Gatlinburg is famous for many things, undoubtedly a favorite tourist destination set just outside the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But who would guess they are also host to one of the most exciting and unique music festivals of its kind in the country, the Smoky Mountain Music Festival?
Every year hundreds of students travel to Gatlinburg from across the country, elementary through high school aged, to compete in musical competitions of every variety during the Smoky Mountain Music Festival. The competitions cover a variety of categories such as:
- Concert Band,
- Jazz Band to Street Parade,
- Drum Line,
- Concert Choir,
- Chorus, and much more.
Since its inception this competition has featured 6,500 bands from over twenty-eight states and even bands from our Northern neighbor, Canada. The festival director is none other than, WJ Julian, the Director of Bands Emeritus of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
The festival not only involves the musicians competing, but it brings the music and competition to downtown Gatlinburg. Everyone can join in on the fun of this festival during Saturdays when the town comes alive with the musical parade. Competing bands attending the festival form a parade that winds through the strip of downtown as visitors and supporters can enjoy and cheer on their favorite band.
Established in 1983, the Smoky Mountain Music Festival is celebrating its 30th year this spring. Though, the competition is held several times during the year. The first of the competitions in Band, Choral, and Orchestra categories will be held April 19th-20th in downtown Gatlinburg. Competitions will continue through the weekends of April 26th-27th and May 3rd-4th. City officials work closely with the festival coordinators to make sure it is an amazing visit for students and other tourists enjoying the town at the time. So don’t miss your chance to hear some fantastic musical talent from across the nation and cheer on your favorite band this April as a part of the Smoky Mountain Music Festival.