Looking for the best free entertainment in the Southeast this summer? Look no further than downtown Gatlinburg, where the 9th annual Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales has returned to give vacationers a highlight of Appalachian culture and history from some of the most talented performers in the country.
Spring performances will run each weekend until June 13 from 5:00pm – 10:00pm. After June 13, the performers and artisans will be on the streets each day wowing vacationers and locals with their talents from 6:00pm-11:0pm. This will continue through the summer season until August 9.
From one end of downtown Gatlinburg to the other, those visiting can see a variety of performers playing music and telling stories dating as far back as the 1880s.
Music and Dancing
Music has been at the center of Smoky Mountain history since the first settlers arrived. To share some of the musical heritage, full groups, trios and duos will be performing mountain music. While walking through downtown, you’ll have the chance to hear Gospel, folk, country and bluegrass from a variety of characters.
Musical Performers included in Tunes and Tales:
Chilhowee Mountain Band
The Back Porch Cloggers will also be dancing down the streets of Gatlinburg, showing off their clogging skills. Not only can you see old-time and modern clogging, the family can spin along with them because the dancers teach some fun moves and steps during each performance.
For the kids who would like to help make some mountain music, they can learn from a Jug Band, where musicians will teach you how to make music with spoons, wash tubs and washboards.
Arts and Crafts
No historical Gatlinburg event is complete without the artisans and craftsmen of the Smoky Mountains. The Smokies have the largest number of independent craftsmen in the country, some of whom are third and fourth generation creators. Those who participate in Tunes and Tales will
If you arrive on Saturday or Sunday nights, you might see Spinnin’ Selma sitting downtown spinning yarn from her antique spinner. Quilt lovers will enjoy running into Sun Bonnet Sue, who will be helping children learn how to make “Church Dolls.”
They’re not the only ones who will be in downtown for this summer festival of talent. Award-winning Whittlin’ Joe (Otto Preske) will delight all with his wooden flowers and unique on-site carvings.
Just as music and crafts have been handed down to preserve the cultural heritage of mountain people, storytelling has also become a way to share the traditions of the Great Smoky Mountains. At the Tunes and Tales event in Gatlinburg, you might hear stories woven about local legends or traditional Appalachian tales. Each memorable story is one you’ll remember long after you return home from vacation.
Where to Stay
Since there’s even more to see and do in Gatlinburg this summer, we recommend choosing a Gatlinburg cabin near downtown for shorter drives to area attractions and restaurants. Stony Brook Cabin Rentals provides a variety of log cabin options for guests including pet-friendly cabins and cabins with swimming pools, game rooms and more.
To book, call one of Stony Brook’s reservationists at (800) 633-5652. You’ll be able to ask questions and get your vacation planned in just a few minutes, so you can start enjoying your getaway before it even begins.