Each April, Bluegrass Underground hosts three days of concerts 333 feet below the surface of the earth in Cumberland Caverns. The latest installation took place April 1-3, 2016 and I had the pleasure of attending all three days. Now in it’s sixth season, the event is filmed for television and will be aired sometime this coming fall. The shows take place in front of a live studio audience, which is part of the fun. Each day four bands play for roughly 45 minutes apiece, with about 15 minutes of transition time in between bands. The production involves a remarkable level of coordination between the crew which you witness before your eyes, ultimately producing the very polished television program that you see on PBS.
In my opinion, the 3 day event is a bucket list event for any music lover. It’s a destination concert unlike any other. It’s only hour drive from Chattanooga and 1.5 from Nashville. The biggest challenge is simply getting your hands on tickets and each year demands seem to grow. Your best bet is to subscribe to the Bluegrass Underground Facebook Page for updates and be ready to pounce when tickets become available on the Bluegrass Underground Webpage, sometime around the Christmas Holidays. I can’t think of a better stocking stuffer. Camping and cabins are available at nearby Fall Creek Falls State Park, home to Tennessee’s tallest waterfall and a great place to take a hike before the concert.
Tickets to the event are offered in three levels: VIP, Bucket List and General Admission. Prices start around $80 per person per day, depending on which package you get. Each year there seems to be a day in particular which sells out instantly, this year it happened to be the Sunday of the event featuring St. Paul and the Broken Bones, JJ Grey and Mofro, The Lone Bellows, and The Suffers. Clearly this was a pretty stacked lineup, however each day was special in its own right. Even though the event is billed as “Bluegrass Underground,” less than 50% of the acts would likely fall into the category of bluegrass, yet no one seems to mind.
If you can’t wait until next spring for Season 7 of Bluegrass Underground, then you can get your fill by attending one of their monthly concerts, which are not filmed for TV but are still incredible fun. You can view their upcoming monthly concert schedule here. Watch highlights from Bluegrass Underground Season 5 here.
See you in the cave!