“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know. Where the treetops glisten and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas with every Christmas card I write. May your days be merry and bright, and may all of your Christmases be white”. Ahh, the sounds of Christmas, the smell of hot chocolate, and Dolly Parton making another public appearance to officially announce Dollywood’s largest entertainment investment in history!
While Dolly herself was on hand at Dollywood last week to provide media a sneak peek of the current Christmas festival at Dollywood, she also unveiled what she called “A Season of Showstoppers”, for Dollywood’s 33rd anniversary season. While Dollywood has long been known as “The Entertainment Capital of the South”, Dolly announced an entertainment lineup which represents an investment $1 Million greater that any season long entertainment schedule in the park’s history. Headlining the 2018 performances we will see The Marshall Tucker Band, The Drifters, T.G. Sheppart, Suzy Bogguss, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Crystal Gayle, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and a host of other award-winning artists.
“Music is the universal language that unites all of us,” Dolly explained. “It celebrates our people, our families and our communities. I’ve made music my life’s work because I feel each and every one of us has a special song to sing. I’ve made sure that here at my Dollywood, we use music to encourage and inspire those songs in each and every one of our shows”.
Dollywood’s 2018 entertainment roster reads like the nomination list from an awards ceremony. A range of performers, from CMA Hall of Fame members to emerging artist, ensure there is something for everyone. Combined, the headline artist performing at Dollywood in 2018 have 42 gold albums, 18 platinum albums, 30 Grammys, 14 Country Music Association Awards, 10 American Country Music Awards, five American Music Association Awards and 62 Dove Awards.
It will all begin with Dollywood’s Festival of Nations which includes headliners National Dance Company of Siberia, The Flamenco Kings Starring Los Vivancos, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Hailing from South Africia, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who worked with Dolly on her 1996 album Treasures, has teamed with Paul Simon, Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris and many more.
April will bring something new with three weeks of stellar performances during the all-new Spring Mix music series. Dollywood guest can expect performances by Dollywood entertainment alumnus Bogguss, Sheppard, Pam Tillis, Gayle, Connie Smith and Shenandoah during the first week of the event. The second weeks plays host to artist such as Amy Grant, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Larnelle Harris, David Phelps and comedienne Chonda Pierce, also known as, “The Queen of Clean”. Classic artist like The Marshall Tucker Band, The Drifters, Debby Boone, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Firefall, and Al Stewart entertain park guest during the final week of the event. Keep watch for individual concert dates and show times.
Already one of the nation’s best bluegrass events, Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass adds an extra week of concerts from the biggest names in the business. Guests should expect hundreds of live bluegrass performances during the festival with headline shows from Grammy and IBMA winner Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, and IMBA winners Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Dailey & Vincent and many more.
Anyone who has been to Dollywood during the summer knows there is plenty to keep you busy until that nightly fireworks show at 10PM, but now, the list is even longer! Families have a multitude of world renowned options to keep them entertained during the Dollywood’s Summer Celebration. Illuminate, finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2011, bring their electrified glow-in-the-dark costumes to DP’s Celebrity Theater to perform dynamic dance routines and illusions to thrill guest. Summer 2018 will also see international touring sensation DRUMLine Live! visit the park with riveting rhythms, bold beats and ear-grabbing energy. Developed by the consultants of the hit 2002 movie, Drumline, the band featured in this exhilarating show creates a synchronized musical masterpiece.
Dollywood’s popular Rock the Smokies moves to August 25th with Toby Mac and Crowder serving as headliners. Multiple contemporary Christian artist perform through the park during this exciting conclusion to the summer.
Dollywood’s Harvest Festival provides more fall family fun with the expansion of the new guest favorite Great Pumpkin LumiNights, as well as the largest Southern Gospel event in America. During the festival, several hundred performances by Southern Gospel royalty take place during the day, while at night, thousands of carved pumpkins illuminate the dark with an expanded number of displays and activities for families to enjoy.
Still not tired? Well that’s good because we aren’t done yet! Dollywood’s 2018 season will end with America’s favorite theme park holiday event, Smoky Mountain Christmas that has been voted as best theme park Christmas event for a decade now. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas features more than four million lights, classical holiday entertainment including Christmas in the Smokies and It’s a Wonderful Life, as well as other favorites such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Friends and the heartwarming Parade of Many Colors.
In 2017, Dollywood won the Golden Ticket from Amusement Today for Best Entertainment at any theme park in the world. The honor was the ninth consecutive triumph for the park in that category. With Dolly’s commitment to entertainment in 2018, we think Dollywood is on their way to securing its 10th victory in this category!
So, rest up this winter and great ready for a foot stomping, show stopping, family of entertainment only at Dollywood in 2018!
Photo: Cast from one of Dollywood’s Award-winning shows