In the hills of eastern Kentucky and throughout the Appalachian regional, coal mining has been a way of life for many. It has been part of our heritage for many years. One of the predominate themes has always been Coal – It Keeps the Lights On. Families of coal miners are not hesitant to let their voice be heard when something affects the community.
This Saturday, August 13th, the East Kentucky Exposition Center, along with the City of Pikeville, are hosting a concert by country music artists Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson. The music isn’t getting attention, but rather the controversy surrounding the show special. Displayed on it’s website and facebook for the Expo Center is a “Miner Appreciation 4 Pack.” According to officials, they are now offering four tickets for $80 total. However, calling it a Miner Appreciation has stirred up some.
The reason being – Big Kenny Alphin of Big and Rich is anti-coal and has spoke out against coal mining. Call it bad judgement by promoters at the Expo Center, but it is a slap in the face of the coal mining families to host a concert with a “miner appreciation” offer for someone that does not appreciate mining. Big Kenny is also featured on the Music Saves Mountains website
According to the Appalachian News Express, only about 1,500 tickets have been sold. General manager Steve St. John has received complaints about the views of Big Kenny Alphin on mountaintop removal coal mining. In turn, it has turned into slow ticket sales. To help off set the compliants, St. John has done radio spots to let people know that the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center is pro coal and a discount package is available.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.