MMF Next Generation initiative expands to colleges and universities 

Sponsorship allows participating high school, college graduates to attend two-day music festival for free

SOMERSET, KENTUCKY (May 31, 2024)  — After an overwhelmingly positive response to a new initiative last year that provided free Master Musicians Festival (MMF) weekend passes to local high school graduates, the program is expanding to include colleges and universities.

MMF’s Next Generation initiative allows businesses to sponsor graduating classes at local and regional institutions. MMF Executive Director Tiffany Finley said the program not only inspires the next generation of festival-goers and leaders, but it celebrates the significant accomplishments of these graduating seniors at both the secondary and postsecondary levels.

“When you look at the makeup of volunteers and our board of directors now versus 31 years ago, you see an interesting trend — many of them had parents who either helped create or served MMF when it began,” Finley said. “The best way for us to continue fostering relationships with the next generation, who will lead this festival when we are all gone, is to welcome them and show them what a magical experience MMF is and what an incredible benefit it brings to the community. This initiative also reinforces our mission to bring music to people of all walks of life and support music education, both of which are extremely important.”

This year, graduating students at Pulaski County High School, Southwestern High School, Somerset High School, Wayne County High School, the University of Pikeville (UPIKE), Campbellsville University Somerset Campus and Somerset Community College (SCC) will receive free weekend passes to the 31st annual MMF, scheduled July 19-20 at SCC’s Festival Field. They will experience a lineup led by The Wallflowers and filled with 27 local, state and national acts across two stages.

While UPIKE and Campbellsville sponsored their own graduating classes, Somerset and Pulaski schools are sponsored by Somerset Pellet Fuel, Wayne County High is sponsored by The Law Office of Rhonda Hatfield-Jeffers, and Somerset Community College by Citizens Bank.

Each participating school will provide MMF with a list of current-year graduates. To claim their weekend pass, students simply have to bring an ID to the entrance gate on the Friday or Saturday of the festival. Passes will only be released to the student and are non-transferrable.

Sponsorships are still available for businesses in other communities that wish to support their graduating seniors. For more information, email Finley at

Three men and two women posing standing outdoors in town square
Somerset Pellet Fuel is sponsoring Somerset and Pulaski County graduates again this year. From left, MMF Executive Director Tiffany Finley, Pulaski County Schools Superintendent Pat Richardson, Somerset Pellet Fuel CEO Steve Merrick, Somerset Independent Schools Superintendent Kyle Lively and MMF Board President Julie Harris.
Two women and two men pose standing and smiling in front of red and yellow and black curtains
The Law Office of Rhonda Hatfield Jeffers is sponsoring Wayne County High School (WCHS) graduates. From left, WCHS Vice Principal Josh Bartley, MMF board member and attorney Rhonda Hatfield-Jeffers, MMF Executive Director Tiffany Finley and WCHS Principal Steve Thompson.
A group of people standing in front of globe sculpture outdoors smiling holding an oversized $2500 check from Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank is sponsoring Somerset Community College (SCC) graduates. From left, Citizens Bank Marketing and Public Relations Officer Rikiyah Pryor, SCC Provost Clint Haynes, SCC Vice President of Workforce Solutions Alesa Johnson, Citizens Bank Branch Manager and Loan Officer Trevor Ridner, MMF Board President Julie Harris, SCC President and CEO Carey Castle, MMF Executive Director Tiffany Finley, Citizens Bank Lake Cumberland Region President Doug Parkey, SCC Vice President of Advancement Cindy Clouse and SCC Vice President of Administration Jill Meece.
three women pose standing in and office under a Campbellsville University Somerset sign.
Campbellsville University (CU) Somerset Campus is sponsoring its graduates. From left, MMF Executive Director Tiffany Finley; CU Somerset Noe Center Executive Director Angela Travis, Ph.D.; and MMF Board President Julie Harris.
Two women and three men pose standing in an office setting
The University of Pikeville (UPIKE) is sponsoring its graduates. From left, MMF board member Cory Godsey; UPIKE President Burton J. Webb, Ph.D.; UPIKE Director of Marketing & Communications Greta Heintzelman Slone; MMF Executive Director Tiffany Finley; and UPIKE Director of Digital Media Larry Epling.

Held annually in July, the Master Musicians Festival has been named Southeast Tourism Society’s Festival of the Year and the Governor’s Awards for the Arts Outstanding Community Arts Organization. In addition to two days of eclectic, diverse music, MMF offers meet-and-greet workshops hosted by artisans and musicians, as well as a wide variety of art and food vendors. MMF also showcases artisans and craftsmen, and recognizes a Kentucky artist whose festival-themed work is auctioned and featured on merchandise. Tickets to the 31st annual festival sponsored by Lake Cumberland Tourism are on sale now at