Cumberland Caverns Brings Bluegrass Underground

Jessica Lea Mayfield performs with under the earth in the Volcano Room of Cumberland Caverns.
Photos by Chris Donahue

Tennessee’s largest show cave hosts live music in an underground natural amphitheater. About a one-hour drive from Murfreesboro, one can find Cumberland Caverns near McMinnville, just off Highway 8, where bluegrass greats Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Cadillac Sky and Cherryholmes have all performed—in a big cave.

David Jacobs-Strain playin' some slide blues

In addition to cave tours and spelunking adventures, Cumberland Caverns is using its Volcano Room as a venue for live bluegrass music, hosting world-famous bluegrass acts in the Bluegrass Underground concert series. The series has been aired on the famous 650 WSM-AM radio station since 2008, and this year marks the inaugural video production recordings for distribution on public television.

An enormous glowing chandelier hangs overhead in the Volcano Room that sits 333 feet below the Earth’s surface, remaining a constant 56 degree temperature year-round. There’s no cell phone signal, and no sound from outside can reach the natural underground amphitheater, setting a mood for music that is unique to this venue.

Mayfield with Richie Kirkpatrick, know to Murfreesboro rock fans as the frontman of Ghostfinger

Lately, more acts that aren’t necessarily bluegrass, such as Jessica Lea Mayfield, have been performing in the one-of-a-kind venue.

Upcoming performances include the Lonesome River Band with Donna Ulisse at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, and Blue Highway with Rockin’ Acoustic Circus at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27.

Click here for a chance to win tickets to Bluegrass Underground.

For all information on Bluegrass Underground, visit bluegrassunderground.com.

Visitors to the cave sift through dirt for a chance to uncover some treasures


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