"No Alcohol, Please. It's a Family Affair!": Building Community Support for a Bluegrass Festival Through Family Friendliness


  • Seth Bate Wichita State University


music festivals, Walnut Valley Festival, country music, bluegrass music, family friendly, family enternatinment


The luthier, or maker of stringed instruments, Stuart Mossman, one of the organizers of the first Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, spoke to the local Rotary Club about his plans during a meeting in September 1972. The Winfield Courier summarized his presentation: “Those attending will be people who like country and bluegrass music. Many are over fifty years of age and will bring their families along. Mossman pointed out the entire festival will provide good, clean family entertainment.” The message was reinforced after the fact by Winfield Police Chief A.V. “Gus” Froemming, who praised the event in the newspaper, calling it a “very professional” atmosphere. The Courier said “possibly those who may have had qualms about the weekend had confused a bluegrass festival with a rock and roll festival. However, the police chief remarked that ‘this would be a fine place to take the whole family.’”1