September brings fall, cooler weather and, for music lovers, hundreds of RVs converging on the home farm of Mitzi and Joe Soward in Kodak. Fans arrive annually for a long weekend of the best bluegrass music the country has to offer. This year was no exception.
Against a back drop of perfect weather, fans were treated to the warm hospitality of the Soward family and an unforgettable time during the annual Dumplin’ Valley Bluegrass Festival.
The Dumplin’ Valley RV Park became the temporary home for thousands of faithful followers of bluegrass September 18–20. The grass roots music lovers arrived from all over the country and as far away as the United Kingdom. They came expecting the very best of the best and were not disappointed.
Thursday’s line-up included Adkins & Loudermilk, the Little Roy & Lizzie Show, Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice and local favorite Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier. Jimbo grew up in Pigeon Forge and still lives here.
Taking the stage on Friday were Donna Ulisse & the Poor Mountain Boys, Volume Five, James King and Balsam Range. The highlight of Friday evening was the appearance of the Queen of Bluegrass, Rhonda Vincent and her band The Rage. Rhonda gave two outstanding performances and sang all of her fan’s favorites including “Mule Skinner Blues” as well as treating the audience to some newer numbers.
Darin & Brooke Aldridge, The Spinney Brothers and the Bankesters performed on Saturday along with Sideline and Lonesome River Band.
Festival goers also enjoyed delicious food from a variety of vendors and the opportunity to purchase unique wares including everything from original paintings and jewelry to doll clothing and apparel.
There was no shortage of photo ops, not only with performers but also with the Hatfield & McCoy Jalopy, complete with hillbillies, provided by the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show in Pigeon Forge.