Bluegrass Loses Two Friends & Leaders — Pete Kuykendall And Delbert Doty

Delbert Doty

Delbert Doty (left) with Don Pidd preparing the roof of the new San Benito County Historical Park stage in 2016.

Bluegrass lost two good friends and two leaders today — Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine publisher Pete Kuykendall of Broad Run, VA, and Delbert Doty of Hollister, CA, the longtime president of the San Benito County Historical Society. While neither was a NCBS member, both contributed to the success of the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival.

Pete Kuykendall was a bluegrass musician, songwriter, promoter, DJ, and journalist, who brought essential business skills to bluegrass music at an early time when professionalism was lacking and the development of the music was in doubt. He took over the newsletter of a small non-profit organization in the Washington, DC area and developed it into the national bluegrass magazine of record. He also co-founded the International Bluegrass Music Association and brought the concept of Leadership Bluegrass to the IBMA.

Pete Kuykendall (left) runs the Bluegrass Unlimited booth at a festival, with Ralph Stanley & Renfro Profitt.

When the NCBS’ fledgling GOF Festival caught Pete’s attention as a source of new west coast bluegrass energy, he and his wife Kitsy Kuykendall came all the way to California as a fully-paid vendor (turning down our offer of a free BU booth) to lend support — and credibility — to the new event. Kitsy saw The Waybacks on the GOF stage and booked them for a slot at the IBMA convention, the band’s first appearance at the national level.

Pete Kuykendall

Peter V. Kuykendall was 79 years old.  Under the name Pete Roberts, he performed as an early member of the Country Gentlemen, and wrote numerous bluegrass songs, some of which were included in the soundtrack for the movie “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”

Pete’s funeral will be held on Wednesday August 30 at 10:00 am at the Moser Funeral Home in Warrenton, VA. Visitation will be on Tuesday evening from 3:00-5:00 and 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations in his name to the Bluegrass Trust Fund or the International Bluegrass Music Museum.

Delbert Doty played a significant role in building out the historical village at the San Benito County Historical Park, the new home of the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival. His last major project was the new stage, which has been named in his honor by the SBCHS. He helped with the negotiations that brought the bluegrass festival to the park in 2016.

Delbert Leon Doty’s Celebration Of Life will be held on Friday, September 1 at 2:00pm at the historical park, 8300 Airline Highway, Tres Pinos.

Peter V. Kuykendall (1938-2017)

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