Festival Square in Muhlenberg County to honor Everly Brothers and John Prine

The Central City attraction will include life-size bronze statues of the musicians.

Central City is creating an attraction called Festival Square to honor three icons who put Muhlenberg County on the worldwide music map: Don Everly, Phil Everly and John Prine.

Festival Square will also tell the story of the Central City Music Festival that drew thousands of fans to Muhlenberg County from 1988-2002.

Central City Tourism Director Freddie Mayes said the bronze statues are in-progress and will symbolize the energy the three musicians created during a most important era in the town’s history.

“The heart and soul during those 15 years were the Everly Brothers certainly, and then also John Prine,” said Mayes. “For those 15 years of festivals, John Prine was here for eight of those.”

John Prine performs at the Lu-Ray Amphitheater in Muhlenberg County. (Photo from city of Central City.)

Don and Phil Everly are the town’s favorite sons. John Prine’s parents were from Muhlenberg County and even though he grew up near Chicago, his summer visits to Kentucky relatives led to one of his most well-known songs, “Paradise,” which tells the story of a coal company’s destruction of that town on the Green River.

Mayes said the project honors the musicians as well as the Central City Music Festival volunteers

“Life-size bronze statues of those music artists, then as well as paying tribute to those hundreds of volunteers that worked every Labor Day weekend for 15 years in order to put on those festivals,” said Mayes.

Regional leaders held a groundbreaking in May for Festival Square, a $500,000 project. The landscaping and statues are expected to be completed for a dedication of the project in September or October. 

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This story first ran on WKYU, the public radio station at Western Kentucky University.