Tennessee Fall Homecoming Review
(by Sharon Stewart)

Event Date:
October 8-11, 2015 (Thursday thru Sunday) - 36th annual event

Festival Location:
The Museum of Appalachia, a Smithsonian Affiliate museum  is located in the beautiful East Tennessee Valley 16 miles North of Knoxville, Tennessee in Clinton. [2819 Andersonville Hwy. Clinton, TN  37828]

History of Clinton, TN:
Founded in 1801, the town of Burrville was named in honor of Aaron Burr, first term Vice President under Thomas Jefferson. Land was selected and partitioned for a courthouse, and Burrville was designated as the county seat for the newly formed
Anderson County, Tennessee. Anderson County was partitioned from a portion of Grainger County, Tennessee as well as a portion of Knox County, Tennessee, in 1801; neighboring Roane County, Tennessee, was also formed from a portion of Knox County, Tennessee, in 1801, making Anderson and Roane counties effectively called 'sister counties'.

On November 8, 1809, by act of Tennessee State Legislature, the town of Burrville was renamed because of the disgrace of the Burr-Hamilton duel, which resulted in the death of Alexander Hamilton. The selection of the name
"Clinton" was most likely to honor George Clinton or his nephew, DeWitt Clinton. George Clinton was one of Burr's New York political rivals who, along with Alexander Hamilton, destroyed Burr's bid for the governorship of the state of New York after his single-term Vice Presidency. George Clinton succeeded Burr as the second-term Vice President for Thomas Jefferson in 1805 (and also served as James Madison's Vice President, making Clinton the first Vice President to serve under two presidents and the first Vice President to die in office).

Because of the political position of George Clinton as Vice President at the time of Burrville's name change, compared to DeWitt Clinton's position as the mayor of New York City, most likely the residents of the town of Burrville would have been more readily identifiable and more honorable toward George Clinton than DeWitt; therefore, it is most likely Clinton was named after George Clinton, barring historical proof.

Festival Review:
Celebrating its 36th year, the Tennessee Fall Homecoming was yet another success!  This four day event is one of the nation's largest and most authentic music and folk festivals.  We arrived on Saturday morning to find a parking lot jam packed with cars, the sound of fiddles, banjos, washboards, mandolins and guitars filling the air, the smell of delicious traditional Southern food coming from the numerous vendors located all over the grounds, and farm animals greeting all of the guests!  

All day long the musicians entertained guests on five different rustic outdoor stages filling the air with traditional mountain, folk, Bluegrass, Gospel, old-time and Americana music.  Along with the fabulous music came many demonstrations from pioneer skills, arts & crafts, beautiful handmade quilts, handmade furniture & baskets, license plate birdhouses & country stars, numerous log buildings with wonderful history behind them, and buck dancing and clogging done by young and old.  One of my favorite things was watching the sheep dogs, Kelso and Duncan herd the sheep behind the railed fences (see pictures on next page.)

Because The Stewart Family (Billy’s uncle & cousins) perform there every year, we were able to get backstage passes to the ‘famous music room.’  In the pictures following this review, you can see some of the different people who have had the privilege to step into that room (even Oprah!) Not only do you experience the unbelievable talent of some of the musicians, but you can view the ‘wall of pictures’ of some of those that have been in that room . . . what history!  There is a huge wall-sized fireplace in there, along with areas for the musicians to gather and jam, tables & chairs upstairs for those to sit at and sip on hot coffee, and an entrance that leads to the main outdoor stage where pioneers of music have performed such as, Redd Stewart (Pee Wee King’s Golden West Cowboy and co-writer of ‘Tennessee Waltz’), Mac Wiseman, Grandpa Jones, Bashful Brother Oswald, Roy Acuff, Ricky Skaggs, Raymond Fairchild (five-time world champion banjo player), Marty Stuart, Earl Scruggs, The Del McCoury Band, Doyle Lawson, The Gibson Brothers, Leroy Troy and many others.

Some of the delicious foods that were offered: homemade ice cream, pumpkin, peach, blackberry, cherry & apple cobblers actually cooked in cast iron skillets over coals, fried pies, fried moon pies, fried oreos, fresh fruit, bbq pork, roasted corn on the cob, spiral spuds, frozen lemonade and bbq chicken.  There are picnic tables and benches everywhere to sit, and plenty of variety.  

If you are looking for an annual event to go to, this is the one!  Friendly people, great music, great food and hours of enjoyment learning about Appalachia history- the story behind the story of Country Music.  There is so much to see here that when you do come to visit, you must give yourself 2-3 days to take it all in!   Festival Pictures & Videos on Next Page


©2015 MusicFestReviews.com-Louisville, KY