In the early 1970s, about the only opportunity for a band to perform during the winter months was in bars and taverns. Mr. E. J. Spence and his family band sought a more wholesome place where they could express their talent. In late 1973, a “chance” meeting on a Leesburg street between Mr. E. J. Spence and an official of the Lucketts Civic Association (LCA) changed all of that. The LCA official agreed to allow the family band to perform at the under-used Old Lucketts School. Hence, the genesis of Lucketts Bluegrass!
On January 12th of 1974 the weekly bluegrass concert series was launched and almost 42 years later, the program is still in full swing. it is said to be the longest, continual, scheduled bluegrass concert series in the world.
Led by volunteers who appreciate the importance of this historical art form, the series has hosted hundreds of performances of local, regional, and national bands from Ralph Stanley and Doyle Lawson to the Seldom Scene, The Country Gentlemen, and Nothin’ Fancy. It has been referred to as “the Ryman of bluegrass,” the reference being to Nashville’s Ryman auditorium, the long-time home of the Grand Ole Opry.
For many years, the “bluegrass volunteers” were the people needed to execute the concerts held each Saturday night from October through April excluding major holiday weekends. Sponsorship, promotion and administration were provided by the Lucketts Community Center Advisory Board and the community center staff. However, by 2007, the bluegrass program had grown to the point where a new non-profit entity, The Lucketts Bluegrass Foundation, was needed to administer the complete bluegrass program in partnership with the community center.
The individuals who volunteer to make the concerts possible include both those with the management and administrative skills needed to operate the foundation as well as those with the skills to execute the weekly concerts.