Homecoming Concerts


On July 5th 1986 the 1st of the Homecoming Concerts was in Shenandoah, Iowa. The Everly Brothers took part in a parade down Main Street. They stopped off for hot dogs and beer at the Depot Deli which has an "Everly Wall" with lots of photographs on which The Everly Brothers signed their autographs. Fremont Street was renamed Everly Brothers Avenue and they were both presented with honorary Shenandoah High School diplomas. They held a press conference in the library and signed autographs. There was also a dedication for an Everly Brothers Memorial. They posed for photographs in front of one of their childhood homes.

At 7pm that night they dressed in tuxedos for an outdoor concert in front of approximately 8,500 fans, the concert was cut short due to a big thunderstorm. Don & Phil hurried to their class reunions of 1955 and 1957 then they boarded buses for North Dakota, their next stop.

A large amount of the Everly's pay went to start up an Everly Family Scholarship for students, to assist children from Shenandoah's Middle and High schools as well as those wanting to go to college. Only local children were eligible.




These blocks of photos above up to the Everly Banner all came from Sharon

The above 11 photographs Sharon posted onto the feed 11th September 2016, they look great with all the others now.


By WILLIAM C. TROTT, United Press International | July 7, 1986

The Everly Brothers were in Shenandoah, Iowa, Saturday for a welcome-home parade and concert, which was a success despite rain, heavy winds and a tornado watch. Phil and Don had to stop the parade when they spotted one of their former teachers, Mamie Ruth, 98, so they could give her a hug.

Five-thousand people crowded into the concert but the stagehands almost revolted when high winds threatened to blow away the roof over the stage. The brothers still managed to finish the show with 'Let It Be Me.' 'I don't leave the stage until I sing 'Let It Be Me,'' Phil said. The Everly Brothers got their start singing on radio stations in Shenandoah with their parents in the 1940s.

We know it rained heavy at the Shenandoah Homecoming concert, it is well documented and Phil and Don did get quite wet - photos of them with wet hair and clothes - but this is the first time I have read about a tornado.


The last photo is of the RBJ Trio in 2015 at the "Shenfest"

Last update on October 16, 12:51 pm by Chris.
1988 was the 1st Annual Everly Brothers Festival, Central City, Kentucky.

No alcohol was allowed in Muhlenberg County (dry territory).

In addition to the Everlys there were many other artists, including John Prine, Lisa Childress and Dennis Payne. It was a one day festival and approximately 8,000 people attended. They were billed as the 'new legends'.

There was a parade, the Everly Brothers Monument was unveiled in front of City Hall, they also pressed their hands into cement for posterity and they made speeches. Many had come from out of town to see them.

In 1988 the Everly Brothers concert cleared about $20,000

This clip last for 5.05 minutes



BEG, STEAL or BORROW, but make sure to get there!
Heroes Phil and Don Everly decided, some ten years ago now, to help their home town out of financial troubles. The police department needed new radio equipment real badly and the budget was not sufficient. Don and Phil donated the money, but that was not all. A new era for Central City began in 1987 when Phil and Don agreed to do a benefit concert in Don's home town Central City. In fact Don was not born in Central City, but in Brownie, but it is so near to Central City that the claim is legal and acceptable. Phil was not born in Kentucky at all but in Chicago. Brownie does not exist any longer. It was demolished many years ago and nothing is left there except for bushes and memories.
Since the first benefit concert that the Everlys did things have changed for the better in Central City. By now the "Homecoming" festival has turned into a yearly event on Labour day and the week before that. The concerts attract thousands of music lovers from all over the world. Especially Everly and John Prine fans travel for many many hours to be there. Apart from every state in the USA, Everly fans from the following countries attended the concert(s) during the last 6 years: UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Canada, France, Poland and Japan.
There is an EVERLY BROTHERS FOUNDATION in Central City, and they have, together with the help of some 600 volunteers, to deal with the tremendous job when the town gets hectic and has to deal with a crowd that has been more then four times Central City's population.
During the first few years the festivals net proceeds were spent on the creation of a college scholarship. By the time the Everly Brothers Founda- tion had enough money to fund eight $ 1,000 scholarships each year, it started heading for other plans. An Everly (and other musicians) museum is planned as well as a centre where an audience can sit down and listen to live music.
If you reach Central City on the Western Kentucky Parkway only the blind can miss the large sign that marks the 83 acre piece of land that the foundation bought for this purpose.
The first donation to the museum is hidden in a "secret" garage somewhere in Central City, but Phil Everly's vintage 1960s black Cadillac went on display at a parking lot in Central City last year. A lot of people did not know it belonged to Phil.
The success of the Homecoming Concerts must have been a very welcome one for Central City and its population. It must have showed them that, in spite of serious depression, things can change for the better. Two new motels opened their doors for visitors during the last few years.
Visitors who plan to go to Central City for can expect to see the new, soon to be opened, $ 37 million Dollar medium security State prison.
Do you really need to know all this before you finally make up your mind about going to Central City? Of course not, but it helps. It certainly is useful to know a tiny bit of history about this little jewel in Western Kentucky. This city was first mentioned as Morehead's Horse Hill in 1870.
A guy called John Stroud, who tried to enlarge his property, bought the land from Morehead and called it Stroud City in 1873. Some years later Stroud City became known as Owensboro Junction. It was not until 1882 that the town got his present name CENTRAL CITY. I know that in Kentucky Magazine issue 55 my good pal Martin Alberts did a story on his (our) experiences during his visit in 1992. It is not my goal to outdo him in any way, but I must admit that I had this incredible urge to put my own, sometimes emotional, but most of all glorious experience in print. I honestly hope that the story of my odyssey may persuade you (as a true and dedicated Everly Brothers fan) of the need to go out there and see for yourself what this is all about. It is a breathtaking experience, and absolutely one you will never forget. I talked about recession, and I know that this is a hot item here in Europe as well as in the USA, and all around the world. But please save up your money, buy a ticket and fly to the USA. You will absolutely not regret it.
Central City welcomes you with open arms, and is delighted to have you there. They are constantly busy to prove to you no problem or desire is impossible for them to solve. They are proud of their city (as they should be).
They are happy to share their stories, their wit and their home with you, If... you are open to them too. Coming from a rather large and busy city where I hardly know who my neighbour is, where I have to fight for a parking space and where everyday struggle is a reality, I must admit that I was kind of paranoid when I first visited Central City. It felt like something out of the book/movie "The Stepford Wives" by Ira Levin. Why are all these people so nice and friendly? What do they want from me? What's in the air here? Or what do they put in the water supply to make people so friendly and inviting? By now I know better. They want nothing from me except to start learning to know me. I also now recognise and have learned to appreciate that famous Southern hospitality. Central City keeps you busy, so be prepared for a hectic week, although you can slow down a bit when you really want to. But I'll bet you do not even have the time to think about it. Time does fly. Particularly when you are in a perfect mood and when you are surrounded by so many fine people.
In an article like this is it impossible to mention names of all the people who are either involved with the organisation,or that touched me one way or the other. One always forget a few, and that might be hurtful to anyone accidentally omitted. So I decided not to go into prolonged lists. But I can not do this piece without mentioning just a few. First of all there is the wonderful, energetic Mrs. Diane Burch. She and her staff do a perfect job. If you, as a future traveller to Central City, have any problem, be sure to go to the City Hall and ask her for advice or help. This lady sure knows what her job is all about, and... she seems to enjoy what she is doing. If you attend the "Muhlenberg Everly Brothers Fan Club Night" you will without any doubt, run into that spectacular lady Marilyn Kirtley. She and her girls (yes, you too Suzy and Nancy) make you feel at home. Her Twilight Drive-in looks comfortable and cosy. The food was very good and the music was perfect, and do not forget that that is the night where you might run into the Everly penpal that you have never met before. It is very presumably that he or she is there as so many Everly Brothers fans from around the globe do meet there.
There unquestionably is one man I cannot afford not to mention. The extra- ordinarily friendly Mr. Ted Everly is not just Phil and Don's cousin, he is also a member of the Everly Brothers Foundation. He runs the Welborn/Everly car sale company on Everly Brothers Boulevard, and is the Rev. of the "Light House Baptist Church" in Central City.
He is the son of Leonard Everly and Mary Louise Ralph.His daddy was (together with) Charles Bennett (uncle Charley) and Isac Milford (uncle Ike) a member of the original Everly Brothers. All were the children of Issac Melford Everly and Mary Delilah Norris who produced a family of nine altogether. All of these kids must have been musical talents in their own right. Let's not forget that Aunt Hattie was the one who introduced the well known "drum beat" to the by now famous Muhlenberg Sound, and let's not forget that all Everly's play the guitar and so do Ted and his son David.
Ted Everly is everywhere. His main concern seems to be being your friend. He has a photographic memory when it comes to names. Be assured that once you have been introduced he knows your name. He is very charitable with his time, and is always willing to spend time with you or help you out if there are certain problems, even though he must have a chaotic schedule. As you get to know him better he likes to share some of his early memories with you, and... he is extremely proud and affectionate of his famous cousins. He also is a very honest and sincere man. He seems (to me) rather emotional too, and that is something I truly like in people.
When a few of us suggested we would love to do a tour through the area to visit all the Everly prominent places in the area, this amazing man, without reluctance promised, to drive us round and he took care of this in his very own relaxed and special way.
He took a group of approximately 15 of us in a bus (Everly fans in cars followed us) for a trip around what we call places of interest. If you remember the "Rock and Roll Odyssey" or the BBC Arena TV production called "Songs Of Innocence And Experience" you know precisely what I'm talking about. Yes, we went to the old (by now closed) mine shafts, we passed that tiny underpass where the Everly Brothers graffiti once was (Central City should consider getting a good replacement for that piece of graffiti). We went to Rose Hill Cemetery and paid a visit to Ike's grave. He showed us the land that the Foundation has bought. In fact he showed us everything that could have been important to all of us Everly freaks who came along for this wonderful excursion. In his own charming way he told us the stories he knew and remembered from back then. He showed us Brownie, his own house as well as some of the houses of his family members and... he did not want anything from us in return for all this. We made a collection and he did not want to take our money. When one of us suggested he should consider taking the money and use it for his church, only then he accepted it, but we really had to force it on him. Even if I never return to Central City again, Mr. Ted Everly is a guy I will not lightly forget.
And now you non USA readers who yet have not made the important step across the Atlantic, and you USA citizens, who think a couple of hours car drive (or plane travel) is just too much bother, let me tell you: you are wrong. It certainly is worth every mile and every dollar. I do not care if you have a phobia for planes, I do not care if you do not have the money. What happened to your credit cards?? I realise very well that I cannot "look into your wallet", neither can I order you to go. But... for the true and dedicated Everly fan Central City absolutely is what Graceland is to Elvis fans. There is a very important difference though. While Graceland is a rather commercial and a bit tacky experience (in my opinion), Central City is pure, honest, nice, sweet and most of all it is there for you. I truly hope this article may convince another dozen Everly fans of the cultural need to go there in for the next "Homecoming" which is as always scheduled again for Labour day weekend.

By: Peter Aarts

Last update on February 25, 7:11 pm by Chris.
In 1989 the 2nd Annual Everly Brothers Music Festival took place. This was now a 3 day festival. The 10th to the 12th of August.

On the first day there was an Everly Brothers lunch and golf tournament, but no celebrity took part including Phil & Don. The Central City Times-Argus reported that the tournament would include some celebrities in future. At 6.30pm The Muhlenberg County Everly Brothers Fan Club picnic started and a local musician Royce Morgan of Beechmont and some others entertained them. It was reported 200 fans attended, 50 were from out of state.

The second day they held a Fan Fair where you could get souvenirs and T-shirts. A celebrity auction was also held, about 25 items were sold and raised over $2,000. Items were donated by Willie Nelson, the Statler Brothers, Hank Williams Jr, Alabama and John Prine.

At 8pm the talent search was started, 60 auditioned and 11 were chosen to compete. The winner was Debra Tuggle of Louisville who won $250 in cash and 5 hours of studio time at the local Central City Recording Studio in Ash Street. In later years the auditions were conducted via tapes sent through the mail.

On the last day of this 2nd Annual Music Festival a thumb-picking contest was held. Mrs Mose Rager and Dorothy Travis were present, Margaret Everly was absent. Apparently Don wanted to go and see the show but he couldn't.

The colours of the festival in 1989 were yellow and black, drinking cups, T-shirts etc. The T-shirts were yellow with a black photo of the Everly Brothers on them. Don & Phil didn't like the T-shirts, Don particularly, he said everyone looked like bumble bees. Apparently he held a T-shirt up to his chest and said "Killer Bee".

At a press conference in the afternoon the Everlys asked industry to come to Muhlenberg County so people would have more jobs. Katy Moffat arrived late but John Prine and Duane Eddy were there.

At 6pm the concert pre-show started, it was estimated that 12,000 to 15,000 were there and about $40,000 was raised. Chet Atkins was unable to attend due to other commitments. Katy Moffat was the opening act, then a local singer Molly Helton sang "C.C.'s Ready To Go" a song about the Everly Brothers returning to Central City. New Grass Revival and an Italian singer Ricardo Biano was there. Duane Eddy was accompanied by his fabulous saxophone player Dennis Solely and he performed "Rebel Rouser" amongst others. Sonny Curtis sang "I Fought the Law and the Law Won". John Prine sang several tunes with his wife, ending with "Paradise" which Don said had become the national anthem of this festival. In addition to these well known singers was Debbie Tuggle of Louisville the winner of the Amateur Talent contest, she played and sang a few songs along with Dr Larry Kilgore of Birmingham, Alabama who was the winner of the thumb-picking contest of 1989 and the world champion thumb-picking winner for the last 2 years Eddie Pennington. Two recipients of $1,000 scholarships (Melissa Turner and Matt Bell) went on stage to be introduced, Melissa got a kiss from both Phil & Don. The Everly Brothers made a short appearance on stage, many wanted to hear more from them.

The concert was opened by the city's Mayor Hugh Sweatt.

Don's girlfriend Victoria was with him, she had her daughter and her daughter's friend too.

The Event raised $40,000 for the Everly Brothers Foundation. In 1990 seven $1,000 scholarships would be awarded to students from various Muhlenberg County schools.

The Everly Brothers had initially donated $7,500 to Central city so the city could buy new police radio units.

At this concert the Everly Brothers cleared about $40,000 and about $15,000 worth of souvenirs.

This is a newspaper article about the Homecoming concert.

Last update on April 7, 4:03 pm by Chris.
The 3rd annual Everly Brothers Music Festival in 1990 was extended to cover 4 days. Chet Atkins joined them, the Kentucky Head-Hunters, John Prine and singer/songwriter Lane Brody son of Merle Travis.

The Everly Brothers dedicated the concert to the soldiers in Saudi Arabia, the concert reportedly cleared close to $100,000.

The activities included a couple of golf tournaments, a local fan club picnic, gospel singing, a celebrity auction, a talent search, a couple of track meets, a thumb-picking contest and then finally the concert, which was the first thing that Don & Phil attended. Approximately 20,000 people attended.
Last update on July 4, 4:13 am by Chris.
This is from the 1991 Everly Brothers Music Festival


This is audio only and lasts for 44.40 minutes

This is another video clip of the 1991 Homecoming Concert

Both of the above as attachments at the end

There is a short clip from the 1993 Homecoming concert showing the 'Thumb Picking' contest, throughout this thread there are many mentions of these contests including who won them too.
Last update on November 7, 5:37 pm by Chris.
This clip is from the 1995 August 31st Everly Brothers Music Festival

This clip is 10 minutes long

This clip is from the 1996 Everly Brothers Music Festival

This is 8.01 minutes long

Both are attached at the bottom
Last update on July 5, 5:18 pm by Chris.
This is a video clip lasting 36.29 minutes from the Museum at Central City

Last update on April 6, 5:32 am by Chris.
This is a short clip about all the volunteers which helped to get this concert up and running


There were approximately 400 volunteers who worked all year to stage this music festival and to help it run smoothly. Later in the year all the volunteers were invited to a 'thank you' potluck dinner to show appreciation for all their hard work.
Last update on April 6, 5:33 am by Chris.
Love the photo of Phil and family from 2011.
Phil looking so handsome and humble. You just know the grand daughters were loving
every minute of riding in the parade.
1986 Homecoming, Shenandoah, IA, Don and Phil's childhood home of seven years. It was the longest the Everly Family lived in one spot, from 1945, when they moved from Chicago, to 1952, when they moved to Indiana and then to Knoxville, TN for radio jobs.

Last update on June 16, 9:46 pm by Mary.
Homecoming and EBs Music Festivals, Central City, KY, held from 1988 to 2002:

1990 EBs Homecoming Music Festival, Sept. 2, Owensboro, KY Messenger-Inquirer.

1996 EBs Homecoming Music Festival.

1999 EBs Homecoming Music Festival.

The Everly Brothers Museum, part of the Muhlenberg County Music Museum located in the Central City (KY)Tourism Commission Office.
Last update on May 13, 7:49 pm by Mary.
Wow,Superb photos of The Everly's homecomings Mary,its amazing to see their childhood home loaded on a trailer,and moved to another location.We can't do that with ours in the UK.They were so loved and revered in their own township,the concerts,wonderful,oh to have been able to attend,what memories,Don and Phil have left us all a superb legacy to enjoy their music for ever.
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Last update on January 2, 7:00 pm by Chris.

Last update on November 29, 4:46 am by Chris.
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