You know the songs: “Thunder Rolls,” “She’s Everything,” “Three Wooden Crosses,” and “I Cross My Heart.” You know the artists: Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, Randy Travis, and George Strait. But what (or who) you probably don’t know are the songwriters behind these top country hits — names like Pat Alger, Tony Arata, and Kent Blazy.
Performances and workshops with Hall of Fame songwriters are just the beginning of what’s in store for you at the 7th Annual Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival (SMSWF) in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, August 2018. If you’ve never heard of this melodious festival before, the short story is it’s a 10-day event with FREE live music featuring some of the music industry’s best songwriters. And for those who want to know a little more, keep reading to get the rest of the story on this unique Smoky Mountain opportunity that only comes once a year!
What Is SMSWF?
The Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival is an annual 10-day event where some of the music industry’s best songwriters converge in Gatlinburg to share their priceless songwriting expertise with you! The 2018 SMSWF will feature multiple music venues with tons of live performances.
This year’s Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival will also feature 3 ticketed concerts and special songwriter performances. Besides live music, the festival will feature fascinating workshops with Hall of Fame songwriters. This is your chance to ask your toughest questions! How did they get their break? What advice do they have for songwriters just starting out? Or if you’re just looking for a little entertainment, head to the FREE concert venues throughout the 10-day event.
Other Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival events include the Hike & Write, Song Competition Finale & Awards Show, Gospel Sunday, and Bluegrass Camp. For a complete list of events and their 2018 schedule, do visit their website.
When & Where
This year, the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival is scheduled for August 13-22, 2018. Concerts, workshops, and contests are scheduled at various times and at venues all around the area. Feel free to check out a brief overview of events on our 2018 SMSWF May blog. For now, here’s a quick list of the Gatlinburg venues where SMSWF events will be taking place throughout the 10-day festival:
- Crystelle Creek Restaurant and Grill
- The Historic Gatlinburg Inn
- Dick’s Last Resort
- Edgewater Hotel
- Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery
How Much? | How Do I Register?
Generally speaking, the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival is an open-to-the-public event. That means NO admission fees or registration costs required! And it’s not like these concerts are free because they’re performed by second-rate artists. Actually, every songwriter in the 2018 SMSWF Rounds lineup has received high performance ratings by a public-listener committee to make sure they are stage ready, and the solo and duo stage spots have to undergo rigorous auditions, meaning only awesome shows for YOU! Take a look at some of the fully qualified performers you can check out at the 2018 SMSWF below.
- Fish Fisher | Toledo, OH
- Barry Ferguson | McMinnville, TN
- Richard Aldin West | Riverside, CA
- Erin Ott | Rockford, TN
- Chris Garner | Buchanan, GA
- Freddie Lee | Farmington, OH
- LaLa Deaton | Nashville, TN
- Michael Manning | Woodlawn, TN
- Lauren Anderson | Destrehan, LA
- Marilyn Harris | Tullahoma, TN
- Robert Redwine | Ft. Worth, TX
- Bill Hartman | Lake Worth, FL
- Mark Wright | Frankfort, KY
- Scott Barrier | Chattanooga, TN
- Jane Ramsey | Camphill, PA
- Gary Cavanaugh | Nashville, TN
- Jim Duff | Cincinnati, OH
- Mike Ryan | Clifton, VA
- David Blackwell | Destrehan, LA
- Sparrow | Maryville, TN
- Matt York | Pembroke, MA
- James Gedeon | New Vernon, NJ
- Roger Vines | Rockford, AL
- Chris Long | Kingsport, TN
Many performances and more are free to the public without tickets or a need to register. However, songwriter workshops are primarily first come, first serve — meaning the earlier you register (fees included), the more likely you will get a seat and an opportunity to learn from some of the top names in the songwriting industry. And while this year’s deadlines for performance and competition entries have already come and gone, early registration for the 2019 lineup will open November 1, 2018 and close April 30, 2019. You can register by filling out the appropriate registration form on the SMSWF website. Other special events also require signing up or reserving your seat (see their website for more details), and the 3 headlining performances (yet to be announced) for 2018 will require purchased tickets.
Where to Stay
You’ve come to the Smokies to check out the music scene, right? So why not book your dream Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge cabin to get the full Smoky Mountain experience and find inspiration for your next big hit while you’re at it! Sip herbal tea or coffee on the back porch with breathtaking mountain views and morning songbird tunes, relax in the bubbly outdoor hot tub after a day of concert viewing at the festival, and write to your heart’s content in a comfy king-size bed. For more information about our top-notch cabins, from 1-bedroom romantic retreats to 14-bedroom large-group lodges, feel free to browse our website, fill out our Options for YOU form, or start an online chat with a Vacation Specialist today!