Brass Band Festival driven by volunteers

Published 9:03 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Press Release

The only free, volunteer-run, annual brass band event of its type in the United States will turn 30 this year and people from all over the world will be coming to Danville to celebrate.

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The Great American Brass Band Festival (GABBF) begins its third decade this year with free, family-oriented entertainment from June 6-9. The event is managed by an executive director and assistant who are both part time, and the rest is made possible by an army of community volunteers — some of whom have been volunteering every year of the event.

“It’s incredible to see over 25,000 people from all over the globe come to enjoy world-class musicians in this free series of concerts in Danville and Boyle County, and in Harrodsburg and Shaker Village,” said Executive Director Bill Bandy. “It’s even more amazing when you realize it’s a labor of love for the people in this community. This is my first year in this role with the festival and I’m in awe of the talent, dedication and teamwork of the volunteers.”

Although new volunteers join the effort every year, there are several individuals who have volunteered annually for the past 30 years. Among them are Jim Rankin, Greg Caudill, John Albright and Terry Crowley.

Rankin said, “It’s a great community event and I’m honored every year to be involved.”

“This was originally going to be a one-year event. We were just going to see how it went and, low and behold, 30 years later we are still going strong,” Caudill said.  He said the festival represents everything Danville is about.

“It blends traditional community values and cutting edge technology for world-class entertainment, it combines the forces of the town and Centre College and it’s all about music. It combines all the things I love and I look forward to volunteering and experiencing it every single year,” Caudill said.

“Volunteering is what you do when you live in a community like Danville. We pay it forward. You gain a lot by growing up in Danville and it is a blessing to raise a family here,” Alright said. “Back in the day, when this all started, it was impossible to say no to Jerry Boyd and he recruited a whole group of us that first year. He is a giver to this community and a wonderful example for us all. Being involved and working together is the right thing to do. It’s how our town works. Besides, it’s fun.”

Crowley enjoys the camaraderie, the sense of community and the end results.

“It’s a lot of fun. That’s why we enjoy it. I love seeing the outcome. We have gone from an open stage without a roof in the early years, to the elaborate setup our guests enjoy today,” he said. “It’s such a pleasure to see all these people come to our town and enjoy themselves. We have a crew of people that have been working together for so many years and every year we welcome new faces.”

GABBF will include individual concerts, a parade, a New Orleans style “Bayou and Brass” event featuring Cajun food and music, The Great American Picnic, The Main Stage events on the campus of Centre College and a number of supporting events in and around the area.

The complete schedule, a listing of the bands performing this year, applications for picnic tables and additional information is available online at

For more information on how to become a volunteer, call Bandy at (859) 319-8426.