Warren Musgrove

Lived in St. Clair Co., AL

Musgrove started the Horse Pens 40 park with Its 250 million-year-old rock formations in 1961 as a nature attraction. In 1964 Emmylou Harris performed the first gig of her career at Horse Pens 40. 1966 featured The Country Gentlemen, with a young Ricky Scaggs. A 13-year-old Mark O'Connor was invited to Horse Pens 40 in 1969 and won the flattop guitar contest. Horse Pens 40 organized the first Bluegrass Festival in the U.S. in 1973, providing big names in bluegrass music, such as Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Ralph Stanley, Lester Flatt, Ricky Scaggs, Red Clay Ramblers, High Wood String Band, Norman Blake, Sam McGhee, Three On A String, Claire Lynch with her Front Porch String Band, and many others. In 1982, Horse Pens 40 was voted and recognized by IBMA as the number one Bluegrass Festival in America.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

 

Fiddle music and its stylistic kin have long been associated with community events and outdoor celebrations. The earliest forms were events such as political rallies, Fourth-of-July celebrations, and harvest festivals. In the post-World War II era, Alabamians organized outdoor music festivals around heritage themes and around particular styles of music. Warren Musgrove's gospel and bluegrass festival at Horse Pens 40 park near Steele, begun in 1958, was influential as an outdoor traditional music venue.

Source: Encyclopedia of Alabama: Traditional Music

More info:hp40.com

Around 1958, a man from Huntsville, Alabama named Warren Musgrove discovered the acoustic quality of the natural amphitheater and developed the park as a venue for Bluegrass and Gospel music concerts. It was one of the first outdoor bluegrass music festivals in the country, and by the 1970s had grown to be one of the largest in the world. The park served as a venue showcasing many legends of the Bluegrass genre including Bill Monroe, Charlie Daniels, Ricky Skaggs, Lester Flatt, Ralph Stanley, Doc Watson, and Norman Blake. Emmylou Harris made her first public appearance at Horse Pens 40, "standing barefoot on a wooden door propped up on the rocks." During this period, the park was designated by the Alabama State Legislature as "The Home of the South's Bluegrass Music".

Source: Horse Pens 40 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

 

.....As she started performing professionally, Harris says, one of her very first bookings came at the rocky natural amphitheater at Horse Pens 40 in Steele.

"I remember being hired by (the park's founder) Warren Musgrove and how beautiful it was and probably how nervous I was," she says.

According to the Horse Pens Web site, Harris played and sang barefoot at that show, standing on a wooden door balanced on the rocks. The park's lore maintains that she was paid a platter of fruit for her efforts, although Harris has never verified it.

We do know for sure that the fledgling folkie spent the next three decades polishing her skills, improving her abilities and discovering the nuances of her talents......

Source: Emmylou Harris - Alabama Music Hall of Fame

More info: Naked Birmingham

 

BRC Hall Of Fame Bio: Country Boy Eddie Burns | Birmingham Record Collectors

 

 

 

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