Mountains of Music – Part One

Posted by Phil Rodgers in Things to Do

Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville have a reputation for their live music shows. The area's community of music theaters has been going strong for more than 30 years now. In years past, performers such as Lee Greenwood and Louise Mandrell starred in their own shows in Pigeon Forge. Such venues typically offer a variety of music and other forms of entertainment on a fairly large scale. Some theaters seat as many as 2,000 guests, and many also offer a dinner component as part of the entertainment. Examples include places like Country Tonite Theatre, Memories Theatre and the Grand Majestic Theater. Of course, Dollywood theme park itself is home to a variety of different theaters and music venues.

Where to hear music in the Smoky Moutnains

But we're going to shift gears away from the big-stage shows and focus your attention on some of the area's more intimate stages. There are restaurants and nightspots all over town that feature live entertainment, showcasing everything from up-and-coming artists to local favorites and singer-songwriters. Our list isn't a comprehensive one, but it will definitely steer you in the right direction if you're looking for some live tunage.

A lot of our selections are located in Pigeon Forge, so you can easily put together a day plan that includes live music and also fun at Goats on the Roof.

Hard Rock Café – The theme of this Pigeon Forge restaurant and music venue is devoted to the history of rock and roll, so it only seems appropriate that they feature live performers on their stage as well. They have acts several nights a week, including solo artists and bands. There's no additional cover charge to enjoy the music. It's a free component of the dining experience.

The Listening Room Cafe – Located on Teaster Lane in Pigeon Forge, The Listening Room has developed a pretty solid following in recent years. The venue, which hosts two shows each night, generally features artists who perform their own original music. Throughout the week, you can expect acoustic sets by up-and-coming songwriters as well as artists who are already hitmakers, and they also welcome East Tennessee and national acts to the stage.

Ober Mountain – We'll head up into the mountains in Gatlinburg for this musical outing. It's a good venue if you're into Americana, roots, bluegrass and similar styles of music. For example, artists featured through the end of August include Mountain Grass Band, Mountain Highway, the Lost Mill String Band and Tuatha Dea. You can get there by driving to the top of Crockett Mountain on Ski Mountain Rd. or by taking the Ober Mountain Aerial Tramway from downtown Gatlinburg.

The Island – This is a popular multipurpose development in the heart of Pigeon Forge, and it's home to several venues that offer live-music performances on a regular basis. Some of the locations to consider are Margaritaville, where you're liable to get some feel-good island vibes from yacht-rock artists in the style of Jimmy Buffett, and Mellow Mushroom Pizza, where you can enjoy some tasty 'za while rocking out to some of your favorite tunes.

Anakeesta – If you happen to be visiting this mountaintop attraction overlooking downtown Gatlinburg, you'll have opportunities to enjoy live music artists. Acts are scheduled every day at various venues throughout the park. Examples of whom you'll see (and hear) include the bluegrass trio The Tennessee Travelers, the folk music of The Crossjacks and professional bagpiper and harpist Kelly Ann Shipe.

We've given you a good start in your search for tasty music in the Smokies, but we're just getting warmed up. Check back in a couple of weeks for our next post, which will highlight even more great music venues in the Smokies.


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