Kentucky is a Southern state in the East South Central region of the USA. Along with Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, is one of only four states constituted as a commonwealth. This means that its government is based on the common consent of the people, but that has no actual constitutional impact. Among the highlights of the Bluegrass State, as Kentucky is known, are the longest cave system and the two largest man-made lakes in the world. KY is also notable for the quality of its livestock, and its many contributions to popular culture, such as bluegrass music and bourbon distilleries, among others.
The bluegrass that gives this place its nickname has been essential to the breeding of livestock, especially thoroughbred horses. As a matter of fact, the state is home to the world famous Kentucky Derby. In addition, Kentucky ranks 5th in goat farming, 8th in beef cattle production, and 14th in production of corn. Beyond agriculture, the economy of Kentucky is also based on auto manufacturing, energy fuel production, and medical facilities. Furthermore, the KY government is constantly attempting to attract tourists through slogans such as ‘It’s that friendly’ and campaigns like ‘Unbridled Spirit.’
When it comes to drawing visitors, however, Kentucky is not short on natural attractions. Some of them include the Cumberland Gap, famously used by legendary explorer Daniel Boone; Cumberland Falls, a waterfall known as the Little Niagara; Mammoth Cave National Park, the aforementioned cave system; Red River Gorge, a canyon system on the Red River; The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area managed by the US Forest Service; The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area close to Whitley City; Black Mountain which is the highest point in the entire commonwealth; Bad Branch Falls State Nature Preserve in Letcher county; Jefferson Memorial Forest, the largest municipal forest in the US; Lake Cumberland, the largest artificial lake; and Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Powell county.
Culturally speaking, the music of Kentucky comes to the forefront, in particular bluegrass, a sub-genre of country music which creation is credited to Bill Monroe, a Kentuckian musician founder of the Blue Grass Boys and referred to as the father of this genre. Other noted musicians from Kentucky include the Everly Brothers, Loretta Lynn, Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless, and Montgomery Gentry. Music in Kentucky is showcased in several different festivals, such as the Summer Motion Festival, Poage Landing Days, the International Strange Music Weekend, the Renfro Valley Barn Dance, the Forkland Heritage Festival and Revue, and the Festival of the Bluegrass. The latter started in 1974, and it is the oldest music festival of its kind in Kentucky, and it was founded by the Cornett family of Georgetown. From 1998 on, the festival comprises three stages and includes a music camp developed to teach children this kind of music.