The Caverns Establishes A New Destination Festival on Fourth of July Weekend for Bluegrass Music Fans


Big Mouth Bluegrass Festival, July 1-2, 2023

Sparks will fly Fourth of July weekend at The Caverns when a new bluegrass festival emerges from Payne’s Cove featuring a cavalcade of award-winning bluegrass artists. On July 1 & 2, 2023, The Caverns presents the inaugural Big Mouth Bluegrass Festival. In addition to all the explosive pickin’ on stage, the 2-day camping festival includes open cave jam sessions that any guest can participate in, All-American cookout cuisine from multiple food trucks, a special Sunday gospel brunch set, guided cave tours into the cool of The Caverns cave system, massive fireworks when the sun goes down, campground pickin’, and more.

Big Mouth Bluegrass Festival line-up features Dan Tyminski Band, Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Lonesome River Band, Appalachian Road Show, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, The Grascals, Sister Sadie, The Cleverlys, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, Iron Horse, Missy Raines & Allegheny, Volunteer String Band, a Sunday gospel brunch set, and Blake Williams, the festival’s emcee. Becky Buller, an IBMA award-winner and local favorite, is the festival’s artist-in-residence and will collaborate onstage with artists to create special musical surprises throughout the weekend. All headlining sets take place in The Caverns’ scenic outdoor amphitheater surrounded by the rolling foothills of the Cumberland Plateau with more festival activities taking place in The Caverns world-famous cave venue.

“Big Mouth Bluegrass Festival is a return to the roots of The Caverns, and the festival’s name is a tribute to the historical name of the cave we call home today,” says Todd Mayo, The Caverns owner. “We cannot think of a better way to celebrate Fourth of July weekend than with a festival celebrating some of the greatest things about our country—bluegrass music, hot dogs and apple pie, fireworks, camping, pickin’ circles, and family and friends, new and old.”

With the recent addition of onsite camping, a new outdoor amphitheater stage, onsite food trucks and a permanent concessions building to complement the underground venue, The Caverns has become a destination festival site offering world class festival experiences. Conveniently located south of Nashville and north of Chattanooga in the foothills of Southeast Tennessee, the festival site makes an ideal location for a bluegrass festival.

“All music sounds naturally great inside the cave, but there is something extra special about hearing the ancient tones of fiddles and banjos underground,” says Joe Lurgio, The Caverns general manager. “And when those same instruments ring out and fill the cove above ground, it’s not lost on us, the artists and the fans that this little corner of Grundy County is a magical place to play and listen to this special music.”

Big Mouth Bluegrass Festival will also feature craft & food vendors. Interested vendors can reach out to Amanda Pelham, [email protected], for application information.

All patrons are encouraged to bring their instruments and join pickin’ circles in the campgrounds and inside the cave for pickin’ experiences like no other.

2-day tickets for Big Mouth Bluegrass Festival, which include free camping, start at only $79.50 making this festival an extraordinary value for bluegrass fans. Kids under 5 are free and kids 5-12 are eligible for a 2-day Young Grasser ticket for $40. RV guests can add a $25 daily pass for an RV campsite (hook-ups not available).

The festival will also offer a variety of VIP packages for those looking to upgrade their experience on any budget. VIP experiences start as low as $399 with perks like a premium campsite location, access to a VIP viewing area, access to a VIP lounge tent with delicious local catering, all day complimentary refreshments and snacks, open bar service in the evenings, and much more. For guests looking for a more luxurious experience, The Caverns offers onsite accommodations in its new climate-controlled Yurt Village with the Big Mouth VIP Yurt Package for two for $2,600 which includes access to VIP viewing and the VIP lounge tent, and more. Lastly, guests can opt for the comforts of a local lodge with The Caverns popular Stay & Cave packages for two for $1,080 which provide lodging in nearby Monteagle, shuttle transportation to and from the venue, VIP lounge tent access, merch and more.

All tickets and packages go on sale on Friday, February 3rd at 12p CT at

About the Big Mouth Bluegrass Festival Artists:

  • Dan Tyminski Band – Tyminski’s voice famously accompanies George Clooney’s performance of “I’m A Man of Constant Sorrow” in the film Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. He’s played guitar and mandolin for Alison Krauss and Union Station since 1994, and been honored with 14 Grammy Awards.
  • Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers – Having begun his career in 1963 as a guitarist with the Stanley Brothers, Sparks is among the most widely known and respected touring musicians in bluegrass and gospel music today. He’s released over 60 albums and delighted countless fans with his soulful vocals and unparalleled musicianship.
  • Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper – Widely considered the bluegrass fiddler of his generation, Cleveland has been recognized 12 times as the International Bluegrass Music Association’s “Fiddler of the Year.” In 2018, he was inducted into the National Fiddler’s Hall of Fame. And in 2019, he added a Grammy Award to his mantle.
  • Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out – For over 30 years, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out have been touring and releasing great, original bluegrass music. They’re one of bluegrass music’s most-awarded touring bands with over 50 industry accolades to their credit.
  • Lonesome River Band – Since its formation decades ago, Lonesome River Band, led by 5x IBMA winner and banjo player Sammy Shelor, continues its reputation as one of the most respected names in bluegrass music constantly breaking new ground in acoustic music.
  • Appalachian Road Show – This award-winning acoustic outfit is on a mission to illuminate the history, challenges, and rewards of life in the storied Appalachian region, and to celebrate the spirit of its people who call it home. Their motto is, “Authenticity never goes out of style.”
  • Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen – Multi-Grammy nominated Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen is a torrent of mind-blowing bluegrass. Known for their meaty pile-driving rhythms and Frank’s dynamic and bold vocals, the band’s massive sound and show stealing performances command stages worldwide.
  • The Grascals – These Grammy nominated, 2x IBMA Entertainer of The Year winners are timely yet timeless. The Grascals make bluegrass music that’s entirely relevant to the here and now, yet immersed in traditional values of soul and musicianship.
  • Sister Sadie – As first female band to be awarded IBMA Entertainer of the Year, Sister Sadie has combined the varied talents of each of the individual women in the band to create something that is far more than the sum of its parts. Their uniquely original sound is undeniably classic, hard-driving bluegrass rooted in forceful and tight vocal harmonies.
  • Missy Raines & Allegheny – In 2021, Grammy nominated Raines was named the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Bass Player of the Year, for the 10th time, more than any other bass player in the organization’s history. With her band Allegheny, her music is traditional and hard-driving at its core, but energized with Raines’ well-known penchant for originality and innovation.
  • Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers – Named Entertainers of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2019, for over 15 years Joe and his band have delivered energetic performances for tens of thousands bluegrass fans annually, including for Grand Ole Opry audiences.
  • The Cleverlys – A one-of-a-kind comedy/music blend, the New York Times sums up the band as, “If Earl Scruggs, Dolly Parton, and Spinal Tap spawned a litter of puppies, it would be The Cleverlys.” In concert, these accomplished musicians put their unique bluegrass spin on cover songs from any genre.
  • Iron Horse – A 2x Grammy nominated band, Iron Horse is well renowned for their exceptional skill transposing metal to bluegrass while maintaining the identity of the originals, including songs by Metallica, Ozzy Osborne, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, and Guns ‘n’ Roses.
  • Volunteer String Band – Fronted by powerhouse vocalist Travis Stinson, Volunteer String Band’s energetic and joyful performances find the group covering a wide range of musical turf, from timeless bluegrass standards and originals to raucous covers of Talking Heads, Grateful Dead, or Gnarls Barkley.
  • Becky Buller, Festival Artist-in-Residence – A 10x International Bluegrass Music Association award winner, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter who hails from Manchester, TN, Buller has traveled the globe performing bluegrass music while her original compositions can be heard on records by Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, to name just a few.
  • Blake Williams, Festival Emcee – An accomplished musician and entertainer, Williams’ long history in bluegrass includes playing banjo for Lester Flatt and Bill Monroe. He played bass for Mike Snider on Hee Haw and performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry for over 23 years. All this history combined with his humor make Williams one of the greatest emcees in the business.

About The Caverns
Located in Grundy County, Tennessee, The Caverns is a world-renowned destination known for live music in beautiful natural settings, the Emmy-winning PBS television series The Caverns Sessions, and a magical cave system for different skill levels of exploration. Inside The Caverns subterranean venue, guests to “The Greatest Show Under Earth” revel in the prehistoric venue’s natural acoustics and otherworldly beauty. The outdoor amphitheater sits at the foot of the Cumberland Plateau with the rolling Tennessee hills as a backdrop. Whether underground or above ground, live music at The Caverns is a bucket list experience that keeps fans coming back time and again. On-site camping available after most shows. Daily guided walking tours and adventure cave tours of The Caverns cave system offered 7 days a week.

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