Mountain Music: Long Journey Home Festival

Just about a far northeast in Tennessee as you can get, you’ll find a county that is half Cherokee National Forest and half Watauga Lake. 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 eventually developed into country music.

The Long Journey Home Tour and Festival takes place August 31 through September 3 celebrating Appalachian heritage and the 1925 Fiddler’s Convention, a gathering that paved way for many artists to try their hand at recordings, radio and the clawhammer banjo.


Thursday, August 31 at 5 p.m.
​Kody Norris and band will entertain during dinner and a square dance at the Senior Center

Friday September 1 at 5 p.m.
​Buskin’ on Main Street  – ​Downtown Mountain City will come alive with all kinds of pickin’ and grinnin’, friends and local food vendors.

Saturday, September 2 at 10 a.m.
Unveiling of the 1925 Fiddlers Convention Mural at the new Johnson County Center for the Arts in Heritage Square. ​JAM will kickoff the Musical Heritage Tour at the mural unveiling. Maps will be available to guide you during your visit to heritage sites throughout Johnson County, each with live music including:
The Old Mill with Kody Norris honoring GB Grayson
​Murder Ballads on the creekbank commemorating the capture of Tom Dooley
​Clawhammer Banjo at the Tom Ashley Homeplace
​Family Tales and songs at the Clint Howard Farm
​Open jam at the Fred Price Homeplace.
*Bring a quilt or lawnchair,and an instrument if you play. Enjoy a laid back evening of music and mountain air with friends and family.

Sunday, September 3 at 2 p.m.
Sunday Singin’ at Heritage Hall – ​Enjoy traditional Mountain Gospel presented by
The Long Family, ​The Price Family, Tony and Cheri Jo Potter and The Fletchers.

While You’re There

Art Show
See the work of Long Journey Home artists, Cristy Dunn, Temple Reece and Tia Thomas at Johnson County Public Library on Friday, Aug. 31 from 9 a.m. to 7 pm. and Saturday, Sept. 1 from 9 .m. to 1 p.m.

Quilt Show
​Tennessee Sunrise Quilt Guild has some exciting events planned at First United Methodist Church. See the outstanding work of local quilters, witness a Quilt Turning, and more Friday, Aug, 31 from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Doe Mountain Recreation Area
Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Doe Mountain Recreation Area offers 8,600 acres of wooded forest and 56 miles of multi-use trails for off highway vehicles, mountain biking and hiking. Click here for info.

Johnson County Welcome Center & Museum
Johnson County welcomes travelers with the warm embrace of a beautiful log facility showcasing historic artifacts donated from residents of Johnson County, as well as area information about lodging and local attractions. Click here for info.

Watauga Lake Winery
Located in a five room schoolhouse overlooking the countryside of Butler, Tenn., Watauga Lake Winery produces award winning wines from 4,000 vines grown locally in the Appalachian Mountains including a variety of red, white, fruit and dessert wines. Open Monday, Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Click here for info.

For additional information on the Long Journey Home Tour and Festival, visit

Plan your trip now with our interactive map!