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YACtoberfest Comes to Paducah September 30 Through October 2

YACtoberfest will take place in Carson Park in Paducah, September 30th through October 2nd.
Yeiser Art Center
YACtoberfest will take place in Carson Park in Paducah, September 30th through October 2nd.

COVID-19 closures shut down Paducah's annual Lowertown Arts and Music Festival last May. This year, the Yeiser Art Center hosts a revamped event with a new venue, new acts, and the same dedication to promoting great art and culture.

"It's a lot different than Lowertown Arts and Music Festival," music director Seth Murphy explains. "It's not meant to replace it by any means. It's something else we're doing that's meant to help the Yeiser Art Center. It's a pandemic recovery event."

In years past, LAMF was a free event that attracted thousands of people to the Lowertown area. To help raise funds for the Yeiser Art Center, Murphy says, YACtoberfest will be a ticketed event.

"So, to get people out, we have to book some serious talent," he continues. That talent includes acts like Pokey Lafarge, Kelsey Waldon, Lucero, Nappy Roots, and recent addition Tommy Prine, the son of the late John Prine.

Murphy is excited about all of the artists booked to play the three-day event, but he's especially looking forward to incorporating groups like Nappy Roots.

"We haven't done hip hop music before. And I think it's a huge gap that I've always been looking to fill and never found the right musician. With some of the group deeply rooted in Kentucky, they kind of gave birth to this southern rap genre. I think it's a great fit to bill alongside groups like Pokey Lafarge and Lucero throughout the day. We try to cast our net pretty wide for bringing people in and having a full diverse day of bands."

Finding artists who were performing and traveling was a challenge in and of itself, Murphy adds. "People are re-evaluating what's important to them. Musicians and artists especially. Some musicians aren't touring right now that normally would."

"There were musicians that I reached out to that said we're not playing any dates this year; we're going to wait until next year. Both because they're not ready to tour, and they're focusing more on making recordings or focusing on their home life. There are a lot of variables to putting together a festival day. It's a giant puzzle. It's always so much fun seeing how it comes together. I think we've put together a pretty good puzzle this year."

Another change to the Yeiser Art Center's festival format is a new venue. "Carson Park is our venue this year," Murphy says. "It's going to be a great place to be. We're going to have two stages: a big main stage and a second stage. We're going to have nonstop music. People can go back and forth in Carson Park. We'll have art, food, and drink vendors as well as kids' activities. We're going to have a petting zoo, pretty excited about that."

"As far as ticket prices, now's a great time to get a ticket. The prices are going up the first week of August. We've priced our tickets as low as we can really because we want people to come out. Weekend passes right now are $20, and you get to see all those great musicians."

For a full line-up, festival map, and updates, visit the Yeiser Art Center's website or Facebook page.

Tracy started working for WKMS in 1994 while attending Murray State University. After receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees from MSU he was hired as Operations/Web/Sports Director in 2000. Tracy hosted All Things Considered from 2004-2012 and has served as host/producer of several music shows including Cafe Jazz, and Jazz Horizons. In 2001, Tracy revived Beyond The Edge, a legacy alternative music program that had been on hiatus for several years. Tracy was named Program Director in 2011 and created the midday music and conversation program Sounds Good in 2012 which he hosts Monday-Thursday. Tracy lives in Murray with his wife, son and daughter.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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