Beneath thousands of feet big and small, the green grass of Cowley County Fairgrounds
turns blue for a whole week at the end of every summer. This September marked the 44th
anniversary of the Walnut Valley Festival. The annual family-friendly bluegrass festival has
been known to draw crowds of up to 16,000 people from all over the country and is home to
national and international bluegrass competitions.
Notable international events during the week include the Fingerstyle Championship and
Autoharp Championship, while the many national events include contests such as the Mandolin,
Mountain Dulcimer, Hammered Dulcimer and Bluegrass Banjo competitions and the Walnut
Valley Old Time Fiddle Championships.
Aside from the official contests, the festival also showcases countless touring bands and
solo artists on four different stages. Some prominent recording artists who have graced Winfield
with their performances include Doc & Merle Watson, Lester Flatt, Mark O’Connor, The Dixie
Chicks, Alison Krauss and Mike Snider among hundreds more.
Densely packed with cars, tents and RVs, finding a spot to park and pitch a tent becomes
a tricky task for anyone arriving late in the week. A team of KJHK reporters took to the gravel
streets of the fairgrounds after setting up camp for the night to see what they could find. After
enjoying a delightful performance by My Grass Is Blue on an unofficial, grassroots stage
beloved by longtime Winfield-goers, Stage 5, they stumbled upon the band’s campsite and
conducted an interview with Spoondawg. Check out the audio for the interview.