The first "Bean" was held June 11-13, 1999, in the woods of Brown County, Indiana. The original organizer, John Hall, owned Bushman Music Works, a company that produces harmonicas and ukuleles. He wanted to throw a party for his harmonica customers, and invited some of his musician customers to perform including Snooky Pryor and Willie Foster.
Originally he intended for the Bean to be a small, intimate party, a gathering for harmonica musicians to get together to "Jam" surrounded by close friends. When the word began to spread that Snooky Pryor and other great blues musicians were coming to perform, the party grew to over 700 people.
The Fest has evolved over the years with over 120 musicians performing, and has grown into one of "America's Favorite Blues Festival". Held at the historic Bill Monroe Music Park, the legendary home for the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival, the 55 acre park allows a unique blend of camping and Hoosier Hospitality, and the sounds from the main stage can be heard throughout the park.
The Fest continues to hold the charm of a small, friendly gathering of close friends, blues musicians and blues lovers. The intimate main stage has a rich history of over 55 years of performances from musicians from all over the world. Jam sessions pop up throughout the festival – campsites, Hippy Hill Stage, on golf carts and the now famous "Cabin 12 Jammers", who have been performing on the main stage since 2011.
In 2014, John stepped down as the organizer. Grant Stuart, a successful local business owner and longtime supporter of the Blues Fest took over the reins. His goal is similar to John's - keep the steep tradition of the harmonica musicians, but build towards the future by discovering new talent and promoting the Blues and American Roots music. He wants to continue to foster the brotherly love that is felt throughout the Bean and hopes that families, friends and visitors to Brown County experience the uniqueness this fest shares over other fests.
Everyone is always welcome at the Bean Blossom Blues Fest – it is Hoosier Hospitality at its best!