Free, family-friendly, foot-tapping fun in the Smoky Mountains

Can you lick your lips and tap your feet at the same time? Find out and even hone those skills during the 15th Annual Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass festival.

Food and music come together for wholesome fun the whole family can enjoy on May 17 and 18, 2019, in Sevierville, Tennessee.

Against the picturesque backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains, the two-day festival features the nation’s top barbeque cook teams in a sanctioned competition as well as a People’s Choice tasting event, free concerts showcasing some of the nation’s best musical performers, a late-night Bluegrass Jam, a vocal competition honoring the songwriting of Dolly Parton, delightful kids’ games, plus regional artists and crafters.


Whether you prefer your ‘que tangy or spicy, sliced or chopped, on or off the bone, arrive hungry because at Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass you can sample stellar preparations side-by-side.

A total of 40 of the best BBQ cook teams in the U.S.—some of whom have appeared on Food Network—will compete for $17,500 in cash and prizes plus the title of “Tennessee State Champion” in the “Bush’s Best TN State Championship Cook Off.”

The competition starts early on Saturday. Stroll through the “Que Zone” and breathe deep delicious aromas as teams cook an estimated 2,832 pounds of meat including 20 pounds of pulled pork, 24 pounds of brisket, 5 pounds of chicken and 10 pounds of ribs each.

Reward your watering mouth and get a taste of the deliciousness. Then cast your vote in the 5th annual People’s Choice Tasting Contest to help select the festival’s “Best Pulled Pork Barbeque.”

Additional competition winners will be selected by a panel of judges certified by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. The big announcements will be made at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Winning teams are honored in dozens of categories with cash prizes: Chicken, Ribs, Pork, Brisket, Sauce, Dessert, “Anything Bush Beans,” and “Anything Swaggerty’s Farm Sausage.” The grand champion will walk away with $2,500 and bragging rights.


Whether you get up and dance—the Bloomin’ pig mascot may join you!—or sit in your favorite lawn chair, you won’t want to miss any of the free bluegrass concerts. The main stage will showcase a range of acts from rising stars to legends including headliner Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

“This is one of our most exciting festival line-ups yet,” says festival coordinator Amanda Marr. “Our goal is to provide a showcase of quality bluegrass and Americana music in the heart of Sevierville. This year’s festival is going to be fantastic.”

The main stage lineup features…

Friday’s headliner, Balsam Range, is a two-time winner of IBMA’s “Entertainer of the Year.” Since forming in 2007, the band has won 13 IBMA awards, released eight critically-acclaimed albums, and headlined major festivals coast-to-coast. The group’s current album, “Aeonic,” includes the hit “The Girl Who Invented the Wheel,” a song that spent weeks at the No. 1 spot on Bluegrass Radio.

Saturday’s headliner, the iconic Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, is often credited for sparking an entire movement in Country Rock and American Roots Music. The band has toured non-stop for 53 years and racked up multi-platinum and gold records, strings of top ten hits such as “Fishin’ in the Dark” and “Mr. Bojangles,” and multiple GRAMMY, IBMA, and CMA awards. The band is perhaps best known for its groundbreaking “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” album. Released in 1972, the three-LP set featured collaborations with bluegrass and country music legends including Roy Acuff, “Mother” Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, Jimmy Martin, and many others. The album bridged cultural gaps by introducing a whole new generation to earlier styles of music.

Mountain Soul Vocal Competition!

The unique Mountain Soul Vocal Competition honors the songwriting of Sevierville’s favorite hometown girl, Dolly Parton.

Competitors, male and female, choose a song written by Dolly Parton (there are over 3,000 options!) and sing it in their own vocal style (rock, rap, country, bluegrass, swing, soul, etc.) Though imitation is a form of flattery, the goal of this competition is for singers to showcase their own personal style (not Dolly’s) while singing Parton’s words.

Finalists from across the nation will compete in two divisions (age 12 and younger; age 13 and older) on Saturday, May 18, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Finalists are selected based on audition recordings that were submitted in advance. A total of 30 singers will compete for cash and prizes, including a Nashville recording session at Sound Wave Studios!

If you’d like to enter, get your application here. The entry deadline is April 5, 2019.

Free Admission!

Admission to Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass and all of its concerts is free, thanks to sponsors.

The event runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, May 17, 2019 and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Come rain or shine for a memorable good time.

For more information about the Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass festival, visit bloominbbq.com. Stay in Sevierville to make the most of your experience; discover lodging options here.

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