It’s been a long-long winter! Too long for most of us who want to get out and enjoy some sunshine and fellowship with others who have been locked inside for what seems like an eternity. But do not fear – It’s finally Spring!

The one constant Spring brings to the Smokies is cool crisp mornings and warm bright afternoons. There is of course the mellow scent of barbecue smoking low-and-slow over a bed of warm coals. With that comes sounds of spring, kids at play, adults shaking off the winter blues excited be outdoors again. Finally, there is another sound indigenous to the Appalachians, the sweet sound of Smoky Mountain Bluegrass. All of which signals the most important aspect of spring in the Smokies, it’s time for the Bloomin’ Barbecue & Bluegrass festival again!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Sevierville

Photo Courtesy of Visit Sevierville

Its Festival Time!

The 14th Annual Bloomin’ Barbecue & Bluegrass festival kicks-off Friday evening May 18, 2018 in historic downtown Sevierville, Tennessee and continues through Saturday May 19th.  Championship barbecue cook teams from across the United States will converge on Sevierville to compete for cash, prizes and bragging rights in the Bush’s Best TN State Championship Cook Off. Music will fill the air with World class bluegrass concerts featuring rising stars and legends of bluegrass.  Capping off the event is the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition honoring Sevierville’s favorite hometown girl, Dolly Parton. Admission is FREE and fun for the entire family with plenty of activities for the kids, arts, crafts and more.

A free family friendly event, the Bloomin’ Barbecue & Bluegrass festival was recently named “Festival of the Year” by the Southeast Tourism Society, an association that promotes tourism in thirteen southeastern states.


Photo Credit Smoke Catering Via Instagram

Barbecue Competition

The Bush’s Best TN State Championship Cook Off at Bloomin’ Barbecue & Bluegrass is an official Tennessee State Championship barbecue competition and features more than 40 of the nation’s top pit-masters, some of which you will recognize from appearances on the Food Network and popular television programs. Teams will cook an estimated 2,832 pounds of meat including pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken and pork ribs. Winning teams will receive recognition and awards in these and specialty categories. Specialties categories include “Anything Bush Beans”, “Anything Swaggerty’s Farm Sausage”, Sauces and Dessert.


Photo Courtesy of Visit Sevierville

After the main event, you can get a piece of the action with the People’s Choice Tasting Contest! This portion of the event gives you a chance to sample and vote for your favorite lip-smackin’, world-class championship pulled pork from participating teams. Cost to participate is $10 and ticketholders will have the chance to sample and judge their favorite pulled pork from 2:30pm until 3:30pm at the festival. Tickets are available at the festival or can be purchased in advance by calling the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce at 865-453-6411. The People’s Choice Tasting Contest is presented by Dolly Parton’s Celebration a Spectacular Dinner Show .



Photo Courtesy of Visit Sevierville

Bluegrass Music

Nothing goes better with Barbecue than great music, especially when its FREE and its toe-tappin’ Bluegrass! Friday night’s lineup kicks-off with Salt & Light, Brad Hudson, Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier and others. Friday’s headliner is the legendary Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out.


Photo Credit Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out via Instagram – @iiirdtymeout

The entertainment starts up again Saturday at 10am with performances from local dance troupes. Live Bluegrass Music begins again at noon with Jonah Riddle and Carolina Express followed by Mountain Ruckus (presented by Dolly Parton’s Stampede), Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley, The Highland Travelers, The Cleverlys, and more.

If you haven’t experienced unique music styling of the Cleverlys, you are in for a big treat. It’s bluegrass that will make you laugh! Founder Paul “Digger” Harris describes it as “bluegrass meets the Office”. Expect the unexpected – including cover songs from the likes of Beyonce, Katy Perry and other popular artists, performed the Cleverly-style.


Photo Credit Mo Pitney via Instagram – @mopitney

Saturday night’s headliner is rising country artist Mo Pitney. Pitney will showcase his bluegrass roots in a one-time-only special bluegrass show combined with his current mainstream country. It is rumored that Pitney’s show will include some hand-picked special guests.


Bloomin-BBQ-Bluegrass-Dolly Parton

Photo courtesy of Visit Sevierville

Vocal Competiton

A big-time feature at Bloomin’ Barbecue & Bluegrass is the annual Mountain Soul Vocal Competition. Organizers believe the competition to be the world’s only singing contest completely dedicated to the songs of Dolly Parton, who was born and raised in Sevierville. The competition features performances of songs that Dolly has written over the years, some recorded, some not. Both male and female vocalists perform in two categories with a chance to win a cash prize, a guitar autographed by Dolly herself, and a recording session at Sound Wave Recording in Nashville.

The Scoop

Bloomin’ Barbecue & Bluegrass begins Friday May 18th from 5pm to 10pm and continues on Saturday, May 19th from 9am to 10pm and is coordinated and sponsored in part by the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce. For more information visit For lodging and other information about Sevierville Tennessee, see