About Uncle Pen Festival

Founded in 1974, Uncle Pen Days began as a tribute to Bill Monroe's maternal uncle, James Pendleton Vandiver. "Uncle Pen" played the fiddle and Monroe later said that he was the "fellow that I learned to play from." Bill Monroe's parents had both died by the time he was 16, and Monroe lived part of the time this his uncle, where he would play mandolin while his uncle played fiddle at local square dances and social events. Greatly influenced by Vandiver, Bill Monroe wrote a song about him, Uncle Pen, in 1950 — a song that went on to be a hit for Porter Wagoner (1954) and Ricky Skaggs (1984). Uncle Pen Fest is 4 days of different styles of bluegrass music, some workshops, jams and lots of gathering of friends and fellow campers. If you like to camp, there are plenty of campsites available from primitive to water/electric hookup for any size camper. Camping reservations are separate from admission tickets, each person staying at the campsite is required to purchase their own admission ticket. Reserve your campsite online through our reservation system. If camping isn't your style, book a room at our host hotel. Make plans to arrive on Wednesday so you don't miss a minute of the entertainment that begins Thursday-Saturday.