Dollywood‘s annual Festival of Nations kicks off the park’s new season with a multi-cultural event featuring world-renowned talent. The celebration takes place March 16-April 9 and lets guests take a trip around the world without leaving the Smokies.
This event marks the beginning of Dollywood’s “Season of Showstoppers” with cultural music, food, and crafts that immerse the entire family in festive fun.
Grammy award winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo have transcended musical barriers to produce awe-inspiring projects with artists such as Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, and even Dolly Parton herself. The group, which sings of peace, love and harmony, is in its sixth decade, and has produced more than 60 albums during its existence. They won their fifth Grammy in January, this time for Best World Music Album. The group gets its name from a combination of Ladysmith, South Africa (the group’s hometown), the color of oxen (one of the strongest farm animals), and the Zulu word for “chopping axe” (a symbol of the group’s vocal strength). Ladysmith Black Mambazo songs have been featured in multiple motion pictures, and the group even traveled to Norway with Nelson Mandela to perform when he received the Nobel Peace Prize. Guests can find this talented group at the Showstreet Palace Theater.
Founded in 1960, the National Dance Company of Siberia (pictured above) has wowed audiences around the globe with colorful and expressive dance, traditional folk music and vivid costumes. This renowned dance company brings their amazing performance to life for guests in a must-see display of talent and passion. High energy, dazzling colors and authentic Siberian customs combine for an astonishing visual masterpiece. The National Dance Company of Siberia is located in the park’s largest theater, DP’s Celebrity Theater.
Los Vivancos is comprised of seven Spanish brothers who traveled the world before studying at the prestigious Barcelona Dance Conservatory. Drawing from their years of study, Los Vivancos have created an eclectic style that combines flamenco, ballet, martial arts, street dance, theater and acrobatics into one thrilling, non-stop performance that truly showcases their charisma and flair. The brothers have served as guest performers on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Their show, The Flamenco Kings featuring Los Vivancos, is located in Pines Theater.
Dollywood’s 2018 Festival of Nations lineup also includes the following shows and acts:
JigJam – This quartet hails from the heart of Ireland and blends the best of traditional Irish music with the unique sound of American bluegrass to create a genre of music affectionately known as “Celtgrass.” The group has been humorously described as “the best Irish group so far in bluegrass.” Thanks to their gregarious personalities and entertaining antics, this show is an upbeat, foot-stomping good time Dollywood guests won’t want to miss. Location: Back Porch Theater
Invaders Steel Orchestra – One of the world’s oldest and most respected steel drum bands, Invaders Steel Orchestra celebrates more than 75 years of creating festive music for audiences around the world. This guest-favorite group returns to Dollywood to bring the tropical sounds of the Caribbean to the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. While the songs they play are familiar, the unique sounds of Invaders Steel Orchestra’s drums will transport guests to a sandy beach far away. Location: The Valley Theater
Atahualpa – Hailing from Ecuador, Atahualpa combines native Incan instruments with contemporary backups to celebrate the history and culture of the Andes Mountains. Atahualpa’s mix of songs includes contemporary music, South American dance rhythms, as well as the traditional music of the Andes. Through their sharing of music, culture and heritage, Atahualpa hopes to promote brotherhood, friendship and peace to all the people of the world. Location: Showstreet Gazebo
Zebra Stelzentheater – Zebra Stelzentheater features German stilt dancers in original costumes who perform while roaming the streets of Dollywood. They are always looking for guest interaction, so be on the lookout for fun. This lively troop is always on the search for new friends! Location: Roaming
Guests also can find food from around the globe at various locations throughout Dollywood. Items include Elote w/Pimente Espelette, Citrus Ancho & Coca-Cola Braised Beef Tostada, Lamb or Chicken Gyros, Crepe Suzette, Pad Thai and much more!
Dollywood’s Festival of Nations sets the stage for a show-stopping 2018 season. The park celebrates the arrival of spring with the all-new Spring Mix Music Series April 11-29. Spring Mix includes performances by artists including The Marshall Tucker Band, Amy Grant, Pam Tillis, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Crystal Gayle and more. Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass (May 25-June 10) includes more than 350 performances by the best in bluegrass, while the park’s Summer Celebration features iLuminate, DRUMLine Live and Dan Dunn’s PaintJam. Extended hours and nightly fireworks shows highlight Dollywood’s summer season, June 16-Aug. 5. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 28-Nov. 3) features Southern gospel’s greatest performers alongside the second year for the guest-favorite Great Pumpkin LumiNights. Dollywood’s 2018 season concludes with the ten-time winner for Best Theme Park Christmas Event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, Nov. 10-Jan. 5, 2019.