Fifty years ago bluegrass music was roughly 25 years old and hitting its full stride. Multi-day bluegrass festivals were gaining in popularity around the country, the first-generation bands were still performing and in their prime, and the second-generation bands were developing strong reputations. During 1971, Tony Rice joined J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson joined the Country Gentlemen, and the New Grass Revival was born. Bluegrass festivals also became “international” with the inclusion of Bluegrass 45 from Japan and the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band from New Zealand performing at a number of festivals that year.
To give you a feel for what was happening fifty years ago in bluegrass we provide below the results from the 1971 Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine Reader’s Poll and a listing of that year’s Festivals from the Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine Festival Listing issue.