the final day. Even so, the festival drew a record crowd of about 21,000 people.
In 2011, the high temperatures stayed in the 80s, but two years prior they were in the upper 90s with heat indices that surpassed 100 degrees.
Data from the National Weather Service shows that over the past five years the dates of May 30-June 1 have had temperatures in the 80s to low 90s and little rain. While June 1 of this year had a high of only 65 degrees, temperatures in 2011 hit the mid-90s and in 2010 they hit the upper 80s.
Gray said the earlier dates don't compete with any other major bluegrass event.
"It's hard to find dates without major competition," she said, but finding dates that provide better weather for the event is the priority.
"We had more than 2,000 people camping in Yellow Creek Park this year," she said. "Those people need to be cooler than they were this year."