The Cornett family of Georgetown, Kentucky, began the festival in 1974 with The Festival of the Bluegrass, which was named by Raymond McLain, Sr. The first festival stage was a farm wagon with a tarp for shelter. The fans also used a tarp as shelter from the terrible thunderstorms the first day of the festival. This first festival was held on Walnut Hall Farm, part of which is now the Kentucky Horse Park just on the north side of Lexington. Later the festival was moved to Masterson Station Park, a Lexington city park, for initially two years. However, the festival did not move back to the Horse Park until the seventeenth year, by which time the Horse Park was fully developed with a suitable campground. The annual event is a traditional bluegrass festival dedicated to preserving bluegrass music.