Ken Seaman grew up in the Ozark town of Eminence, Missouri, during the 1940s and 1950s. He became interested in country and bluegrass music at an early age. For years during his youth, Saturday night meant listening to the Grand Ole Opry from start to finish. As a result, he developed a life-long love for the music.
Live music was an important aspect of Ozark culture, and Ken started playing guitar at age 10, making his first stage appearance at a rural school “pie supper” as a teenager. After watching Bill Monroe perform at the local high school gym in the 1950s, Ken developed an enduring love for bluegrass music and the 5-string banjo.
In 1966 Ken joined the Current River Opry in Eminence and performed there for the next nine years playing bluegrass music with Jim Orchard and the Bressler Brothers as part of a country music show featuring Urel Albert and several other local musicians. It was one of the first family country music shows in Missouri and a forerunner to the popular shows that were to develop in Branson and other Missouri locations. Feature articles on the Current River Opry appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the New York Times.
Ken and his father, Carl, started the Ozark Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Eminence in 1970 – one of the first bluegrass festivals established west of the Mississippi River. The event was produced throughout the 1970s and the mid-1980s, and it attracted many of the top acts in bluegrass, greatly popularizing the music in the Midwest.
In 1975 Ken and his family moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, and his involvement with bluegrass music continued. He and four other local musicians formed the Bluegrass Patriots band in 1980 and continued playing as a touring band until 2011. During that time, they recorded five bluegrass albums and toured throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Two of their recordings appeared on the “National Bluegrass Survey,” and the group has given Colorado performances for President Gerald Ford, Senator/Astronaut John Glenn, and Governor Richard Lamm.
Ken started the Mid-Winter Bluegrass Festival in Fort Collins in 1986, and this popular indoor event continues – attracting fans from across Colorado and the entire nation. Now located in Northglenn, Colorado, the festival will celebrate its 32nd year in 2017. Ken and his wife, Mary, still reside in Fort Collins and continue to promote and play the bluegrass music they love so well! "Ken Seaman is Colorado's Mr. Bluegrass. Besides being a top notch banjo player and performer, Ken and his lovely wife Mary have produced the MidWinter bluegrass festival for 30 years," said Jan Willis, a long-time CBMS volunteer and former board member. "Ken continues to be a huge bluegrass inspiration to all bluegrass lovers - young and old"