The Mountaineer

October, 27 2022

Get ready for a fine day of bluegrass Saturday, Oct. 29, during the Smoky Mountains Bluegrass Festival at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.

The day features Haywood County’s own bluegrass sensations, Balsam Range, plus Sister Sadie and the Amanda Cook Band. The festival, which is a fundraiser for the Haywood County Arts Council, builds on the success of last year’s inaugural event.

“That show was so good last year,” said Balsam Range’s Tim Surrett. “It’s always fun to play a great, well-run program so close to home. The lineup is stellar, as well. Can’t wait.”

The arts council made sure the bluegrass lineup was something that would take the audience’s breath away. Balsam Range and Sister Sadie are both 2021 International Bluegrass Music Association winners.

“My heart is always full when I play music at home,” said Darren Nicholson, Balsam Range vocalist and mandolin player. “Western North Carolina is a magical place. A beautiful landscape, but the people are the secret ingredient. I appreciate all music peeps who support live performance in this area. I love entertaining and love living here.”

The arts council is also excited to add female voices to the stage.

“We’ve been in the studio recently and we have some new music we can’t wait for folks to hear,” noted Sister Sadie. “Looking forward to some great music and fun in beautiful Western North Carolina.”

The Amanda Cook Band noted they’re looking forward to sharing a stage with friends Balsam Range and Sister Sadie and bringing their fresh-off-the-press new album “Changes” to the audience in Maggie Valley.

“We learned a lot and asked attendees how we could improve,” said Morgan Beryl, HCAC’s executive director. “So this year we’ll have free refillable water stations, more artist demonstrations and instrument vendors, custom designed and locally created hats and other souvenirs and lots of drawing opportunities.”

The festival also boasts a great food and drink line-up, including Boojum Brewing serving beer and cider, Marked Tree Vineyard serving wine and Blue Ridge Distillery serving tastings of its Defiant whiskey.

“We’ve got the great food vendors from last year including Appalachian Smoke BBQ and Angels Wood Stove Cookin’, and have also added some new folks including Blunt Pretzels, Woof Street Bistro and Sunburst Coffee among others,” Beryl said.

And since the festival is Halloween weekend, there will be Halloween-themed activities including pumpkin decorating, a costume contest and face painting.

Joining the team and leading the crowd as emcee will be radio show host Richard Beard, a founding member of WNCW.


The Deluxe and Drink ticket is $105 in pre-order, which includes one free alcoholic drink, free non-alcoholic drinks, priority parking and a seat under the tent. General admission tickets are $55 pre-event or $65 day of concert, and will be lawn seats “which means you bring your own blanket or chair and find a spot to spend the day on.” Beryl said.

Children under the age of 12 get in free. All tickets sales are final.

“HCAC is lucky to have partners in our community who want to keep the Appalachian craft spirit alive,” Beryl said.