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Yakov Smirnoff will be performing at the 2023 Branson Music Fest.

Audiences will have a special opportunity this month to receive a sampling of what some of Branson’s best shows and entertainers have in store for them this year at the 11th Annual Branson Music Fest. 

Returning once again to the Clay Cooper Theatre in Branson, this showcase of vocal, musical, comedic and dancing talents is hosted by the Branson Travel Planning Association and has been taking place annually since 2013. This year’s festival will be taking place at 2 p.m. daily on Friday and Saturday, April 21 and 22. 

“We have assembled, I believe, one of the best shows that we have done,” Branson Travel Planning Association Chair Toyea Youngblood said. “We have a great sampling of both Branson favorites as well as some new folks that are making their debut seasons here in Branson, and some folks who have been here for a couple of years but have had some significant changes to the format of their  show, so we’ll be giving audiences an opportunity to preview all the great live entertainment that is possible in Branson.”

Starting on Friday, audiences will be able to welcome to the stage the talents of Listen to the Music, The Goldwing Express, Hot Rods & High Heels, Clay Cooper’s Country Express, Yakov Smirnoff, Branson’s Famous Baldknobbers, Matt Gumm & Company, The Ultimate 70’s Show-Dancing Queen, Doug Gabriel, CJ Newsom and New South.

Audiences are then encouraged to return on Saturday as a new round of talent takes the stage including Absolutely Country/Definitely Gospel, Cassandre’ Voice of an Angel, #1 Hits of the 60’s, Back to the BeeGees, Pierce Arrow, Dublin’s Irish Tenors & Celtic Ladies, The Haygoods, Legends In Concert—A Tribute to Willie Nelson, Legends in Concert—A Tribute to Pat Benatar, Elvis Live: Featuring the Blackwoods, On Fire—The Jerry Lee Lewis Story, and the Grand Ladies of Country. 

“Branson Music Fest is the largest springtime musical event that Branson holds. It presents the best sampling of some of the best entertainers coming together in one location, in one sitting to give a performance of a lifetime,” Youngblood said. “How do we do it in such a small amount of time?  Each of the different entertainers and acts that perform will give just a preview of their show, a snippet if you will, by doing about a 10 to 12 minute set so audiences can get a great taste of what that show is in hopes of enticing them to go on and see the full show. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get a great taste of all that Branson has to offer.”

Since its inception in 2013, Youngblood shared how Branson Music Fest has morphed into what it has become today and why the changes have all been positively made.

“It began as See the World in Branson, showing all the international influence in entertainment we had at that point in time when we began the event. With Shoji Tabuchi, Dublin’s Irish Tenors and Celtic Ladies, and Yakov Smirnoff; just a great worldwide influence of talent coming to the Branson stages,” Youngblood said. “Always the highlight has been the show itself, but we had some auxiliary activities going on. You’d often times find us in a tent out in a parking lot of the theater with the entertainers there doing autographs or chili cook-offs or meet & greets or different things.”

As years went on, Youngblood said the organization began to notice how the was slowly becoming more about the show than it was anything else they were doing.

“There always seemed to be rain involved with music fest weekend as well and so the meteorologists appreciated us having our event, because it almost always rained,” Youngblood said. “That’s when we really found that the focus is on the shows and the audiences, their focus was on the show. So it gave us the opportunity to kind of hone in on what the audience was requesting and that was to put forth our efforts into one big show each day for them. From See the World we grew into Branson Music Fest and still sharpening and honing the importance of the stage presentation.”

As the festival has been taking place now for a decade, Youngblood shared they’ve been able to do a lot of good with funds raised from this event, which are used to market Branson as a whole.

“It’s not any one particular theater or venue or show that is getting the proceeds from this. It does go back to the association and in turn the association markets the entire area. We market the theaters, hotels, restaurants and retail venues all within the Branson consortium of opportunities for visitors that would be coming here,” Youngblood said. “The revenues go back to marketing expenses. We are very blessed. We are volunteer driven, so our administrative and overhead costs are minimal and that allows us to utilize all of those dollars raised to spend on helping entice people to come here have a great experience or an experience of a lifetime.”

With around two dozen performers coming together for the two-day event, Youngblood shared it’s important for audiences to know that everyone they see on stage are volunteering their time to be there. 

“I can’t thank them enough. They are doing so much service to our community by coming out and volunteering to be in this show,” Youngblood said. “They have unimaginable costs involved bringing their bands, instruments and transport and extra employee hours just to be a part of this show. It really shows their dedication to our community and to the tourism industry here by their participation in the show. We appreciate our entertainers so very much.”

The Clay Cooper Theatre is located at 3216 W 76 Country Blvd. in Branson. The schedules of the performances are subject to change. 

For additional information or to make ticket reservations call 417-332-2529. Those with groups interested in attending can call 888-222-8910. 

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