Two major events share the spotlight downtown this weekend: Metrofest on Friday night and the Lantern and Carriage Tour at Old Gray Cemetery on Sunday. Of course, the Market Square Farmers’ Market continues on Saturday and the normal city shenanigans are always hopping on a Saturday night, but let’s take a closer look at what to expect from these two marque events.
Metrofest celebrates the 21st birthday of Metropulse and includes many local artists in a wide range of downtown venues. Ten dollars buys you a wrist band that gets you into all the venues and shows. The money collected goes to support the Joy of Music School of Knoxville. You’ll find a complete schedule here, but I’ll highlight some of my favorites.
90 Proof at 106 S. Central hosts a full lineup that includes Kevin Abernathy. No doubt the show will feature cuts from his new album which has gotten amazing reviews. Wayne Bledsoe of the Knoxville News Sentinel made this very strong statement, “Some Stories” is one of the best albums to ever come out of Knoxville and one of the best albums you’ll hear this year, period.” He’s great acoustic and electric and you’ll likely hear both. He’s on stage from 7:30 to 8:45.
If a folkier sound is your forte, you’ll probably enjoy the music at Boyd’s Jig and Reel which features Kelsey’s Woods, Kukuly and the Gypsy Fuego and Four Leaf Peat. The Knoxville Visitor’s Center (home of WDVX) will feature a killer lineup including Jodie Manross, the Lonetones and Jack Rentfro and the Apocalypso Quartet. The music runs from about 7:00 – 10:00.
Simply parking it at the Square Room is another option. The line-up there is also impeccable. Starting at 7:00 you get indie rock with Hudson K followed by blues rock with the Tim Lee 3, Smokin’ Dave and a wizard-rap finally with Lil’Iffy. Not a weak link among them.
If you are worried about hoofing it from one show to the other, have no fear, Metropulse and the city have your back with a special trolley route circling constantly from the Old City to the Bistro at the Bijou and back again. But you have to make a plan before you get started: you can’t see it all. I’d suggest planting it in the venue that looks the most promising. For myself, I’ve seen so many of these bands so many times that I’m going to forego my favorites to hear some bands I’ve heard of but never actually heard. For that reason, I’ll likely be found at Pilot Light for O Youth (indie rock), Cool Runnings (electronic) and Yung Life (new wave). One advantage there is the music doesn’t start until 9:00, giving me a chance to hit some of the early shows elsewhere.
Spend Saturday easing around the city or holed up watching college football as you recover from Friday night, because Sunday you’ll want to be at Old Gray Cemetery at 4:00. Carriage rides, lantern tours, music, reenactors, artists, food and general merriment in Knoxville’s Oldest Planned cemetery. I’ve spotlighted the cemetery in the past and I find it an absolutely fascinating place, but I’ve always intended to attend the annual Lantern and Carriage Tour, but I’ve always missed it. I plan to remedy that this year, and I’d encourage you to do the same. Cost is $15.00 and that seems pretty modest for everything offered.