- Annual Meeting
- Get Involved
BLUEGRASS JAMBOREE. The Bluegrass Jamboree was an annual bluegrass festival held each spring in Oakdale Park at Glen Rose, Texas. The event was organized by park owners Alton “Whimp” and Geneva “Pete” May in collaboration with Thurman Winnett in 1972. The Mays had purchased Oakdale Park on June 15, 1963, and restored the grounds, which included a large pool and cottages. Eventually, they also installed recreational vehicle hook-ups. The Mays, a musical family, agreed with the suggestion to host a bluegrass festival. A metal trailer served as the first stage in 1972, and the jamboree featured Earl Garner & The Bluegrass Mountaineers from Elkhart, Texas, and the Watkins Family from Shreveport, Louisiana. Other performers included the Double Mountain Boys of Lipan, Texas, and Debbie Bridgewater.
Over the years the Mays upgraded the event’s amenities including the construction of a covered stage for performers. The jamboree included both stage performances along with numerous jam sessions on the park grounds. The annual jamboree, along with regularly-scheduled bluegrass jam sessions, picnics, and reunions through the year, earned Oakdale Park the reputation as the bluegrass capital of Texas.
The jamboree has featured bluegrass artists from across the state, including the Double Mountain Boys, the Earls Brothers, Concho Grass, WST Bluegrass, Honey Creek Highway, Carroll Parham, Texas Trailblazers, as well as owner Whimp May and other local musicians. Traditional instrumentation includes guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and bass playing a variety of both new tunes and adaptations of traditional favorites such as “Red River Valley,” “Sioux City Sue,” and “Redwing.”
Whimp and Pete May, along with their son Scott and his wife Judy May, hosted thirty-six years of the jamboree until Oakdale Park was put up for sale. The final event, billed as “Oakdale Park’s Farewell Bluegrass Jamboree,” was held March 29–April 1, 2007, and featured a number of musicians and approximately a dozen bands—some of which had performed at the first jamboree. The city of Glen Rose purchased Oakdale Park in 2009 and made plans to renovate the premises and resurrect the bluegrass festival. Spring and fall festivals have subsequently taken place around early April and in October as the Paluxy River Spring Bluegrass Festival and the Paluxy River Fall Bluegrass Festival.
Cleburne Times–Review, April 14, 2007. Glen Rose Newspaper, March 22, 2007. Glen Rose Reporter , January 13, 2010. Alton “Whimp” May and Geneva “Pete” May, Conversation with author, July 10, 2010, Glen Rose, Texas. ”Oakdale Park—Headquarters for Family Fun,” brochure, Oakdale Park, Glen Rose, Texas. Paluxy Valley Fall Bluegrass Festival, City of Glen Rose (http://glenrosebluegrass.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=51), accessed September 8, 2015.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Laurie E. Jasinski, "BLUEGRASS JAMBOREE," accessed September 23, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/xfb02.
Uploaded on June 3, 2014. Modified on September 8, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.