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Everything To Know About Tennessee Songwriters Week

Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, The Oak Ridge Boys. All of these music superstars got their start in the Smoky Mountains! So, who’s next in line? Chances are we’ll see tomorrow’s stars today at Tennessee Songwriters Week! This yearly celebration of music across the state culminates in a showcase of some of the best live performers you’ll find in Tennessee! Tennessee Songwriters Week supports music venues and songwriters, drives visitation and tells stories unique to the history and way of life in the Smoky Mountains. Here’s everything to know about Tennessee Songwriter’s Week:

About Tennessee Songwriters Week

banjo player

Established in 2019 to highlight and support the local music scene across the state, Tennessee Songwriters Week brings together some of the top talent from each of the four corners of the state! This annual music competition will feature 7 pre-determined showcase events, with the winner of each moving on to a final in front of music industry professionals.

In fact, Tennessee Songwriters Week is a state law! That’s right! In 2019, a state statute passed that recognized the final week of February as Tennessee Songwriters Week each year.

Contestants will participate in in-person qualifying rounds January 29 through February 11. Select songwriters from the qualifying rounds will then advance to 7 pre-determined showcase events across the state from February 19-25.

Local judges will assess musical performances with a focus on lyric originality, performance and connection to the audience. The event is run by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, who partners with The Bluebird Cafe, NSAI, Taylor Guitars, music venues and local convention and visitors’ bureaus, chambers and partners across the state.

Each of the 7 finalists will receive a branded commemorative Taylor guitar, a 2-night hotel stay in Nashville, a $100 gift card for travel and a 1-year membership to Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI)!

The Showcases


During the first 2 weeks of February, more than 50 music venues across the state will host qualifying rounds for the competition. The 7 showcase events a part of Tennessee Songwriters Week are as follows:

Monday, Feb. 20, 2023 – The Bijou in Knoxville
Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023 – Songbirds Foundation in Chattanooga
Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023 – Lafayette’s Music Room in Memphis
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023 – Ole Red in Gatlinburg
Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023 – The Franklin Theatre in Franklin
Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023 – The Down Home in Johnson City
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023 – The Palace Theatre in Gallatin

The competition’s final, featuring each of the 7 winners from each showcase, will take place at Nashville’s historic Bluebird Cafe in March.

Qualifying Rounds

Qualifying rounds will be held at several different locations in the Smoky Mountains. Ole Smoky at The Island in Pigeon Forge, The Casual Pint in Pigeon Forge, Ober Mountain in Gatlinburg and The Pines in Sevierville will host qualifying rounds. Ole Red in Gatlinburg will be the location of 1 of the 7 showcases.

Gatlinburg Songwriter’s Festival

sign for ole red gatlinburg

Gatlinburg loves music! Another great Smoky Mountain music event that folks have come to love is the Gatlinburg Songwriter’s Festival! This 3-day musical event and conference takes place in and around the Smoky Mountains each August!

Enjoy nightly performances from “#1 Hit Songwriters” in cozy and intimate settings throughout the Smoky Mountains! Songwriters come together to enjoy sharing stories, working to perfect their craft, get advice and meet and write with industry leaders.

Whether you want to compete or just spectate, we hope you’re excited for Tennessee Songwriters Week! While you’re in town, make sure to check out some spectacular live music in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge!