Dollywood announced a new one-off series of concerts that will be included with park admission this spring. Celebrating founder Dolly Parton’s achievements as a prolific, critically acclaimed songwriter, the I Will Always Love You Celebration will be held March 11 – April 8. She marks the 50thth Anniversary that Parton wrote and recorded her beloved song “I Will Always Love You”.
Although Parton originally wrote “I Will Always Love You” to express how she felt when she left her mentor and co-singer Porter Wagoner to pursue her own business, today it is best known as a universal love song. Whitney Houston famously performed it The bodyguard soundtrack, and it touched millions of hearts. It just shows the powerful impact a single song can have in the world. This festival aims to celebrate the power of songwriting and storytelling.
The month-long musical commemoration will provide a strong start to Dollywood’s 2023 operating season. A special cast of well-known singers and songwriters perform at the aptly named Celebrity Theater in Dollywood every Saturday during the I Will Always Love You Celebration.
Dollywood’s star-studded concert series includes performers such as Jo Dee Messina, Natalie Grant, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Lauren Alaina and Larry, Steve & Rudy: The Gatlin Brothers. No additional fees or concert tickets are required. All shows are included in the theme park entrance fee.
Ricky Skaggs, who will perform on March 18, was inspired to perform because he admires Parton. He said: “As a songwriter, I don’t know if Dolly’s equal! She has written many songs that have sold millions of copies, but she has never forgotten her mountain roots, family, or relationship with Jesus Christ. She is definitely one of a kind.”
“I always look forward to performing in Dollywood. There’s always a lot of really great people around to hear our music in the perfect place to play it, the mountains of East Tennessee,” added Skaggs. “This 50th anniversary of ‘I Will Always Love You’ must be a very sweet thing for Dolly. I am so excited to be part of the celebration with my band, the Kentucky Thunder, as we play music that Dolly really loves: bluegrass music.”
Natalie Grant, who will be performing on March 11, remarked: “I’m very honored to be a part of this and obviously it will be a thrill to perform in Dollywood. Dolly is one of the greatest songwriters of all time, but she’s also just one of the greatest people. She is a model of generosity and an inspiration to all of us on how to live with open hands.”
As part of the I Will Always Love You celebration, guests are invited to hear the stories behind some of the most successful songs at the Showstreet Songwriting Showcase. Several showcases take place daily during the festival. Participating songwriters include Billy Montana, Dana Black and Steve Dean.
Dolly Parton isn’t exactly known for subtlety, and neither is her theme park. The decor will enchant guests at every turn. Subject areas will have different displays. On the show street, a canopy of pink sequins will glitter over the guests’ heads. Dollywood also serves special food to celebrate the celebrations.
The I Will Always Love You Celebration is only planned for the 2023 season and is intended to be a one-time event. Visit Dollywood.com to purchase tickets and find out more information about the concert series.