Townsend Kicks Off the “Music of the Mountains” Festival

The 9th annual “Music of the Mountains” festival, hosted by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, begins this weekend with its first stop being Townsend, TN.

“We’re very pleased to again partner with the City of Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains Association to offer the public a variety of musical styles for this year’s ‘Music of the Mountains festival,” said Dale Ditmanson, park superintendent. “Our staff has lined up a wide spectrum of old-time, traditional, and bluegrass music performers. With the change to an all day festival we hope to allow more of our visitors to experience the rich traditions of mountain music.”

Beginning Friday at the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center in Townsend at 7 pm, Celtic band Four Leaf Peat gets the festival started off with a rousing concert.

Sugarlands Visitor Center just outside Gatlinburg is the site of all festival goings on Saturday as the Lost Mill String Band, Boogertown Gap Band, Brien Fain, Tony Thomas, Matt Morelock and Ferd Moyse and the Mountain Strings perform that afternoon. Later in the day, at 7 pm Saturday, Steve Brown and Hurricane Ridge play at the Plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg.

Festivities make their way to Cosby, TN on Sunday with “Heritage, Harps and Hymns.”  Performances  get started at 2 pm at the Smoky Mountain Visitor Center in Cosby.

“Music of the Mountains” is a celebration of musical traditions of the southern Appalachian Mountains, showcasing the evolution of mountain music over time,” said Kent Cave, park ranger. “The festival is one of several special events the park has developed to tell the story of the people who lived here prior to the park’s establishment in 1934.

“Musical expression was often, and still is, a part of daily life in the southern mountains, and mountain music is tied to Smokies history like no other part of our culture.”

Seating at Sugarlands Visitor Center (865-436-1291) is limited to 160 persons per concert, and available for free on a “first come, first serve” basis.

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