The 19th annual Mountain Soul Vocal Competition is accepting entries, held to honor the music of Dolly Parton, the most famous resident of Seviereville, TN. Dolly isn’t expected to be on hand, but one never knows, and the contest is dedicated to the more than 3,000 songs she has written over her long career.
The competition is a big part of the city’s Bloomin’ BBQ Music & Food Festival, a free event sponsored by local businesses every year, and held in the parking lot of the Sevier County Courthouse (across from the Wal-Mart) every May.
While the festival runs all day Friday and Saturday, May 19-20, the vocal competition is held on Saturday. Contestants may enter in the 12 and under category, or 13 and above. From the submissions received singing one of Dolly’s songs, 30 finalists will be chosen to compete live on stage before the judges on May 20. Winners will receive cash awards and pries, including a Nashville recording session and a guitar signed by Dolly herself.
Amanda Marr, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce Director of Marketing and Communications, says that this contest means lot to the local residents, in appreciation for all that Parton has done for their community.
“Songwriting and storytelling are such an integral part of our culture, and no one does it better than Dolly. We feel like it’s important to honor her songwriting by showcasing its versatility across all genres – and by encouraging vocalists to dig deep into her impressive catalogue of music. We are honored that Dollywood assists us with coordinating prizes for the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition and look forward to presenting this vocal competition each year.”
Full details and an online application can be found on the Bloomin’ BBQ web site. Entry fees are $10 for 13 and up, and $5 for 12 and under.
The festival also hosts the Tennessee State Championship BBQ Cook Off. Teams come from all across the country to compete for this vaunted title, and festival goers have the opportunity to tase some of the best smoked meats to be found, all in one place.
While the music goes on out in front of the Courthouse, food and craft vendors line the streets behind. You can find all sorts of interesting items from local artists and crafters, not to mention some mouthwatering BBQ.
Set to perform this year are Yonder Mountain String Band, Dale Ann Bradley, Barefoot Movement, Trey Wellington, Breaking Grass, Ron Ickes & Trey Hensley, Kentucky JustUs, and local favorite, Jimbo Whaley.
Full details, as well as the competition applications, can be found online.