LOUISVILLE, KY, (August 23, 2018) – The National Jug Band Jubilee’s mission is to preserve Louisville’s legacy as the home of jug band music through music and education. In addition to putting on a free, all-day festival, the organization sends jug bands to perform at elementary schools every year on the day prior to the Jubilee and offers workshops during the festival itself. In 2018, its 14thyear, the National Jug Band Jubilee will expand its educational offerings with a panel discussion titled “The Color of Jug Band Music: Examining the Complex Racial History of the Genre.” The talk will take place at the Highlands Community Campus. 1228 E Breckinridge Street, on Friday, September 14 at 7 p.m.

Jug band music was pioneered in the late 19th century by African American musicians walked the streets of the River City playing novelty instruments like empty liquor jugs (“the poor man’s tuba”), kazoos and washboards. By the time the sound reached its peak in the 1930s, it had infiltrated towns up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, especially Memphis and New Orleans. It was also black musicians who produced the first jug band recordings. However, when the genre is depicted in contemporary media, the jug bands are usually groups of white musicians in a rural setting.

“The Color of Jug Band Music” will explore the role race, power, and mass media has played in obscuring the origins of jug band music and erasing many of the genre’s pioneers from the narrative of American popular music. The panelists will include: Heather Leoncini, President of the National Jug Band Jubilee; Jubilee board member Michael L. Jones, author of “Louisville Jug Music: From Earl McDonald to the National Jubilee”; educators and music duo Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons; and fiddle historian John Harrod. The moderator will be Nathan Salsburg, curator of the Alan Lomax Archive.

The panel discussion, which is free and open to the public, is part of an expanded Friday night line-up of events that has turned the National Jug Band Jubilee into a multi-day celebration. “The Color of Jug Band Music” will be followed, in the same space, by a swing dance event with music by New Orleans’ Frog & Henry and dance lessons with LindyHop Louisville. Admission is $10 and includes a free dance lesson. The show starts at 8:30 p.m., following the discussion. There will be a cash bar and chairs for non-dancers who just want to enjoy the music.

Also, on Friday, there will be a free National Jug Band Jubilee Jam Session at the Goodwood Tap Room. 636 E Main St, Louisville, from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Asheville, N.C.-band Vaden Landers & The Do Rights will also play a free show at the Nachbar, 969 Charles Street, from 9 p.m. to Midnight.

The 2018 National Jug Band Jubilee will take place on Saturday, September 15, 2018 at the Brown-Foreman Amphitheater in Waterfront Park. The music at begins at Noon and ends at 11 p.m. In addition to the bands, the Jubilee features other fun activities for kids ages 2 to 82. Volunteers from Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana will make and decorate instruments with kids from Noon to 6 p.m. The South Louisville-based Little Loomhouse will have several of its namesake small looms on hand so festival-goers can weave their own mug rugs and other small items from Noon to 6 p.m. The Steam Exchange, a community arts organization based in Smoketown, will be doing jug band screen printing activities for kids from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. And as always, the National Jug Band Jubilee will take a break from the music at 4 p.m. for several workshops of its own.


Here is the schedule:

  • 1:00 – Derby City Dandies (Louisville, KY)
  • 2:00 – Vaden Landers & The Do Rights (Asheville, NC)
  • 3:00 – Cincinnati Dancing Pigs (Cincinnati, OH)
  • 4:00 – Workshops: Jug, Washboard, Kazoo, Washtub, Saw, Spoons and dance!
  • 5:00 – Juggernaut Jug Band (Louisville, KY)
  • 6:00 – Chris Rodrigues and Abby the Spoon Lady (Asheville, NC)
  • 7:00 – Hubby Jenkins (New York, NY)
  • 8:15 – Frog & Henry (New Orleans, LA)
  • 9:30 – Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons (Seattle, WA)