Want to experience the traditional music heritage of Southeast Tennessee? The best way to do it is in a number of Fall October festivals across the region. Southeast Tennessee’s musical heritage contains as much variety and beauty as the landscape itself. Open your ears to a wide range of magnificent sounds to fully experience the Southeast Tennessee music tradition.
From blues to bluegrass, the area is called the Music Trail. This is a ten county region that goes from Chattanooga to Spring City and stretches from Monteagle Mountain to Ducktown. The southeastern region of Tennessee will delight your senses during the early days of fall.
Here are the six October autumn music festivals not to be missed in the area.
3 Sisters Music Festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Admission is free to this annual event held the first weekend in October. This event features contemporary and traditional bluegrass music and is held downtown on the Riverfront. Beer, food and non-alcoholic drink concessions will be available. No outside food or beverages are allowed. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets. For more information, call 423-265-0771.
Bledsoe Fall Harvest Festival in Downtown Pikeville, Tennessee
This yearly festival occurs in early October and has a free admission for all ages. Country, bluegrass, rock, jazz, blues and old time are the types of music featured. Other activities include a classic car show, arts and crafts, and a local town parade. Food can be purchased from local and regional vendors. call 423-447-6397 for more information.
Cleveland Apple Festival in Downtown Cleveland, Tennessee
Admission is always free to this annual family event, which is held the third full weekend in October. The festival celebrates area apple orchards and takes place on the courthouse square in downtown Cleveland, TN. The event features bluegrass, mountain and southern gospel music. Other activities include a juried arts and craft show, horse and hay-rides, children’s rides and a live auction. For more information, call 423-503-4114.
Pumpkintown Festival in Downtown Athens, Tennessee
This annual one day festival occurs every October and focuses on the history, harvest and heritage of a small southeast Tennessee community. Activities include live bluegrass, country and gospel music. Other activities include a car show, farmer’s market, a pumpkin recipe contest and children’s games. Contact the Athens Downtown Business Association for more information.
Ketner’s Mill Festival in Whitwell, Tennessee
This extremely popular event held each late October is one of the area’s best attended from all over the region and neighboring states. There is an admission fee. Built in 1824, Ketner’s Mill was the first mill located along the Sequatchie River and is the only fully operational mill still standing in Tennessee. Stretching across over 100 acres, the site includes a brick mill, sawmill and gristmill. The Ketner’s Mill fair offers bluegrass, country and gospel music. You can also purchase stone ground cornmeal and grits. Other activities include arts, crafts, canoe rental, mule drawn wagon rides, a petting zoo, wool spinning demonstrations, sorghum demonstrations, chair caning and country cooking. For more information, call 423-267-5702.
Hiwassee Valley Antique Tractor and Engine Show in Charleston, Tennessee
This annual event is held in early October on a Saturday and Sunday. There is an admission fee for adults, but children 12 and under are admitted free. The festival is held on the grounds of the Charleston City Park. Bluegrass and gospel performances are scheduled both days. Exhibitions and displays of antique tractors and farm equipment are showcased. An Engine Show gristmill and corn shredding will also be featured. Activities include a pedal tractor pull, tractor parade, farm animals, sack races and arts and crafts. Food is available. Find out more information by calling 423-593-8320.
Keep in mind this region is divided over eastern and central time zones. Always call ahead to verify times, especially when traveling. Much of the terrain is mountainous and rural. It is always a good idea to pack a cooler with drinks and snacks in the trunk of the car.
Source: Southeast Tennessee Tourism Association