August 10—The 51st Smoky Mountain Folk Festival is fast approaching and features a wide variety of Haywood County talent.
The summer festival is a traditional Southern Appalachian experience and it features a variety of talent from clogging to veterans to bluegrass music. There is something for everyone every night.
“My favorite part of the festival is the camaraderie of all the musicians and dancers, how fun it is behind the scenes, how fun sharing and storytelling is, and how fun jamming is,” said Smoky Mountain Folk Festival director Joe Sam Queen. . “It’s not just a stage show. The performers have fun too.”
Visitors can enjoy a variety of talent in over 25 numbers featuring fiddlers, banjo players, string ballads, string orchestras, buck dancers and square dancing teams and much more .
“It’s a collection of the best talent in the region,” Queen said.
The annual summer festival takes place a week earlier than usual this year from 5pm to 10.30pm on August 26 and 27.
Both evenings begin with a free open tent show on the lawn from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m., then the paid main stage show begins at 6:30 p.m. and continues until 10:30 p.m.
“We are pleased that the new dates are the weekend before Labor Day weekend,” Queen said. “It really is a spectacular local event,” he said.
The festival is located in the historic Lake Junaluska Stuart Auditorium, 91 North Lake Shore Dr., Lake Junaluska.
“The historic auditorium is a COVID-friendly venue because it’s outdoors in the open air and has more than 2,000 seats,” Queen said. “We feel like it’s very safe.”
The event has been held for 51 years, minus the cancellations for the past two years due to COVID. There are usually around 500-600 tickets sold per night.
He said audiences love the variety and richness of talent. The dance teams are both young and old, bringing individuality and uniqueness to the numbers.
“A lot of these traditional acts are families. The close-knit personal sound makes it special,” Queen said.
Both nights are unique and completely different. “We try to balance the nights,” he said.
There will be free watermelon on both nights and the festival will also have a barbecue food truck with coffee ice cream at the cafe.
“We look forward to a strong comeback after a three-year absence,” Queen said. “The training is as good as it’s ever been,” Queen said. “Artists are all stepping up.”
Tickets for the main show are $15 at the door or $12 in advance, and kids 12 and under are free. Advance tickets can be purchased at the Haywood County Arts Council at 86 North Main St. in Waynesville or the Bethea Welcome Center at Junaluska Lake.