2019 Top Music Events/Festivals in the Southern Highlands

With the Great Smokys and Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop, we’ve put together a diverse collection of festivals offering something for everyone. Some festivals are well known, while others are local favorites. There’s something for everyone on the list, so get your tickets SOON, get out there and have some fun in the Southern Highland Sun!

BIG EARS: Knoxville, TN

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March 21 - 24

Big Ears was founded in 2009. It's a festival that must be experienced. Musicians and artists are encouraged to explore, collaborate, and innovate. With a plethora of world-class performances spread throughout Knoxville’s historic theaters, museums, nightclubs, churches, and outdoor spaces. Everything at your fingertips: film screenings, concerts, surprise collaborations, and more. This unique collaborative event explores connections between musicians and artists, effortlessly crossing the boundaries of musical genres as well as artistic disciplines.

Annually, the festival supports 100+ performances of music, film, and art over four days. Community engagement typically includes 50+ panels, workshops, and performances that are free and open to the public.

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Sweetwater 420 Festival, Atlanta, GA

April 19-21

First and foremost, Sweetwater 420 is a beer lover's NIRVANA! Add in headliners WIDESPREAD PANIC (I’m a big fan from way back, but that’s another story), Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell, and the 400 Unit, JJ Grey and MOFRO, and Cory Henry and The Funk Apostles…

Since 2004 SweetWater has stayed true to its focus: blending music, entertainment, art and culture, all while respecting Mother Earth. No wonder the festival continues to grow every year. Look, you just can’t go wrong with a celebration like this at Centennial Olympic Park in the ATL!


MerleFest: America's top roots based music festival

April 25 – 28, 2019 / 1328 S. Collegiate Drive, Wilkesboro, N.C

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Stages everywhere, people of all ages stoked to be in attendance. Everyone is friendly, happy and grooving on the music and the good vibes. MerleFest is an annual "traditional plus" music festival held in Wilkesboro, North Carolina on the campus of Wilkes Community College. GraciousRoots spent a few days at MerleFest last year, read about it HERE

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SHAKY KNEES 1328 S. Collegiate Drive, Wilkesboro, N.C

May 3-5 Central Park, Atlanta, GA

Since 2013 Shaky Knees has been rocking a diverse line up each year while combining freaking good food and fun with a top-shelf selection of up and coming musicians along with their renowned world class line musical stars. Take a look at this line up>>>>>>


May 23-26, Cumberland, Maryland


Hard Rock Lovers REJOICE!

You don’t even KNOW! Let’s start with just (4) of the numerous bands: FOO FIGHTERS, TOOL, BUSH, & KORN.

Now you have an idea of what Epicenter is all about. The 2019 line up is spectacular. Still not convinced? Here are just a few more of this extensive list of bands: Judas Priest, Rob Zombie, 311, Evanescence, The Prodigy, on and on and on and on! Then there are the options for camping if you choose. Add in premium eats, a wine garden, Tiki bar, and craft beer garden. Hotels and shuttles are available as well for your safety and enjoyment. Better get your tickets FAST!


Tennesse loves music as evidenced by the many music venues, festivals and of course the sweet sounds emanating from Nashville lo these many years. Not to be outdone, Knoxville is turning on the amplifiers and plugging in the lights on stage. The line up is still growing at the time of this writing with the national acts, and the best Eastern Tennessee has to offer. As the festival organizers like to say, “Rhythm N’ Blooms is a festival that’s just as much about the city of Knoxville as it is about music.”

Here’s a glimpse: Tyler Childress, The Black Lillies, Tank and the Bananas, Lucas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Dawes, & My Brightest Diamond.

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May 23-26, Cumberland, MC



A music festival celebrating the rich legacy of McCoury Music, which pretty much sums up all you need to know because you are guaranteed to enjoy Del’s famous musical musings, along with the Travelin’ McCourys. But did you catch one particular name NOT McCoury? Sandwiched in between titles such as The String Cheese Incident, Sam Bush, Yonder Mountain String Band and many more it’s easy to miss this young shooting star who has been taken under wing by Warren Hayes: Marcus King of the same named Marcus King Band. Marcus is the product of Greenville, SC, a prodigy. You don’t want to miss this, we promise!


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Friends started Rooster Walk when two of their childhood best friends passed away in their 20’s: Edwin “The Rooster” Penn and Walker Shank. Rooster Walk is a nod to the realization that you “shouldn’t waste a moment of time.”

Since 2008 the festival has raised more than $175,000 for local and regional charities and funded a scholarship honoring their friends' high school. The festival location at Pop’s Farm is a stunningly beautiful venue for a music and arts festival. GALACTIC & THE MARCUS KING BAND lead a packed lineup. But there is much more to do on site. Guided hikes and bike rides, slacklining, disc golf, and guided canoe floats on the Smith River.

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Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, June 13-16, Manchester, TN

Bonnaroo has been a mainstream, super successful festival for some years now. From the line up to all of the bells and whistles listed, it looks like 2019 will carry the flame and improve on a fantastic festival in beautiful Manchester, TN. FISH, THE AVETT BROTHERS, RIVAL SONS, THE LUMINEERS, CARDI B, BRANDI CARLISLE & much more will crank up and kick off your summer.

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FLOYDFEST 2019 - The Voyage

July 24-28, Floyd Virginia

The team at GraciousRoots took in all five glorious days of FloydFest 2018 on the mountain just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. From top to bottom, this festival is the marque in the summer festival rotation. The organization, the culture, the vendors, the friendly, community-minded attendees, the outdoor outings, the incredible setting and most of all MUSIC rates “off the charts”! This is a festival you need to visit every year. Read about 2018 HERE