The Caverns announces Big Mouth Bluegrass Festival

The good folks at The Caverns in Grundy, TN, filming site for the popular The Caverns Sessions program on PBS and home of the CaveFest jamgrass event launched last fall, have announced a new festival for the Fourth of July weekend, starting in 2023.

Named the Big Mouth Bluegrass Festival, it will feature top names in traditional and contemporary bluegrass, serving as a counterpoint to the more progressively-oriented CaveFest.

Todd Mayo, owner of The Caverns and Executive Producer of The Caverns Sessions, formerly known as Bluegrass Underground, says that the festival title refers to the cave opening, and not any of the artists booked to appear.

“Big Mouth Bluegrass Festival is a return to the roots of The Caverns, and the festival’s name is a tribute to the historical name of the cave we call home today. We cannot think of a better way to celebrate Fourth of July weekend than with a festival celebrating some of the greatest things about our country—bluegrass music, hot dogs and apple pie, fireworks, camping, pickin’ circles, and family and friends, new and old.”

Music and activities will take place both above ground in The Cavern’s new amphitheater stage, and deep in the earth inside the cave. There will on-site camping and concessions, with food trucks offering cook out fare and Fourth of July favorites, and there are nearby accommodations for those who prefer a hotel stay.

Joe Lurgio, Caverns general manager, says acoustic music has a special appeal within the caves.

“All music sounds naturally great inside the cave, but there is something extra special about hearing the ancient tones of fiddles and banjos underground. And when those same instruments ring out and fill the cove above ground, it’s not lost on us, the artists, and the fans, that this little corner of Grundy County is a magical place to play and listen to this special music.”

Booked to appear July 1-2 this year are The Dan Tyminski Band, Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Lonesome River Band, Appalachian Road Show, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, The Grascals, Sister Sadie, The Grascals, Missy Raines & Allegheny, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, The Cleverlys, and several more.

Blake Williams will serve as master of ceremonies, and Becky Buller will be the festival’s artist in residence, appearing on stage with many of the various entertainers over the course of the two days at the Big Mouth Bluegrass Festival.

A number of sites inside the cave will be designated for jamming, and of course, jamming within the campsites is a given.

Two-day tickets with camping are available starting $79.50, with children under five admitted free. Those between the ages of five and twelve can get a “young grasser” ticket at only $40 for both days. A variety of VIP packages are available that include premium campsites, a special viewing location for the stage shows, a VIP lounge tent, and other amenities. There are even packages to stay in The Caverns’ yurt village, or at a hotel in nearby Monteagle, with shuttle transportation to and from.

Other activities will include cave tours, and a fireworks displays both nights.

Full details and ticket information can be found at The Caverns web site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.