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Music in the Mountains

Tennessee is equally known for its deep musical history and its thriving music scene today.

By Julie Matthews

Some of our nation’s most legendary musical artists have hailed from the state including Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and, of course, Dolly Parton, with many more eventually making the state their home. Certainly, country music has a very strong presence in Tennessee, particularly in its central hub, Nashville, or “Music City” as it is often called, which is full of country music singers and songwriters. However, Tennessee has a history of diverse musical genres including bluegrass, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, soul and gospel. 

The Smoky Mountains, too, has a very rich musical history. With deep roots stemming from its location in the Blue Ridge Mountains and its Southern Appalachian heritage, bluegrass is certainly a popular genre of music in the Tennessee Smokies and is often heard playing around its towns. Throughout the year, the region celebrates music and the performing arts by hosting an array of festivals, concerts and theatrical shows. Below are some of the area’s upcoming musical events.

May 19-20: Bloomin’ BBQ Music & Food Festival 
Head to Historic Downtown Sevierville for live music and delicious BBQ. Free admission and free concerts.

June 30-July 29: Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales 
Enjoy musical performances and dancing, plus storytelling nightly at this annual summer street performance festival in Gatlinburg. Also check out the select dates for the fall and winter seasons.

August – See website for dates Gatlinburg Songwriters Festival
Stay tuned for details about this year’s festival, where plans are being made for a series-style event.

September 14-16: 23rd Annual Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival 
Grab your tickets for this annual event full of musical entertainment at Dumplin Valley Farms.

September 22-23: Pigeon Forge Bluegrass Festival
See an impressive lineup of top Bluegrass performers at LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge.

November 16-18: Bluegrass Christmas in the Smokies Festival
Join this fun holiday-themed festival for great musical performances at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

Don’t miss this publication’s Theater Guide section for information about popular shows in the Tennessee Smokies, such as Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction and The Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, plus these productions’ Christmas performances.

All dates and times are subject to change. Please call ahead or check online.