Editor’s Note: This post was written by Dollywood Entertainment Manager, Roger White.
A lot of people say that fall is a time to get back to your roots. A time to reconnect to the warmth of family and friends. A time to enjoy the fruits of your labor as the literal agricultural harvest is brought into farm and home. We certainly do that in America as we enjoy the time of late September, October and, perhaps the ultimate harvest holiday of Thanksgiving. If Thanksgiving is the ultimate, then the entire month of October is the penultimate – the weather is markedly cooler, football season is getting into full swing and nature speaks to us with changing colors and falling leaves.
Dollywood is no different as the park property changes from bright and brilliant colors of summer to the warm and comfortable earth tones of brown, gold, green and, yes, purple. Pumpkins are everywhere and, as the temperature drops, the music gets warm as we change from brassy, pop and country summertime songs to the roots of Americana – old-school country, bluegrass and Gospel – I like to call it “Ameri-kinda.”
The festival features many great Gospel artists like The Inspirations, Triumphant Quartet and The Martins. Lots of outstanding bluegrass artists like Balsam Range, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage and The Amanda Cook Band. Country acts like John Anderson, The Malpass Brothers and Chapel Hart are featured as well. Additionally, some great Americana bands like The War and Treaty, Endless Highway and The Woods will be performing during Dollywood’s Harvest Festival (now – Oct. 29). Check the daily schedule to see who’s performing when.
While the music cannot be classified strictly as “Americana,” it’s all sort of country, sort of Gospel, sort of bluegrass, kind of Americana – hence my nickname for it, Ameri-kinda. Generally, music that speaks to our roots as Americans – mostly acoustic instruments, familiar rhythms and, especially, songs of the heart. It’s music made up of songs that speak of family bonds, love and relationships and a beautiful spirituality special to us, our country and our faith.
Listen as Roberta Lea sings “Uniform,” or Rhonda Vincent sings “I’ve Forgotten You,” or as The War and Treaty sing “Five More Minutes.” You’ll feel a wealth of emotional connections as the music explores everything that makes us human and makes us unique as individuals sharing common experiences.
Dollywood’s Harvest Festival offers more than 1900 unique performances on various stages, theaters, storefronts, or you might even come across one our many roaming musicians playing fiddle, mandolin or the banjo for a cool one-on-one entertainment opportunity.
Though Dollywood is historically known for hosting southern Gospel music almost exclusively during the Harvest Festival, you may have noticed the park has recently championed more Gospel music to be programmed throughout the year. In addition to its “house” Gospel group, the Kingdom Heirs, Dollywood has also hosted Lauren Talley, Tim Lovelace, Sacred Calling and other faith-based artists during the 2022 season. So, you may hear some sweet hymns at any point you visit! During Harvest, you’ll enjoy southern Gospel and other soulful songs.
With so many great artists and opportunities to see live shows, the Dollywood App is a must-have – and it’s a free download! If you want a broader look, go to https://www.dollywood.com/themepark/Entertainment/Special-Harvest-Entertainment.
Not much different than enjoying a bowl of warm chili in Market Square or enveloping yourself in the beauty of the Great Pumpkin LumiNights displays, why not stop in one of Dollywood’s many fall-time music venues and take in a slice of “Ameri-kinda” at Dollywood’s Harvest Festival?