Kentucky Blues

They say you could no more take the Kentucky Derby out of Kentucky than you could run the Ohio River to Nebraska – if that makes any sense.

Around 150,000 race-goers will flock to the Churchill Downs track in Louisville to watch the running of the world's most famous horse race. But more than that, the crowds will enjoy the week-long party that surrounds the two-minute spectacle. Drunken revelry spills over into the pageantry of the genteel south in the form of preposterous hats, marching bands and industrial quantities of mint julep – that lethal southern mix of bourbon, syrup and mint.

And after all the hoi-poloi with the horsey set, you’ll need to come down a peg or two to reality. Which is when you tune in and turn on to Bluegrass.

Bluegrass is Kentucky's official state music, and Bill ‘Big Mon’ Monroe's Blue Moon of Kentucky, along with Stephen Foster's My Old Kentucky Home are the official state songs. Both drop the perfect soundtrack for driving through the rolling pasturelands of, er, Kentucky bluegrass, and the eastern Appalachian mountains, where the scenery shouts BANJO, albeit with a twang!

There's live bluegrass music at The Bluegrass Brewing Company in Louisville, bbcBrew, and the annual River of Music Party (ROMP) in Owensboro in July, BluegrassMuseum.

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