6 Things You Need to Know Before Attending W.C. Handy Fest

The countdown has begun and W.C. Handy Fest begins next week! This large and FREE festival brings people in from all over the country to experience rhythm and blues. Before you attend, here are some fun facts to help you enjoy the festival even more.

1.) William Christopher Handy Discovered his Nature in Henderson

Similarly to legendary naturalist John James Audubon, W.C. Handy found his true calling and passion in Henderson, Ky. Handy spent nearly a decade in Henderson and wrote in his autobiography, “I didn’t write any songs in Henderson, but it was there I realized that experiences I had had, things I had seen and heard could be set down in a kind of music characteristic of my race. There I learned to appreciate the music of my people…then the blues were born, because from that day on, I started thinking about putting my own experience down in that particular kind of music.”

2.) Lunch Breaks/Happy Hours Start Early

While the live music at Audubon Mill Park doesn’t begin until Wednesday, June 14th, lunch breaks and happy hours begin earlier in the week on Monday, June 12th and continues through Thursday. You can experience live music and delicious food at a number of places located in Downtown Henderson including, but not limited to Planters Cafe, Rockhouse at Wolf’s and Tacoholics. Click here to view the entire Lunch Break/Happy Hour Schedule.

3.) There’s an Art Exhibit

From June 1-June 16, the Handy Blues Art Exhibit will be on display from 8am-5pm at Field & Main Bank’s lobby. Whether you are looking for something to do during the day or want to learn more about the Blues, this exhibit is a perfect opportunity to enhance your experience of the W.C. Handy Festival.

4.) Athletic/Competitive Events

Like to run, walk, bike, or play tennis? The W.C. Handy Tennis Tournament Begins on Thursday the 15th and finishes Saturday the 17th. Also on Saturday there will be a Street Strut 5k, The William Branaman Street Strut People’s Parade, and a Poker Run. If any of these events interest you click here for contact information and registration information.

5.) Stay in Henderson

To avoid bridge traffic, and to receive the full authentic experience make sure to stay in Henderson. Multiple hotels are located just a 10 minute drive from the festival. For a unique experience stay at one of the local Bed & Breakfasts, camp at John James Audubon State Park, or lodge in one of the cozy cabins at the state park.  For more information about lodging in Henderson click here.

6.) Perfectly and Conveniently Located

Along with the free festival comes free 2-hour parking. After 5pm daily and on the weekends all parking is free and unlimited. There are several local restaurants practically next door to the festival along with food vendors. The Henderson County Tourist Commission, shops including LuciaSoapEtc LLC, J’Petals, and Simon’s Shoes, parks, and attractions such as the riverfront fountains are all within walking distance of the festival as well.

Click here to download the festival guide.