Looking for live music during your trip to The Great Smoky Mountains? With their rich history in music, the towns of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains are filled with music year round – from bands at bars and restaurants and outdoor traveling musicians to festivals, holiday events and all the shows at Dollywood Amusement Park.
Bars & Restaurants
Ole Red in Gatlinburg has live music seven days a week on a Nashville-class stage. And so it should be since Ole Red gets its name from country music star Blake Shelton’s breakout hit “Ol’ Red.”
There are plenty of cocktails and unique food options too – many named for the local attractions: Clingman’s Dome Burger for example.
Check out the music calendar here. You never know when a celebrity guest might show up to play as well.
Ole Red is located at 511 Parkway, Gatlinburg, 865-325-3101
Smoky Mountain Brewery
Both locations are open until 1 a.m. The kitchen closes at midnight Fridays and Saturdays and at 11 p.m. the rest of the week.
“Described as a cross between a ski lodge and a Bavarian beer hall, the Smoky Mountain Brewery features an enclosed deck overlooking Calhoun’s Village with the Smoky Mountains in the background.”
Locals call on the Brewery for its terrific pizza, great burgers and pub fare – check out the food menu.
Find the Gatlinburg location at 1004 Parkway, 865-436-4200; Pigeon Forge Smoky Mountain Brewery is at 2530 Parkway, 865-868-1400.
Tom and Earl’s
Tom and Earl’s Back Alley Grill in Gatlinburg has live music Fridays and Saturdays. Be sure to call first if you’re going for the music. But you might want to go no matter what for the unique food and the atmosphere.
From saucy wings, cream corn fritters and freshly made pork rinds to the Burning Bear Burger, the Sloppy Jethro and Build Your Own Bologna sandwich – the menu is fun and delicious.
Tom and Earl’s is located at 651 Parkway, #110, Gatlinburg, 865-325-6022.
Longtime makers and runners of spirits, Junction 35 Spirits was born out of a “mission to deliver high quality, unique spirits and unique signature dishes while providing a fun, friendly atmosphere that keeps guests returning.”
Along with live music, visitors can taste the spirits made at the distillery and take a tour. Junction 35 offers a variety of spirits including bourbon, rye whiskey, moonshine, vodka, gin, and rum and has hand crafted a selection of specialty cocktails using our bold spirits to deliver a unique experience with those spirits.
The food menu is just as unique, serving up Tennessee Poutine: Rosemary Fries topped with beef gravy, shredded Deli Brisket and Wisconsin fried Cheese curds; “Not your Sweet Potato Casserole” – Waffled sweet potato fries topped with our marshmallow sauce and candied Pecans; Pimento Dip – Aged Cheddar, Pimento peppers topped with smoked Sausage, served with flash fried Saltine crackers; Smoked wings; Smoked meat BBQ trays; Burgers with pimento cheese, bacon jam, caramelized onions (Junction 35), salmon burger, even The Beyond Burger; and a southern staple – Shrimp and Grits.
Check out Junction 35 Spirits at 2655 Teaster Lane in Pigeon Forge, (865) 365 – 1019.
Located in Sevierville, Bluff’s is a local place owned by locals. With live music, 36 beers on tap, two bars and an outdoor patio with a game area, Bluff’s is Fun with a capital F. It’s college game day central and family wing night enjoyment.
Wednesdays are Live Team Trivia night followed by live music from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Want to make your own music? Karaoke happens Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 p.m. to midnight.
Find Bluffs at 1548 Parkway, Ste 301, Sevierville, 865-908-1333.
Puckett’s Grocery in Pigeon Forge is a unique place for live music but definitely worth a regular trip to listen. Yes, it’s the same Puckett’s name as the little grocery store in the village of Leipers Fork, Tennessee. Pigeon Forge Puckett’s opened in 2019 as a place for good food and great music.
Authentic comfort food classics, like the meat & 3 specials and the famous slow-smoked BB is offered in a laid-back and downhome atmosphere.
Check out the music schedule here and find Puckett’s at 2480 Parkwaym Pigeon Forge, 865-285-0155.
Check out the Facebook page for East Tennessee Music Scene for even more live music in the area.
Attractions and Festivals
Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are well known for their dinner theater, impromptu music, festivals and attractions – most of which centers around music.
In fact, old-time mountain music is part of the rich history of the area. East Tennessee has played a major role in the development of modern country and bluegrass music. Here, you’ll find country, gospel and bluegrass that all have roots in Appalachian music.
For a bit of East Tennessee musical education, check out “Old Time Smoky Mountain Music” – a compilation of locals playing and singing from 1939 Columbia University graduate student Joseph Hall.
The famous song “Rocky Top” was written at the Gatlinburg Inn by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. According to the story, the couple checked into the hotel on Aug. 28, 1967, into room 388. They were working on an album that was slow tempoed. Felice wanted to write an upbeat song, to which Boudleaux replied, “Wish that I was on old Rocky Top, Down in the Tennessee hills.” (Gatlinburg.com, 2012). “This sparked an idea from Felice and the couple was able to write the song in 15 minutes.”
Later that year, the Osborne Brothers met with the Bryants and bought the song. It became the official Tennessee state song in 1982.
The Island in Pigeon Forge is filled with fun adventures, music, great shopping and food.
“Whether it’s the best Bluegrass in front of Ole Smoky Moonshine, some Jimmy Buffet tunes at Margaritaville, or your favorite rock covers at Mellow Mushroom, the Island has a wide range of live music offerings to enjoy.”
For more about The Island, check out our blog post on family-friendly fun.
The Island is located at 131 The Island Drive, Pigeon Forge.
Some musical festivals are planned for the 2021 include:
Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass May 14-May 15 in Sevierville.
The free festival is two days of food and fun in historic downtown Sevierville. There are bluegrass bands, late-night jams, barbecue cookers and arts and crafts. There’s also a mountain soul competition.
Here’s the main stage schedule so far:
Friday, May 14
5:00pm: Trinity River Band
6:00pm: Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier
7:00pm: Circus No. 9
8:00pm: The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys
Saturday, May 15
2:00pm: Kentucky Just Us
3:00pm: Bobby Osborne
4:00pm: Dave Peterson & 1946
5:00pm: Kentucky Just Us
6:00pm: Bobby Osborne
7:00pm: Dave Peterson & 1946
The Gaither Family Festival takes place at the Gatlinburg Convention Center for 3 days in May. The gospel music group was founded by legendary gospel songwriter and producer, Bill Gaither.
The Music in the Mountains Spring Parade in Pigeon Forge takes place in May and is a celebration of the rich musical heritage of the Smoky Mountains. Previously known as the Dolly Parade or Dolly’s Homecoming Parade, this event highlights the Pigeon Forge theaters and the singers, dancers and actors from all over the city that entertain visitors at the Pigeon Forge theaters nightly. The parade also highlights the musical heritage of the Smokies.
Opening for 2021 on March 13, Dollywood is always filled with music, dancing and storytelling. The entertainment schedule is expected soon on the amusement park’s web site. Maybe you’ll even get a Dolly Parton sighting when you visit!
Ready to book your Smoky Mountain Vacation and find the best, most inspiring musical entertainment?
Booking a stay in a private cabin is even better than choosing a hotel! Browse all of our cabins over on our web site or give our friendly Reservations Team a call at (800) 204-5169 and let them help you create the vacation of a lifetime.
Check out our Smoky Mountain Travel Guide for more adventures. Be sure to check out all of our vacation guides for planning your Smoky Mountain getaway.