Long Journey Home Festival set for Labor Day weekend

Published 10:57 am Thursday, August 10, 2023

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Just about as far northeast in Tennessee as you can get, you’ll find a county that is half Cherokee National Forest and half Watauga Lake, where people still get together and play music on their front porches. Nestled within those hills, lies Mountain City (appropriately named), and each year a celebration takes place honoring the iconic Old Time Mountain music style that shaped country music as we know it. The three-day festival spans Labor Day Weekend, September 1-3.This year’s Long Journey Home festival events include:
– Buskin’ on Main, a showcase of local and regional acoustic talent playing up and down Main Street on the evening of Friday, Sept. 1
– The unveiling of Acres of Stories and Songs, a new mural honoring Clint Howard on Saturday, Sept. 2
– The Musical Heritage Homecoming Tour showcasing authentic Old-Time music played on the front porches of the iconic musicians who shaped early country music by musicians who still carry on the legacy of true mountain music, Sept. 2
– A traditional Sunday Singin’ at Heritage Hall Theater featuring authentic old-time gospel music on Sept. 3
The fun begins on Friday evening with Buskin’ on Main Street. This event brings the small town to life with music, friends, and plenty of good eating. The Long Journey Home Art Show and Quilt Show are always a big hit at Johnson County Center for the Arts.
On Saturday, Sept. 2, the Musical Heritage Homecoming Tour begins with the unveiling of a new mural, Acres of Stories and Songs on the Mural Mile in Downtown Mountain City. Next up is a visit to the Clarence “Tom” Ashley homeplace with Kenny Price and Jerry Moses performing Ashley’s iconic clawhammer banjo tunes right on his front porch. Right up the road, Jack Proffitt and Friends will perform the music of Clint Howard at the farm where Doc Watson’s first album was recorded.
Saturday’s tour concludes, as always, at the Fred Price Homeplace, nestled high in the mountains, but the evening holds even more entertainment with the return of the Mountain City Fiddler’s Convention to Heritage Hall. Tour maps may be picked up at the Center for the Arts and other local businesses. The Musical Heritage Mural Mile and Long Journey Home were made possible in part though funding from East Tennessee Foundation, Johnson County Community Foundation and Tennessee Arts Commission as well as the generosity of community members.
“It’s about as real as it gets. If you were wondering whether authentic Appalachia still exists, look no further.”

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