The Parklands of Floyds Fork system is still under construction, but the two northernmost parks – Beckley Creek Park and Pope Lick Park – are open. On Friday, Beckley Creek Park will host the Creekside Jam concert, the Parklands’ first ticketed concert featuring acclaimed Bluegrass musicians Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, “newgrass” pioneer Sam Bush, and Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.
Beckley Creek Park is located off Shelbyville Road near the Gene Snyder Freeway.
This isn’t the first concert Beckley Creek Park has hosted – The 23 String Band played there last September, when the park’s aptly-named oblong Egg Lawn opened. But Creekside Jam is a ticketed benefit (tickets available through the Parklands website) for the nonprofit, privately-funded and -operated public park system that, when completed, will include 4,000 acres across 19 miles of continuously connected parklands along the eastern edge of Jefferson County.
“If we think of Louisville as a clock, we go essentially from 3 o clock to 6 o clock, from Shelbyville Road in the north to Bardstown Road in the south, with full park connectivity all the way through,” said Parklands director Scott Martin.
The parklands are always open to the public free of charge, but the system is supported by individual memberships and corporate and foundation support.
“What we are doing is exactly what Frederick Law Olmstead did in Louisville when he came here in the 1890s through 1910 and built Cherokee, Iroquois and Shawnee [Parks],” Martin said. Those parks were well outside the city limits when they were built, they were farm fields.”
“We’re trying to do it again for the next 100 years,” he added.
Martin hopes to stage more concerts at Beckley Creek Park in the future, especially country and Bluegrass acts, which he feels are uniquely suited to the natural surroundings. He calls Beckley Creek Park the most human-centric of the Parklands – surrounded by nature, but friendly to crowds, especially on the festival promenade, where choruses of frogs and spring peepers spring up out of the adjacent wetlands.
“So it feels much more country, but can handle large groups of folks. And that’s what we designed it to do – festivals, art shows, we have a farmers market coming up soon,” he said. “This is really the heart and soul, or the pulse, of the park, in terms of the human experience.”
Martin says the hot air balloon glow that accompanied last year’s 23 String Band show was popular, so they’re bringing it back for the Creekside Jam. Tickets are general admission, and patrons are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets, but leave the food and drink at home – both will be sold on-site.