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

Download the 2018 Handy Festival schedule!

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. In an interview with Joe Creason of The Courier Journal, he said, “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, lunch breaks and happy hours begin earlier in the week on Monday and continues through Thursday. You can experience live music and delicious food at a number of places located in downtown Henderson. The details are on the festival schedule!

3.) There’s an Art Exhibit

From June 1 to June 18, 2018, the Handy Blues Art Exhibit will be on display from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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.) Extra Festivities & Events

Apart from the live music, there are a variety of other festivities that you can participate in during Handy Blues Fest. The W.C. Handy Tennis Tournament begins on Thursday and finishes on Saturday. Also on Saturday everyone in invited to participate in the the William Branaman Street Strut People’s Parade. Grab your feather boa and fancy umbrella and strut your stuff! There’s even an event for bikers! There will be a Poker Run on Saturday where part of the proceeds will go to support the local Henderson Humane Society.

5.) Stay in Henderson

To avoid bridge traffic and to receive the full authentic experience, make sure to plan your overnight stay in Henderson. Multiple hotels are located just a ten-minute drive from the festival. For a unique experience, stay at one of the local Bed & Breakfasts or rent a cabin at John James Audubon State Park.  For more information about overnight stays in Henderson visit our lodging page.

6.) Perfectly and Conveniently Located

Along with the free festival comes free two-hour parking. After 5 p.m. daily and on the weekends, all parking is free and unlimited. There are several local restaurants practically next door to the festival along with a variety of food vendors. Be sure to check out some of the nearby downtown shopping while you are at it. ABBA Music, Lucia Soaps, J’Petals, Beachbum Farms, Wild Child Collection, BB Rues and Simon’s Shoes are just a few of the hot shopping spots that are within walking distance of the festival.

Learn more about W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival