Mountain Music: Long Journey Home Festival

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. 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 Long Journey Home Tour and Festival takes place Sept. 1 through September 3 celebrating Appalachian heritage and true mountain music, complete with busking, a Musical Heritage Tour and the Unveiling of the ”Acres of Stories and Songs” Mural and Sunday Sining in the historic Heritage Hall.


​Friday, Sept. 1
The fun begins on Friday evening with Buskin’ on Main Street. This event brings our 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.

Saturday, Sept. 2
On Saturday, 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 Clint’s 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.

Sunday, Sept. 3
The festivities end on Sunday with a Sunday Singing at Heritage Hall Theatre from 2 to 4:30pm. Several local musicians who carry on the deep traditions of mountain gospel will perform.

While You’re There

Johnson County Center for the Arts
At the Johnson County Center for the Arts, you can see the work of Long Journey Home artists, shop from local craftsmen, and find out more about the music heritage in Johnson County.

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.

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.

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