A Crazy Big Weekend in the City

Robinella and Cruz, Rhythm and Blooms, 2011

There is so much happening downtown this weekend that I’m not sure where to start either writing about it or choosing what I’ll attend. It is completely too much for one person to cover. Maybe some of my readers would like to try their hand at a blog post next week about some part of it that I missed? Maybe submit your best photos? I’ll do my best, but it’s a job for a village, for certain.

The biggest buzz of the weekend, of course, is that the Rhythm and Blooms Festival is finally here. There are a few big names, as usual, but many excellent musicians with whom you may be a bit less familiar. It’s always fun to discover a new favorite at an event like this one.

Some of the artists I really enjoy who are included in this year’s edition include Darrell Scott, The Boxer Rebellion Tony Furtado and Kevin Abernathy – and that’s just Friday. The highlight Saturday will feature Mike Farris, Citizen Cope and the Black Lillies at the Tennessee Theater.

Various venues sprinkled all over downtown will host the performances Friday and Saturday, with Sunday’s show moving out of the center city to the Knoxville Botanical Gardens where you will find headliner Amos Lee (another favorite) and a host of other fine performers. Tickets are available at Pilot Stores or at Morelock Music on Gay Street. A one day pass is $25 and a weekend pass is $60.

Langhorne Slim

You will also find free music Friday night at the Market Square Stage. I was able to hear opener Langhorne Slim last night at Scruffy City Roots and he is an excellent vocalist and songwriter. His set will be followed by a show by Big Sam’s Funky Nation from New Orleans.

The East Tennessee History Center is hosting a Music Village from 10:00 Am to 4:00 PM which will include luthiers, music workshops and “related crafts and accessories and a small regional music history exhibit.”

The World’s Fair Park will be the site for the first edition of the Earthbeats Festival celebrating Earth Day with great local music including Jodie Manross, Theorizt and Hudson K.


Want something besides music? Got you covered: The annual Chalk Walk is set for Saturday(8 -5) on Market Square with a rain date of Sunday. This great event features artists from Knoxville and much farther afield competing for the best drawing in chalk on Market Square or Krutch Park. There are competitions for various age groups and a host of children making their art for the sake of the art. Some of the works are quite impressive as you can see from last year’s post. You can watch an awesome video, by my friend George Scott, of last year’s Chalk Walk at the bottom of this post.

Poetry also gets some play this weekend with a very special lady and one my all-time favorite poets, Nikki Giovanni. A Knoxville native and current professor at Virginia Tech University, Ms. Giovanni is an internationally acclaimed poet who was hailed by Opry Winfrey as one of her “twenty-five living legends.” She will read from her works at Union Avenue Books at 1:30 and 3:30 and on the Market Square Stage at 2:30.

So what in the world could you possibly add to that mix? We’ve covered it all, right? Well, what if we mixed in a little preview of the Market Square Farmers’ Market this weekend? Consider it done. It runs from 9:00 to 2:00 on Saturday, presumably mixed in and around the chalk drawings which will be springing up in the area. While the official opening of the Farmers’ Market is May 2, it appears some of the farmers will make  an early appearance with some of those great vegetables delivered just a little early by this year’s warm early spring.

Pianos on the Street, 2011


I almost forgot: The street pianos will be back, so you can play your best jams for passersby and have your fifteen minutes of fame. Are you tired already? Start mapping out your strategy and I’ll see you on the street. And don’t forget to watch the great video below.