A New Film Coming to PBS

See it August 30, 2019
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About the Film

Signed Guitar

About the Film

The story of bluegrass music isn’t simple. Bluegrass is old and young, traditional and progressive, heartfelt and technical. It’s from the Appalachian Mountains, the big cities, the whole world. Some say bluegrass is stubborn music, best bound in tradition. Others love it for its unfettered possibilities, an empty canvas for the next generation. But everybody agrees with Bill Monroe, the father of this musical family: “Bluegrass has brought more people together and made more friends than any music in the world.”

Narrated by actor and bluegrass enthusiast Ed Helms, Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music, produced by KET (Kentucky Educational Television) for national distribution via PBS in August 2019, provides a comprehensive look at bluegrass music — what it is, key musicians who have shaped its sound, and its worldwide appeal. The film explores the evolution of the bluegrass sound through generations of musicians, from early pioneers to young contemporary performers.

At the heart of the two-hour film is the music itself, as recordings and performance footage showcase and celebrate its unique sound. More than 50 musicians appear in the film, including Alison Brown, Dale Ann Bradley, Sam Bush, JD Crowe, Bela Fleck, Laurie Lewis, Del McCoury, Bobby Osborne, Ricky Skaggs, Chris Thile, and many more.

About KET


About KET

KET has a history of sharing bluegrass music with its viewers, dating back to the 1970s when it produced its first bluegrass specials. In the 1980s, the nationally distributed The Lonesome Pine Specials featured several prominent bluegrass acts. KET’s popular music series, Jubilee, followed in the 1990s and 2000s. The series filmed live at music festivals, including the River of Music Party (ROMP), IBMA Fan Fest, Festival of the Bluegrass, the International Newgrass Festival, W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival, J.D. Crowe & the New South Bluegrass Festival, and many more, for more than 15 seasons.

Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music continues this tradition. KET produces and provides innovative and relevant programs and services, giving all citizens access to in-depth information and to cultural and educational opportunities.

News & Events

Big Family autographed guitar

Join Big Family on a seven-city tour across Kentucky

KET is going on a seven-city tour across Kentucky this summer to preview Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music. The feature-length documentary offers a comprehensive look at the history of bluegrass music and showcases footage and recordings from over a half century from some of the genre’s most-celebrated performers. All events are free and […]


Big Family to be narrated by actor, musician Ed Helms

KET announces that Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music will be narrated by actor, comedian and bluegrass enthusiast Ed Helms. Helms is co-founder of The Bluegrass Situation, a national and international advocacy group for bluegrass music based in Los Angeles. KET has a history of sharing bluegrass music with its viewers, dating back to […]


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Press Kit

Official Press Release

Appearing in Film

List of individuals appearing in the film, including brief bios


Kentucky Educational Television

600 Cooper Drive
Lexington, KY 40502

Media & Interview Inquiries

Grand Communications, Inc.

Station Relations Inquiries
(including screening opportunities)

Nancy Southgate