By Mark Jordan
Posted December 7, 2009 at 5:45 p.m. , updated December 7, 2009 at 11 p.m.
One of the Mid-South's longest-running music series is taking an indefinite hiatus after more than four decades, a victim, its organizers say, of the struggling economy.
Over the weekend, Beth and Will Mays, proprietors of the 42-year-old Lucy Opry, sent letters to their volunteers and supporters explaining that the popular bluegrass concert series will suspend operations beginning immediately.
"After careful consideration, Will and I have decided to take a break from promoting the Lucy Opry after 10 years of having regular shows at the Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center," says the letter, which cites declining attendance over the past two seasons as well as family illness as reasons for the hiatus.
The Lucy Opry moved to the Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center in 2000.
Though the Mayses do not plan to book new shows for the foreseeable future, the annual Pickin' Picnic Bluegrass Festival scheduled for May 7 and 8, 2010, with award-winning headliners IIIrd Tyme Out, will go on as planned.
Nor have they ruled out promoting occasional bluegrass concerts under the Lucy Opry banner, though nothing on the order of the monthly shows they've produced in the past.
"We do want to let you know that while we are taking a break from the regular schedule, it doesn't mean that we might not showcase a band that is passing through town if it is something that could be pulled off with minimum energy, effort, and expense," they wrote.
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