McMinnville officials were treated to a special screening of season three of “Bluegrass Underground” on Monday night as a thank you for the city’s $60,000 investment.
The TV show that airs on PBS is filmed at Cumberland Caverns and attracts visitors throughout the nation. Season three features Old Crow Medicine Show, The Infamous Stringdusters, Andrew Bird and nine other acts.
“We continue to gain momentum,” said show producer Todd Jarrell. “The Associated Press recently wrote a story about us that was published in nearly 200 newspapers. I was doing an Internet search and counting the papers and I finally had to stop when I got to 190. It even appeared in a newspaper in Kuwait.”
“Bluegrass Underground” has become a media darling since it made its TV debut two years ago. The show was featured as the cover story in American Profile over the weekend and it’s also made a recent appearance on “NBC Nightly News.”
“It’s going to grow with or without us,” said McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley. “I think it’s good to be a partner with something that’s going to be a success.”
Haley said the city gets “a lot of bang for our buck” by underwriting Bluegrass Underground as it attracts people to the community from all over the country.
This marks the third year the city has funded Bluegrass Underground. The first year was for $50,000, the second year was for $55,000, and this year the ante has been raised to $60,000. With McMinnville officials committing to two additional years at the $60,000 rate, the city is poised to spend $285,000 on Bluegrass Underground in five years.
“When we say this wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors, we mean it wouldn’t be possible,” said Jarrell. “That’s part of the deal that comes with being on public television.”
“Bluegrass Underground” airs on the Cookeville PBS affiliate on Wednesday and Thursday nights. It airs on the Nashville PBS affiliate on Sunday nights.
Jarrell said season four is set to be filmed at Cumberland Caverns on March 8-10.
Jarrell said the 2014 lineup would be announced in its entirely once it’s finalized.