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10 Vibrant Festivals/Events To Attend In Johnson City, Tennessee


by Emera Nowak


Johnson City, Tennessee, is a vibrant and culturally rich city that hosts a variety of exciting festivals and events throughout the year. From music and arts to food and heritage, there's something for everyone to enjoy in this lively community. Whether you're a local resident or a visitor, immersing yourself in the festivities is a fantastic way to experience the heart and soul of Johnson City. In this article, we'll explore 10 vibrant festivals and events that showcase the diverse and dynamic spirit of this charming city. Get ready to discover the best of Johnson City's cultural tapestry as we delve into the colorful and lively celebrations that make this city truly special.

Blue Plum Festival

The Blue Plum Festival, a beloved annual event in Johnson City, Tennessee, celebrates the city's rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene. This lively festival features an eclectic mix of live music performances, arts and crafts vendors, delicious food trucks, and engaging activities for all ages. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local arts community, explore unique handmade crafts, and savor mouthwatering regional cuisine. The festival's highlight is the diverse lineup of musical acts, showcasing genres ranging from bluegrass and folk to rock and blues. With its lively atmosphere and diverse offerings, the Blue Plum Festival is a must-visit for anyone seeking a memorable cultural experience in Johnson City.

Little Chicago Festival

The Little Chicago Festival pays homage to Johnson City's intriguing nickname, "Little Chicago," and commemorates the city's colorful history with a captivating blend of music, food, and entertainment. This event draws inspiration from the Prohibition era, infusing the festival with a delightful vintage charm. Attendees can revel in the sounds of live jazz and blues music while savoring delectable dishes from local food vendors. The festival's engaging activities, such as swing dance lessons and classic car displays, transport visitors back in time to the roaring 1920s. With its nostalgic ambiance and diverse entertainment, the Little Chicago Festival offers a unique and immersive experience for festival-goers of all ages.

Umoja Festival

The Umoja Festival, meaning "unity" in Swahili, is a vibrant celebration of African American culture, heritage, and community in Johnson City. This dynamic event features an array of captivating performances, including traditional African drumming, soulful gospel music, and energetic dance showcases. Festival attendees can also indulge in a delectable selection of authentic African and Southern cuisine, offering a delightful culinary journey. The Umoja Festival serves as a platform for local artisans and vendors to showcase their crafts, from intricate beadwork to vibrant textiles, adding a colorful tapestry of creativity to the festivities. With its emphasis on unity and cultural pride, the Umoja Festival is a joyous and enriching experience for all who attend.

Bluegrass, Barbecue & Brew Festival

The Bluegrass, Barbecue & Brew Festival is a harmonious convergence of three beloved Southern traditions, offering a delightful fusion of lively bluegrass music, mouthwatering barbecue delights, and a diverse selection of craft beers. This festival showcases talented bluegrass musicians from across the region, creating an uplifting and toe-tapping atmosphere for attendees. Festival-goers can indulge in a delectable array of barbecue styles, from tangy pulled pork to savory smoked ribs, complemented by an impressive selection of craft beers from local and regional breweries. The festival's lively ambiance, coupled with the irresistible aroma of barbecue and the soul-stirring sounds of bluegrass music, makes it a quintessential Southern experience for visitors and locals alike.

Covered Bridge Celebration

The Covered Bridge Celebration is a cherished annual event that pays homage to the rich history and scenic beauty of covered bridges in the Johnson City area. This family-friendly festival offers a delightful blend of educational exhibits, arts and crafts vendors, and engaging activities centered around the region's iconic covered bridges. Attendees can partake in guided tours of these historic structures, gaining insight into their architectural significance and cultural impact. The festival also features live music performances, local artisan showcases, and delectable food offerings, creating a festive atmosphere that celebrates the community's heritage. With its focus on local history and picturesque landscapes, the Covered Bridge Celebration provides a captivating experience for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar's New Year's Eve Bash

The Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar's New Year's Eve Bash is a high-energy, music-filled extravaganza that marks the arrival of the new year in grand style. This lively event invites revelers to immerse themselves in an unforgettable evening of live music, interactive entertainment, and jubilant celebrations. The highlight of the evening is the exhilarating dueling piano performances, where talented musicians engage the audience with an eclectic repertoire of songs, taking song requests and fostering a spirited sing-along atmosphere. Attendees can savor delectable culinary offerings and partake in festive libations as they countdown to midnight amidst a vibrant and dynamic ambiance. With its infectious energy and festive spirit, the Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar's New Year's Eve Bash is a thrilling way to welcome the new year in Johnson City.

Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza

The Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza is a paradise for beer enthusiasts, offering an extensive showcase of craft beers, ciders, and meads from a diverse array of local, regional, and national breweries. This vibrant festival provides a platform for beer aficionados to sample a wide spectrum of unique and innovative brews, engage with brewmasters, and gain insight into the artistry of craft brewing. Attendees can immerse themselves in the world of beer with educational seminars, live music performances, and delectable food pairings that complement the diverse beer offerings. The festival's convivial atmosphere and emphasis on craft beer culture make it a must-visit for those seeking a flavorful and immersive beer-centric experience in Johnson City.

Blue Plum Art & Music Festival

The Blue Plum Art & Music Festival is a dynamic celebration of creativity, showcasing a diverse array of visual arts, live music performances, and interactive artistic experiences. This vibrant event serves as a platform for local and regional artists to exhibit their works, ranging from paintings and sculptures to mixed media and artisan crafts. Festival-goers can explore the artistic offerings, engage in hands-on workshops, and witness captivating live mural paintings, fostering a sense of artistic inspiration and community engagement. The festival's musical lineup features an eclectic mix of genres, providing a melodic backdrop to the colorful tapestry of artistic expression. With its emphasis on creativity and cultural enrichment, the Blue Plum Art & Music Festival offers a captivating and immersive experience for art enthusiasts and music lovers.

Bluegrass & Sorghum Making Festival

The Bluegrass & Sorghum Making Festival is a delightful homage to Appalachian traditions, combining the soul-stirring sounds of bluegrass music with the time-honored art of sorghum making. This festival invites attendees to witness the intricate process of sorghum production, from pressing the cane to boiling the sweet syrup, offering a fascinating glimpse into a cherished Southern craft. Festival-goers can tap their feet to the lively rhythms of bluegrass bands while savoring the aroma of freshly made sorghum and indulging in delectable Southern fare. The festival also features demonstrations of traditional Appalachian crafts, storytelling sessions, and engaging activities for the whole family, creating a nostalgic and enriching experience that celebrates the region's cultural heritage.

International Storytelling Festival

The International Storytelling Festival is a world-renowned event that draws storytellers and enthusiasts from across the globe to revel in the magic of oral traditions and narrative artistry. This captivating festival showcases a diverse lineup of master storytellers, each weaving spellbinding tales that captivate audiences of all ages. Attendees can immerse themselves in a rich tapestry of stories, ranging from folktales and myths to personal narratives, transcending cultural boundaries and fostering a deep appreciation for the power of storytelling. The festival's enchanting ambiance, coupled with engaging workshops and interactive storytelling sessions, creates an atmosphere of communal celebration and shared human experiences. With its emphasis on the timeless art of storytelling, the International Storytelling Festival offers a captivating and enriching experience for those who cherish the spoken word and the magic of storytelling.


Johnson City, Tennessee, is a vibrant destination brimming with exciting festivals and events that showcase the rich cultural tapestry of the region. From the exhilarating Blue Plum Festival to the enchanting Little Chicago Festival, there's something for everyone to enjoy throughout the year. These events not only celebrate the local heritage but also provide an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the lively spirit of the community. Whether you're a music enthusiast, a foodie, or a history buff, Johnson City's diverse array of festivals and events promises unforgettable experiences and cherished memories for all who attend.


Q: When is the Blue Plum Festival held?
A: The Blue Plum Festival is typically held in June, attracting locals and visitors with its live music, arts and crafts, food vendors, and family-friendly activities.

Q: What can visitors expect at the Little Chicago Festival?
A: The Little Chicago Festival offers a captivating blend of live music, delicious food, artisan vendors, and a vintage car show, creating a lively and nostalgic atmosphere reminiscent of the city's past.