February 20, 2015
Blood Song: The Story of the Hatfields and the McCoys
FRANKFORT – The Senate Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor Committee today passed Senate Democratic Floor Leader Ray S. Jones’ Senate Concurrent Resolution designating Blood Song: The Story of the Hatfields and the McCoys as the official play on the Hatfield/McCoy feud in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The Hatfields and the McCoys were two families who lived in the Tug River Valley on the border of West Virginia and Kentucky in the middle of the 19th century and who carried on a bitter, violent feud for more than 25 years.
According to Senate Concurrent Resolution 109, the Hatfield and McCoy feud has been reenacted many times over the years through various popular culture mediums, and has maintained a hold on the public’s imagination not only because of its inherent tragedy but also because of the colorful Appalachian region where the feud played out.
“Blood Song capitalizes on the public’s interest in the subject, but in a historically accurate manner,” said Leader Jones, D-Pikeville. “The play has been successful in attracting people from the commonwealth and other states to the area. Designating it Kentucky’s official play on the feud will help the eastern Appalachian region to further develop its tourism potential by highlighting one of the most popular regional stories of all time. It is important that we grow this industry because tourism dollars have a significant impact on the local economy.
“Tourism dollars are new dollars because they are spent by visitors and these dollars are sevenfold,” he added. “For instance, a dollar spent on tourism in Pike, Martin, Floyd or any other county is then spent at the grocery store, the gas station, the doctor’s office, the local restaurant – in essence affecting all of our businesses who in turn pay salaries to our residents. ”
Blood Song: The Story of the Hatfields and the McCoys, a stage play written by award-winning playwright Chelsea Marcantel and performed at the Hatfield-McCoy Outdoor Theater in McCarr, was commissioned by the Hatfield and McCoy Arts Council in association with the University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension Office in Pike County and the Artists Collaborative Theater, Inc. Support also was provided by the Pike County Tourism Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Kentucky Cabinet for Tourism and Economic Development.
“We talk about the need for collaboration between the public and private sectors and between local and state agencies,” said Leader Jones. “That isn’t as easy to do as it sounds, but it is being done with this collaboration and being done successfully.”
The play encompasses not only the feud itself but serves as both an educational and cultural touch point that highlights the history and natural beauty of the very location where the feud took place more than 125 years ago. It also shows the importance of Community Theater in the lives of Kentuckians, and showcases the artistic integrity of its players, the talent of the playwright who adapted the story, and the fierce violence and division that marked the Hatfield and McCoy feud.
SCR 109 now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.