Nov. 17, 18, 19, 2022
Gatlinburg Convention Center - W.L. Mills Auditorium
234 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN

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The Newgrass Challenge and the True Grass Revival

 “Hey Bill, how about havin’ Courtney here fill in on banjo?”

“No Sir!” Bill Monroe turned to the upstart Courtney Johnson. “What’d you call that music there?”


“Yes, I hate that.”

Sometime, in the early 70s, probably at one of Bill Monroe’s bluegrass festivals, his fiddle player approached him, along with the banjo player for the up-and-coming band, New Grass Revival, to see if Bill might consider letting Courtney Johnson stand in on banjo. 

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  666 Hits

Rock n Roll, Country, and the Emergence of Bluegrass

Sometimes things just don’t go as planned.

That’s just as true for the history of bluegrass music, as it is for music as a whole. In fact, there really was no plan. 

Bill Monroe had no plan, as a teenager, to meet and play with Arnold Shultz, any more than he planned to create an entirely new genre of music. He was just playing good ol’ hillbilly country music, in his own way.

Earl Scruggs was about to quit playing banjo to go home to take care of his ailing mother, before he was discovered by Monroe.

Ricky Skaggs was only 6 years old when his family and friends managed to get him on stage with the great man, Monroe, himself. Ricky was too young to have a plan; Bill, unaware of what he’d set in motion that night.

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  397 Hits

Bluegrass Family Rift: The Stanley Brothers

One night in 1969, Ralph Stanley was racing to a show in Louisa, Kentucky.


One of his tires blew out. He was gonna be late.

When he finally made it to the show, he heard singing, and the ring of a mandolin.

“They sounded exactly like us!” he told an interviewer many years later.

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  469 Hits

Ricky, Reno, and Smiley: Monroe’s Bluegrass Family Tree

“Let little Ricky sing! Little Ricky can play!”

In 1960, Bill Monroe found himself faced with an enthusiastic crowd in Martha, Kentucky. He and his Bluegrass Boys were playing a gig at the local high school. 

In between songs, the crowd implored Bill to “let little Ricky play!”

This went on and on for some time. Bill finally gave in:

“Well, where is this little Ricky?”

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  367 Hits

Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road

Thursday and Friday, November 17-18, 2022

Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road have combined masterful musicianship and a creative sound to entertain audiences in 48 states and 13 countries while scoring multiple hits, industry accolades, and collaborations with other legendary artists.

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  533 Hits

Larry Sparks and Lonesome Ramblers

Friday, November 18

Blessed with what many consider the most soulful, expressive voice in bluegrass and gospel music, Larry Sparks is among the most widely known and respected touring musicians of today. With over 60 albums to his credit, Larry has been delighting countless fans worldwide for over 50 years.

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  590 Hits

Paul Williams

Special Guest

Raised in eastern Tennessee, Paul Williams is both an accomplished mandolin player, lead, and tenor vocalist who began his musical career in the early ’50s as part of Lonesome Pine Fiddlers. Afterward, he signed on with Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys which included one of the most respected banjo players ever, J.D. Crowe.

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  321 Hits

Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers

Friday, November 18, 2022

Joe Mullins is in demand, and deservedly so. He and his band, The Radio Ramblers, are in the upper echelon of touring bluegrass bands and, as the saying goes, “they did it the old-fashioned way…they earned it!” Joe is not only an accomplished and award-winning musician, he is also a successful broadcaster, event producer, educator, and entrepreneur. To say Joe Mullins is an industry leader would be at the very least an understatement.

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  485 Hits

Larry Stephenson Band

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Virginia native, Larry Stephenson, is widely recognized as possessing one of the purest high lead and tenor voices in bluegrass music. Larry’s career has been marked with undeniable growth since his father first placed a mandolin in his hand at the age of five.

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  589 Hits

Ralph Stanley II & the Clinch Mountain Boys

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Being the son of a legend isn’t exactly easy - there are big shoes to fill and high expectations to be met. But if torches must be passed and legacies maintained, Ralph Stanley, the elder, must be mighty proud of his son because, since his father’s death, Ralph II has no doubt met, and exceeded his father’s wish to carry on the Clinch Mountain style of music, now in its 76th year.

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  612 Hits

Fast Track

Friday, November 18, 2022

Q. What do you call a 2-year-old band with 200 years of professional experience? A. Fast Track, bluegrass music’s latest “supergroup”. Steve Day, Duane Sparks, Dale Perry, Ron Spears, and Shayne Bartley have been prominent former members of some of the finest bands in bluegrass.

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  422 Hits

Deeper Shade of Blue

Saturday, November 19, 2022

North Carolina can once again be credited for producing great bluegrass. Hailing from just east of Charlotte, Deeper Shade of Blue is comprised of Troy Pope (guitar/vocals), Jason Fraley (mandolin/vocals), Frank Poindexter (dobro/vocals), Steve Wilson (banjo), and Scott Burgess (bass/vocals).

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  534 Hits

Larry Efaw & Bluegrass Mountaineers

Friday, November 18, 2022

Larry Efaw is all about tradition. Accomplished on both mandolin and guitar, started playing at the age of 7. During his long musical career, he has performed as a guest with Dailey & Vincent, Rhonda Vincent, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Doyle Lawson, Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, Del McCoury, Lewis Family, and GoldWing Express just to mention a few.

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  592 Hits

Williamson Branch

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Nashville-based, Pinecastle Records artist, Williamson Branch, brings energy, a high steppin’ show that features a fine-tuned variety of bluegrass, gospel, and country music, accentuated by world-class Appalachian clog dancing. When it comes to music, there’s a closeness among family members that cannot be overstated.

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  734 Hits

The Family Sowell

Saturday, November 19, 2022

A rewarding part of putting on Bluegrass Christmas in the Smokies is presenting new acts to our audience, and here’s one we know you’re going to enjoy. The Family Sowell is an all-sibling, contemporary bluegrass band from Knoxville, Tennessee, featuring driving instrumentation, tight family harmony, and original songs written straight from the heart.

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  587 Hits

The King James Boys

Friday, November 18, 2022

No Bluegrass Christmas in the Smokies festival would be complete without the strong presence of soul-stirring gospel music. When deciding which of many excellent possible groups that might be, The King James Boys routinely topped the list of candidates.  Founded in 1994, The King James Boys started solely as a group that only sang at their church with no intentions of traveling.

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  499 Hits

Nothin' Fancy

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Miracles appear in the strangest of places. And so, it was when a group of friends decided to enter a bluegrass band competition back in 1994. What started 28 years ago as an afternoon of fun turned into one of the most endeared and entertaining franchises in bluegrass music… Nothin’ Fancy.

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  463 Hits

Nick Chandler and Delivered

Saturday, November 19

Western North Carolina has produced some of the best bluegrass musicians on earth. Count mandolin phenom, Nick Chandler, among them. He and his band, Delivered, play it the way fans of traditional bluegrass like to hear it … hard-driving and straight from the heart.

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  417 Hits

Praire Wildfire

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Prairie Wildfire, formed in 2015, is an all-female band from Buffalo, Wyoming, offering a blend of bluegrass, country, and gospel. With vocalist Sage Palser on mandolin, vocalist Morgan Blaney on bass, and vocalist Tessa Taylor on banjo, these dynamos have honed their harmonies, filled out their sound with original instrumentation, and written many of their own tunes.

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  728 Hits

Dean Osborne

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Kentucky-born, Dean Osborne began his music career at age five, learning to play the piano from his father. While attending a concert by his cousins, Grand Ole Opry stars, the Osborne Brothers, Dean fell in love with Bluegrass music. At age fourteen he got his first banjo, a Hondo II. In 1980, Dean graduated from his Hondo II to a 1979 GibsonMastertone and formed his first band, the “Thousandsticks Express”.

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  556 Hits

For tickets
Call Krissy at 919-609-6740 Mon-Fri 3:30 pm till 6 pm (leave a message anytime) or use the contact form here. 
You may also buy directly from here or here. 
For additional information call 919-779-5672 Ext 1

FREE Trolly
around town with a stop in front of the Festival door!

Thursday 10:30 am - 6 pm
Friday-Saturday 10:30 am - 10 pm

Bus Tour to Gatlinburg, TN
Hotel with breakfast, bus ride festival night shows and tours.

Call Paula 919-291-1115 or email