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Newport hosts first ever Routes [roots] to the River Music & Cultural Arts Festival located behind City Hall in downtown Newport, TN from 12 pm - 10 pm on May 4th, 2024. 

Come join us for the first ever FREE Routes to the River Music and Cultural Arts Festival to celebrate our East Tennessee cultural roots and heritage. We have a great lineup for you and your family to enjoy:

  • Cruz Contreras–The frontman, founder, and driving force behind The Black Lillies’ raw and rootsy sound also co-founded Robinella and the CCstringband.

  • Robinella–playing original Americana and cover tunes with a driving beat. 

  • Kukuly & the Fuego–blending Latino, Brazilian, Spanish, and French swing music

  • AniKituhwa–Cherokee dancers, drummers, and storytellers

  • Boogertown Gap –Old-Time String Band, Appalachian music, and storytellers

  • Todd Wright–hammered dulcimer and multi-instrumentalist and master of old time traditional music

  • Lew Bolton–Award-winning story-teller and author of “Wiley Oakley Man of the Mountains”


Additionally, local artists will craft and sell their wares while demonstrators from around the region will display such art as Native American crocheted dolls, gourd art, moonshine still building, and much more. Bring a chair and enjoy cuisine from Nikki’s Fry Bread, Gill’s BBQ, Baz Bakery and Deli, as well as some local restaurants in downtown Newport all within walking distance. This is a FREE family-friendly event.


The Routes to the River Music and Cultural Arts Festival will be as diverse and dynamic as the Appalachian and Cherokee people have always been. The festival will offer a fantastic melding of musical and historical arts infused and revitalized with new ideas and knowledge. Explore the heritage that you may have forgotten and art that celebrates where we are now and where we are going in the future at this unique event.


Partnering with:

City of Newport 

Cocke County Parks and Recreation

Sponsored by: 

Tennessee Arts Commission

Thriving Artist Co-op

Clean Water Expected in East Tennessee (CWEET)

Ole Smoky Distillery

Duncan and Greer Center

Foust Signs and Designs

Logic Marketing/Brainchild

Volunteer Tents and Events


Food City         

Baz Bakery & Deli

Projexx House

Keep Cocke Co. Beautiful


Deann Hines  & Various Book Donations

Newport Printing

Whispers of the Smoky Mountains

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