Bluegrass Battle In Court

A dispute over the use of Bill Monroe’s name went to trial Feb. 15 in western Kentucky even as the bluegrass community celebrates the legendary performer’s centennial.

The issue is whether the Ohio County Industrial Foundation transferred rights to use Monroe’s name and likeness to the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation. The foundation produces the annual Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Celebration at Monroe’s homestead in Rosine.

According to the Cybergrass bluegrass music news website, the dispute may have its roots in a dispute involving Monroe’s son, the Industrial Foundation and the Monroe Brothers Foundation.

Jerusalem Ridge Foundation Executive Director Campbell Mercer told the Messenger-Inquirer of Owensboro he anticipated the trial would take one or two days. A decision was not reached at press time.

The foundation filed the lawsuit over issues that have simmered since 2005, according to, including whether about $162,000 the Industrial Foundation provided as a down payment on Monroe’s mandolin was a loan.