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With summer just around the corner, it’s time to break out the BBQ and a few good tunes.  Luckily, if you’re planning a visit to Sevierville, Gatlinburg, or Pigeon Forge in late May you have a chance to do just that at one of TWO amazing festivals.  Read on to learn all about Sevierville’s Bloomin’ Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival and Dollywood’s BBQ and Bluegrass.

Meat cooking on a charcoal grill with people in the background


In downtown Sevierville May 15th and 16th, 2020 you’ll find the Bloomin’ Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival.  An annual event, now in its 16th year, is family friendly and brings in teams from all over the US to compete.  With more than $17,500 in cash and prizes, and the Tennessee State Champion title on the line, competition is sure to be fierce. The festival kicks off Friday night with plenty of up-and-coming bluegrass musicians including Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier, Trinity River Band,Circus No. 9,and the headliner  for  the  evening:  The Po’ Ramblin Boys.

Bluegrass band on stage at Bloomin' Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival

Saturday afternoon the music starts at 1 p.m. leading up to the headliner – Shenandoah.  This country supergroup has recorded ten albums, three of which went on to be certified gold.  Their lead singer hints they may “hit a blugrass lick or two.”  

The 16th Annual Mountain Soul Vocal Competition Finals are held on Saturday.  This one-of-a-kind competition honors the songwriting of Dolly Parton. To compete, vocalists (male and female) must sing a song written by Dolly Parton and perform it in their own style.  There are more than 3,000 songs to choose from, and all genres are encouraged! The final round begins at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 16th  with the grand prize being a Nashville recording session at Sound Wave studios. Mountain Soul Singer in front of the Dolly Parton Statue

Bloomin’ Barbeque And Bluegrass Festival estimates there will be more than 2800 pounds of meat cooked at the festival.  Walk through the “Que Zone” and watch the teams cook all day long. The winners in a variety of categories will be announced at 4 p.m. 

If you want to find out more about this amazing festival in Sevierville, check out their website.  

Three girls eating BBQ at a festival



If you can’t make the Bloomin’ Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival that weekend, fear not!  Dollywood has their very own Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival earlier in the month! From April 24th to May 3rd, Dollywood is the place to be for tasty eats and toe-tappin’ music for 10 full days.  

In years past, Dollywood has offered mouth-watering food at the Market Square part of the park.  Cooking demonstrations by chefs, as well as tasty entrees from park restaurants will definitely work up your appetite. Each year, a few new culinary creations debut at the festival.  In 2018, a twist on chicken and waffles in the form of chicken and waffles funnel cake made an appearance. Other delectable treats like a grilled watermelon salad and a bacon-wrapped hot dog on a pretzel roll were also spotted at the park.  

It’s estimated that more than 50,000 pounds of meat will be cooked and consumed during the full 10 days of the festival, including pulled pork, smoked chicken, ribs, and smoked sausages.  Southern classic side dishes slated for serving up include potato salad, corn on the cob, and Bush’s baked beans. You may even find some barbequed chicken wings.

No Barbeque and Bluegrass festival would be complete without some music!  Luckily, you’re never too far away from the sweet musical stylings of the bluegrass artists slated to appear at this festival.  Featured performers for 2020 include Rhonda Vincent and The Cleverly’s. 

You’ll also find roving bluegrass artists throughout the park.  For more information, you can always check their daily entertainment schedule.  Of course, all the music in included during your trip to Dollywood.  These free concerts will have you singing along all day. Kick off your summer by having some tasty food and listening to some great tunes.

Find out more about the festival at Dollywood over on their website.  


Shortly after these amazing BBQ festivals come to a close begin Dollywood’s Summer Celebration and the Nights of Many Colors.  This colorful summertime celebration features a spectacular nightly fireworks display. The show includes music written by Dolly herself for the occasion, and it called Paint Your Dreams Across the Sky.  You can catch this vibrant display nightly from June 20 until August 2.

Book Your Cabin!

When you’re ready to tempt your taste buds and and treat your ears, you’ll need a place to stay.  Book yourself a cabin in Pigeon Forge so you’ll be close to both Sevierville and Dollywood for these great summer festivals.  Some of our cabins close to Pigeon Forge even offer a view of the Dollywood Fireworks!  All of our cabins come with fully equipped kitchens, and many of our cabins come equipped with gas or charcoal grills so you can recreate some of the tasty flavors you sampled during your trip.  Get ready for a full-flavored Smokies Vacation you won’t forget!

Be sure to check out all of our vacation guides for planning your Smoky Mountain getaway.  You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest area information!

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