We’ve got some big news for all you Dollywood fans out there! The beloved Pigeon Forge theme park recently released its plans for 2018, and we’re excited to report that there are lots of exciting additions on the way. According to Dolly Parton herself, 2018 is going to be called the “Season of Showstoppers” because the park is spending $1 million dollars to bring some of the world’s best entertainment to the Smokies. To help you plan your next vacation, Hearthside Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to all of the new things to do at Dollywood for 2018.
1. Plaza at Wilderness Pass
When Dollywood’s River Battle ride closed in September of 2017, many guests started to speculate about what would take its place. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the site where River Battle once stood will be occupied by the Plaza at Wilderness Pass. This new entertainment plaza will be a spot for families to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere of whatever festival Dollywood is celebrating at the time. For example, during the Harvest Festival, the plaza will be filled with pumpkins and other autumn decorations. During the Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration, the Plaza at Wilderness Pass will transform into “Glacier Ridge”, complete with festive holiday decorations and a 30-foot tall Christmas tree that can project videos.
One of the biggest additions to Dollywood for 2018 is the Spring Mix Music Festival. This brand new celebration will take place for three weeks in April. The first week of the festival will bring a number of big-name classic country acts to the theme park, including Shenandoah, T.G. Sheppard, Pam Tillis, Suzy Bogguss, and Connie Smith. In the second week, Dollywood will host inspirational entertainment from The Blind Boys of Alabama, Amy Grant, David Phelps, and comedian Chonda Pierce (a.k.a the Queen of Clean). Week three of the Spring Mix will focus on folk musicians and classic rock artists, including The Marshall Tucker Band, The Drifters, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Firefall, and Al Stewart. More detailed concert information will be released in 2018.
3. Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Before the Spring Mix, the Grammy award-winning choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo will headline the Festival of Nations. Based in South Africa, Ladysmith Black Mambazo came to international prominence in 1986 when they collaborated with Paul Simon on his landmark album Graceland. The group also appeared on Dolly Parton’s 1996 album Treasures, where they contributed to the song “Peace Train”. The Festival of Nations will also feature the National Dance Company of Siberia and The Flamenco Kings starring Los Vivancos.
The Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival is another one of the most popular things to do at Dollywood. In 2018, this awesome event will be a week longer than it has been in past years! Visitors to the theme park will enjoy bluegrass concerts from some of the most celebrated musicians in the nation along with heaping helpings of mouthwatering BBQ meats and sides. Headliners for the festival include Dailey & Vincent, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and Rhonda Vincent & The Rage.
5. DRUMLine Live
Dollywood’s Summer Celebration will feature some truly unique entertainment, including DRUMLine Live, iLuminate, and Dan Dunn’s PaintJam. Created by the executive consultants of the hit movie Drumline, DRUMLine Live is an awesome show that features the high-energy marching bands found at some of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Complete with dancers, dynamic lighting, and eye-catching costumes, DRUMLine Live gets rave reviews everywhere it tours.
iLuminate is a one-of-a-kind dance troupe that wears costumes covered in LED lights and glow-in-the-dark wires. The troupe is most famous for competing in the 2011 season of America’s Got Talent, where they took third place. With their stunning visual effects, iLuminate is guaranteed to astound guests of all ages.
7. Dan Dunn’s PaintJam
Dan Dunn is the world’s most acclaimed speed painter. Using a 360-degree rotating canvass, Dunn creates incredible works of art right before your eyes. He has been featured on the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
When you stay with Hearthside Cabin Rentals, you will be just a short drive from all of the new things to do at Dollywood. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 18 bedroom lodges, we are sure to have the perfect accommodations for your vacation. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of cabins in Pigeon Forge!