Planning for the Weekend and Beyond

Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project, Women in Jazz Jam Festival, Scruffy City Hall, Knoxville, March 2016
R.B. Morris and Band, Bijou Theatre, August 2020

It’s the weekend! Here’s a way to celebrate: Check out the beginning of the Sites and Sounds from Big Ears series starting tonight. The series will take you to some of the best sites Knoxville has to offer, as well as highlighting excellent local music or music from further afield. Tonights site is the beautiful Bijou Theatre and the artist is R.B. Morris.

The show hits at 8:00 pm tonight, with streaming available for 72 hours after the original broadcast. Tickets are $12 and you can buy them here. It’s a great way to add some fun to your weekend, support a local artist, a local festival and one of our precious theatres. We all want the future to include live shows in our favorite venues but, for now, this is a way to enjoy great music and to keep the flame alive for the venues, festivals and artists we love. More artists and sites will be announced soon.

Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project, Women in Jazz Jam Festival, Scruffy City Hall, Knoxville, March 2016

Another great series is set to start in our other beautiful and beloved historic downtown theatre, The Tennessee. This week the Ghostlight Series was announced with the goal of “spotlighting local artists by streaming concerts from the Tennessee Theatre stage.”

From the release:

“The ghost light is a longstanding tradition designed to keep a theatre lit when it otherwise would
be completely dark,” Tennessee Theatre Executive Director Becky Hancock said. “Though the
Tennessee Theatre currently is closed, or at extended intermission as we like to say, we aim to
continue to celebrate music, arts and entertainment. We want to bring that light into your homes
even when we can’t gather together in the theatre. The Ghostlight Series will shine a light on
Knoxville’s own outstanding artists and allow the theatre to continue to bring ‘live’ music to our

Count This Penny, Modern Studio, Knoxville, February 2017

Using a different model, this series will stream via Facebook live on Tuesdays starting at 8:00 pm on the Tennessee Theatre Facebook Page. The shows are free, but donations are accepted. The artists will play with their backs to the auditorium so the viewing audience will have the backdrop of Knoxville’s showcase theatre. Some of my favorite local artists have signed on. Here’s the lineup:

September 1: Kelle Jolly and Will Boyd
September 8: Count This Penny
September 15: Frog and Toad’s Dixie Quartet with Brent Thompson
September 22: Guy Marshall

Guy Marshall, Barley’s, Rhythm n Blooms, Knoxville, April 2016

The series offers an opportunity to support local artists. Donations can be made online at the Tennessee Theatre website and all money raised will be shared by the featured performers. Theatre Director Becky Hancock, in announcing the series said, “While the theatre remains closed to the public due to coronavirus concerns and suspension of touring acts, we hope this series brings light and joy to the community and showcases the musical talent in our own backyard,” Hancock said. “Thank you for supporting the Tennessee Theatre. We cannot wait to welcome you here once again to enjoy live performances. Until then, we promise to keep the ghost light burning.”

The Lost Tavern, 20 Market Square, June 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Bill Foster)

Speaking of venues which many of us enjoy, the West family has developed a schedule for re-opening their Market Square businesses. They have developed a plan that starts with re-opening Tommy Trent’s and The Lost Tavern. They are starting with the restaurants because they have larger patios for more outdoor seating and they will be able to more properly space patrons. They will also utilize the new shared dining space in the middle of Market Square.

Tommy Trent’s Sports Bar, 36 Market Square, Knoxville, September 2018

Tommy Trent’s will open September 3 and will be open Thursdays and Fridays starting at 5:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday starting at noon. The Wests will also begin scheduling private events for fewer than 50 people at this time in one of their numerous outdoor spaces (email Two weeks later, September 17, The Lost Tavern will open, with the same hours, except opening at 11:00 am on Saturday and Sunday.

During this time, Scott West says, “We will evaluate everything to determine how to proceed or not regarding a phased reopening of the Mighty Mighty Preservation Pub, Scruffy City Hall and Bernadette’s Crystal Gardens. If everything goes well with re-opening of Tommy‘s and The Lost Tavern, we hope to have everything safely reopened soon. Of course, myriad safety protocols will be in place: masks required, employees washing their hands and cleaning surfaces obsessively, plenty of hand sanitizers available, tables arrangements for proper social distancing etc.”