The all-American favorites of bluegrass music and slow-smoked barbecue take over the Silver Dollar City streets as the park's Bluegrass & BBQ festival fires up the stages and the grills in the Branson, Missouri theme park. Awarded a bluegrass "Event of the Year" by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), Bluegrass & BBQ presents more than 40 bands and hundreds of performances, from international award-winning musicians to the hottest new bands in bluegrass today.
"Bluegrass music has its roots in every country around the world, but it all came together here in America," said festival manager D.A. Callaway, who visits bluegrass festivals around the country to find talent, and was named "Bluegrass Promoter of the Year" by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America in 2012 & 2013. "Since it was first recognized as a genre in the 1950s, bluegrass has grown in popularity as each generation that comes along adds to the spirit, the energy, and the innovation of the music, and that's why today's bluegrass music is the best it has ever been," he said.
The festival celebrates the all-American music genre, featuring top artists and award-winning performers in bluegrass today, including Rhonda Vincent, described as the "Queen of Bluegrass Music" by the Wall Street Journal, performing with her band the Rage; the Grammy-nominated Grascals; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, 6-time IBMA Vocal Group of the Year winners; Blue Highway, the IBMA Vocal Group of the Year; the Boxcars, featuring 9-time IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year and 5-time Grammy winner Adam Steffey; and the Gibson Brothers, winner of the 2012 IBMA Entertainer of the Year. Plus, guests can see the top up-and-coming bands in bluegrass, such as The Bankesters, the Snyder Family Band, the Hillbenders and Monroeville.
New this year, guests can enjoy bluegrass music by land and by lake: Bluegrass Cruises are featured aboard the nearby Showboat Branson Belle, presented May 24 -26 at noon, featuring performances by Monroe Crossing on May 24, the Larry Stephenson Band on May 25, and The Special Consensus on May 26. The cruises include the show, a three-course meal and lake excursion.
National Bluegrass Competitions
Bluegrass & BBQ highlights two national competitions featuring entrants from across the country. The 7th Annual National Single Mic Championship, May 18, highlights performance skills as each band gathers around a single microphone and balances their sound by moving toward or away from it, a technique revived by many of today's top bluegrass bands. The Youth In Bluegrass Band Competition, May 25, promotes and encourages amateur bluegrass musicians 21 years of age or younger as they compete for top honors and cash prizes.
The House of BBQ, a Rib Feast & Hundreds of Sauces
The House of BBQ serves up Silver Dollar City's famous flavor feast from St. Louis-style ribs and smoked chicken to Texas brisket and sweet roasted corn on the cob -- direct from large outdoor charcoal grills and a custom-made 9-foot smoker. Another back-by-popular-demand feature is an all-you-can-eat BBQ rib feast on the Square each afternoon with fall-off-the-bone smoked ribs, plus SDC's famous 18-hour smoked brisket. The festival's signature dessert is a 25-lb. apple pie baked in a 2-foot wide cast iron skillet.
Returning to the House of BBQ are visiting, award-winning BBQ connoisseurs, bringing an additional dimension of barbecue variety. Featuring straight-out-of-the-Ozarks pit-style barbecue is Richard's Hawgwild BBQ of Aurora, Missouri. Adding even more heat to the grills is Dickey's Barbecue Pit, specializing in hickory smoked Texas-style meats. These new taste opportunities bring even more flavor variety - which is on overload on the City's Square, with guests welcome to sample hundreds of sauces, from smoky chipotle and sweet hickory to Carolina vinegar and honey habanero, plus the park's new Outlaw Run Zesty Honey sauce with a kick.
Silver Dollar City, located near Branson, Missouri, is open daily during Bluegrass & BBQ, May 9 - 27, except for Tuesdays, May 14 & 21. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (9:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sunday, May 26). For information and performers' schedules: 800-831-4FUN(386) or visit www.silverdollarcity.com
. For information on Bluegrass Cruises, click the link for the Showboat Branson Belle.