Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/tdtmaryville/blountblogs.com/wpmu-settings.php on line 45
Festivals at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

A cross between Rolling Stone, Soldier of Fortune and the Oxford American

Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Knoxville Film & Music Festival organizers announce schedule, lineup

without comments

UntitledThey’re having a big shindig tonight to announce the schedule and lineup for the 2014 Knoxville Film & Music Festival, and while we love getting the scoop, we certainly want to encourage you to attend — not just tonight’s event at Scruffy City Hall, the newest venue by Knoxville visionaries Scott and Bernadette West (and the official home of the KF&MF), but all of the upcoming festival events, screenings and concerts.

Here’s the official schedule:

  • Thursday June 5: Market Squaroo festival kickoff featuring six bands hosted by the group Tree Tops and Knoxville Music Warehouse (Copper Into Steel, Roots of a Rebellion, Maps Need Reading, The Jojax, Lines Taking Shape, Kink Ador and Masseuse) at Scruffy City Hall and Preservation Pub
  • Friday, June 6: Talent Trek presents the K24HFF Five Year Celebration at Scruffy City Hall (”Join us as we show our favorite 24 Hour films of the past five years and kick off the music with our headlining band, Unknown Hinson,” according to the press release.)
  • Saturday, June 7: Band Eat Band Finals in Scruffy City Hall (”See the best East Tennessee bands fighting it out for their chance to win $3,000 worth of prizes — followed by a HUGE party at Scruffy City Hall.”)
  • Sunday, June 8: Tennessee Film & Music Celebration at Scruffy City Hall (”An all-day film and music event featuring a mixer for Tennessee musicians and filmmakers, live music, and our Tennessee film screenings with a $500 prize for the Best Tennessee Film”) featuring the Brad Walker Orchestra and a special command screening of “Voyage” by Knoxville filmmaker Alex Oliver.
  • Monday, June 9: Workshop (An Introduction to Feature Filmmaking)
  • Tuesday, June 10: Singer-Songwriter Finals at Scruff City Hall on Market Square (”This competition with a $2,000 prize has been going on for over 10 years and has launched the careers of many great Knoxville musicians.”)
  • June 11-13, Film Screenings at Scruffy City Hall — “Fantastic films from around the world. Our screenings focus on music docs, shorts, music videos, documentaries, and animation. The ‘Best Film of the Fest’ this year will take home $1,000! Enjoy the films with a nice cold mug of our exclusive festival beer, Beer Murray. We will feature film inspired beer and food pairings, great films, and presentations by filmmakers from around the country.”
  • Saturday, June 14: The 5th Annual Knoxville 24 Hour Film Festival (”Red Carpet Gala at 6 p.m. followed by screenings at 7 p.m. and our famous Wrap Party at 10:30 p.m.”)

According to the press release, “This is the second year for the Knoxville Film & Music Festival and the fifth year for the Knoxville 24 Hour Film Festival, events that drew 5,400 people to downtown Knoxville last year. The festival is truly Knoxville’s ‘indie’ film and music event of the year.”

“What we have created is the Knoxville equivalent of ‘American Idol’ for local filmmakers and musicians,” reads a statement by Festival Director Michael Samstag. “While we draw film submissions from all over the United States and from many other countries, we really love celebrating the work of East TN filmmakers and musicians.”

As it has grown, the Knoxville Film & Music Festival has been able to attract well-known film industry executives to East Tennessee. This year’s judges include:

  • Frank Agnone, executive producer of “South Park”
  • Lela Meadow-Conner, executive director, Tallgrass Film Festival
  • David Dwyer, actor, “The Blind Side”
  • Joel Trussell, Disney animator

In addition to local films, several national films will premier at the 2014 Knoxville Film & Music Festival. Those films include:

  • “Papaya: Make Some Noise” (world premiere)
  • “Led Zeppelin Played Here”
  • “Amanda F–ing Palmer on the Rocks” (Tennessee premiere)
  • “Obey the Artist” (Tennessee premiere)
  • “Satellite” (starring Luke Wilson; Tennessee premiere)
  • “Anything Made of Paper” (Tennessee premiere)
  • “Blackout on Swan Pond” (Movie about the Kingston ash spill)

Tickets for the year’s Knoxville Film & Music Festival are available as full festival passes ($50), VIP festival passes ($100) and ultra-VIP festival passes ($250, includes a limo ride to the Red Carpet Gala). Single-event tickets are also available.

All Knoxville Film & Music Festival details and tickets are available on the festival’s website.

Waynestock: This year’s cause is a personal one, so you should go.

without comments


“Have you ever seen a scarecrow filled with nothing but dust and weeds, if you’ve ever seen that scarecrow then you’ve seen me … have you ever seen a one-armed man punching at nothing but the breeze, if you’ve ever seen that one-armed man then you’ve seen me …” — Bruce Springsteen, “The Wrestler”

I hear that song  in my head every time I drive the side streets of Downtown North Knoxville. It’s a neighborhood that’s a little more spit-shined and polished than it was when I first arrived there in 2002, standing outside the door of a quaint little house on Hinton Avenue, shivering less from the late-March cold than from the lingering chills and spasms of opiate withdrawal. Back then, the hookers and the homeless walked up and down Central Street at all hours of the day, lowered heads and eyes roaming the sidewalk cracks for change and cigarette butts. They’re still around, but with more and more businesses opening in the area and more middle class residents drawn to the genteel charm, they’ve been pushed further back into the shadows.

It’s not easy clawing one’s way out of the black abyss of addiction and alcoholism. We’re marked by scarlet letters as weak, as morally bankrupt, as men and women who have brought our affliction upon ourselves. In one sense, that’s true; our dire straits are of our own making, a result of one bad decision after another going back to the first time we picked up that first drink or did that first drug and it flipped some switch deep inside our heads, setting off a cascade failure of life-altering proportions. For whatever reason, we get fucked up as a coping mechanism — to feel good when we’re down, to feel even better when we’re up, to dull pain and quell anger and dampen depression. We use, and then we use more, and the promises we make to ourselves, the “I’ll never do that” and the “I won’t cross that line,” fall like dominoes with all of the other promises we make. We steal, we lie, we cheat, we con, we manipulate in order to get more of what our bodies and brains scream to have, and when we come down the crush of guilt and shame strikes our souls like an avalanche of heavy stones, and before we know it, we’re walking those cold and lonely streets, not recognizing the reflection staring back at us in grimy storefront windows and pleading for just a second glance, a flicker of acknowledgment, from those who pass us by.

“These things that have comforted me I drive away, this place that is my home I cannot stay, my only faith’s in the broken bones and bruises I display …”

By the time I got to the E.M. Jellinek Center, the only things I had in the world were a suitcase full of clothes, a job here at The Daily Times that gave me one chance to straighten out and my life. My family, wounded and hurt by the pain I had inflicted upon them, had cast me out. Friends whom I had manipulated pushed me to the margins of their own lives. I laid my head down at night praying to whatever God exists to kill me in my sleep, and I threw a fistful of curses His way when I awoke the next morning, still alive. I knew nothing except self-inflicted pain and guilt, and that what I had become wasn’t what I wanted to be anymore.

For two years, I lived on Hinton Street and slowly put my life back together. Under the mentorship of the late Frank Kolinsky, I re-learned those basic fundamental principles instilled in most people as children, those that addiction had slowly worn away over the years: Be good to other people. Take pride in your appearance. Help others. Have discipline. Treat others with respect. It was the simple things at Jellinek that made the biggest impact: Tuck your shirt in before you enter the dining hall. Carry out your assigned duties with pride and efficiency. Make your bed. Don’t be late to meetings. Don’t curse in front of women. (One rule I’ve woefully failed to uphold; my apologies, Frank.) When I moved out in 2004, I had two years clean, and I’m blessed to be able to say that I haven’t had a drink or a drug since March 2002. Some of that, of course, is due to my own diligence, but I owe a great deal of that, too, to the E.M. Jellinek Center. The people there taught me how to be a man, and in so doing set the stage to help me be a good husband, a good father, a decent human being.

That decency, I like to think, played a part in helping get Waynestock: For the Love of Drew off the ground in 2011. When my friend and fellow writer Wayne Bledsoe lost his son, a few of us couldn’t just offer condolences. Those were well and good, but we felt driven to do something more, and so we put together a three-day festival of love and light and music drawn from the deep well of talent here in East Tennessee. We came together and celebrated the legacy of Andrew “Drew” Bledose, lifted up Wayne and his family and realized we had created something special. The next year, we can together and did it again for the family of the late Phil Pollard; last year, we selected the Community School for the Arts as the recipient of Waynestock 3’s proceeds. This year’s event, which takes place Thursday, Jan. 30 through Saturday, Feb. 1, will benefit the E.M. Jellinek Center.

Ever since Frank Kolinsky died a few years ago, the facility — which has been helping men who suffer from alcoholism and addiction for roughly 40 years — has struggled to stay afloat financially. Times are tough, and Frank was the glue who kept things together when it came to state funding and other bureaucratic matters. I was asked to serve on the board of directors a couple of years ago, and the center has made a number of changes to keep the doors open. The biggest is the opening of a 21-day treatment center, named after Frank, that adds another level of care to the center’s programs.

Throughout all of the uncertainty, however, the doors have remained open. There’s no sign out front — “This is our home, not the Holiday Inn!,” Frank used to declare when asked why — and a drive down Hinton Avenue might reveal little but a row of white houses with green roofs, well-kept lawns and a sense of peace and quiet that’s in stark contrast to the cacophony of the surrounding neighborhood. When I pull up to the curb in front of the main house, I’m reminded that this place, these people, are still home to me, because during the darkest time of my life, it was the light that led me back to the land of the living.

“These things that have comforted me I drive away, this place that is my home I cannot stay, my only faith’s in the broken bones and bruises I display …”

Today, the E.M. Jellinek Center serves as a beacon for similarly afflicted men. I’ve met so many good, decent people in the years since I lived there who have no idea of my background, who seemed shock to learn that I was once one of those lost souls plodding toward the next stop on a long, rocky path to hell … that I was once that “one-legged dog making its way down the street.” The E.M. Jellinek Center saved my life, and I’m honored, and so very, very grateful, that it’s the beneficiary of this year’s Waynestock.

This year will be the first Waynestock my wife and I won’t be able to attend; in the past, we’ve manned the doors and collected the cover charge (a paltry $5 per night) and strapped on wristbands. We’ve hugged friends and helped stage manager/Waynestock guru Tim Lee make the trains run on time. We’ve taken care of artists and watched local musicians with hearts bigger than they are leave everything they have on the stage, all for the sole purpose of giving away to someone/something else. We have a newborn this year — another of those blessings that I’ve been granted in this life — whose status as a preemie makes it a bad idea to take him out during cold and flu season, so as much as it pains us — and believe me, I feel despondent about it — we’re having to cheer the event on from the sidelines this year.

But if you don’t have a newborn … if you’re a regular Waynestock attendee or have never been … if you have no plans (or if you do — stop by afterward!) this weekend … if you want to support a good cause and give back to a worthy organization that’s given back so much to men like me over the years … then please, attend Waynestock this weekend. I guarantee you that the music you see and hear will go toe to toe with everything else going on in town, whether it’s Art Garfunkel or Queens of the Stone Age. I promise, you’ll be caught up in the love and life and beauty of the event and the people who make it such a wonderful part of Knoxville culture. (The full schedule is here, and you can confirm your attendance on the Facebook event pages for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.)

But more than anything else, when you’re driving home after all is said and done and you see those shadow people in the doorways and under the bridges, the men and women who exist but do not live, you’ll know that you’ve done something to help them out. You haven’t put a $5 bill in their hands, and you haven’t walked by pretending as if they don’t exist. You’ve helped them, and in so doing, you’ve helped me … because I once lived in those same shadows and reached out for help with the same trembling hands. I’m grateful the E.M. Jellinek Center was there to grasp mine, and that with the support of Waynestock, it will continue to help others.

“You’ve seen me, I come and stand at every door … you’ve seen me, I always leave with less than I had before … you’ve seen me, but I can make you smile when the blood it hits the floor … tell me, friend, can you ask for anything more?”

Written by wildsmith

January 27th, 2014 at 12:31 pm

BIG EARS FESTIVAL: Announcement time. (And a Rhythm N’ Blooms teaser!)

without comments

Allow us to pat ourselves on the back a bit: We were the first to get confirmation from AC Entertainment founder and head honcho Ashley Capps that avant-garde music event Big Ears Festival would return in 2014, back in December of last year.
AC rolled out the official announcement a few months ago along with the dates — March 28-30 — and today the company is releasing a few of the names coming this year. Here’s part of the press release:
This year, the enormously influential, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steve Reich, proclaimed “our greatest living composer” by The New York Times, will be in attendance. Rock icon John Cale, co-founder with the late Lou Reed of the legendary Velvet Underground, will be presenting new work as well as old classics at the festival. In addition, a virtual “who’s who” of groundbreaking musicians and performers from the worlds of electronica, avant-rock, jazz and beyond will be performing, including Julia Holter, Susanna, Son Lux, Buke & Gase and more.

“New additions to the line up, as well as information and details about performances, workshops, talks and installations will be revealed in the coming months at bigearsfestival.com. (EDITOR’S NOTE: According to the announcement article written by my pal Wayne Bledsoe over at the Knoxville paper, Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood will also be one of this year’s performers.)
As always, Big Ears concerts and events will take place in different venues, all within an easy walk of one another, in Knoxville’s historic downtown.  The heart and soul of the festival will be at Knoxville’s two remarkable historic theatres, the Tennessee and the Bijou. Full initial lineup and information will be available at www.bigearsfestival.com beginning at 11 a.m. Dec. 4. Weekend passes for Big Ears go on sale at noon Friday, Dec. 6. Passes are $150 and are available online at www.bigearsfestival.com.”

Save up your money and your show-going energy, by the way … one week after Big Ears wraps, the Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival, part of the Dogwood Arts Festival and produced by Attack Monkey Productions, will take place. You can already buy tickets — only $60 for a three-day pass — on the R ‘n’ B website, and organizers teased the festival by announcing three of the artists on Tuesday: Singer-songwriter Brett Dennen, Americana duo Shovels & Rope and Brooklyn-based band YARN. (Pollstar also shows that multi-instrumental roots music maestro Tim O’Brien will be part of the festival.) More artists will be announced in the coming weeks.

Dawes, everybodyfields, Erick Baker, Time Jumpers to headline Rhythm N’ Blooms 2013

without comments

RNB_LOGO_2013Organizers of the Dogwood Arts Festival teamed up with Attack Monkey Productions queen Chyna Brackeen today to announce the 2013 Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival lineup, and it’s a good ‘un. Without further ado, here are the artists that’ll be performing at the event, which takes place April 5-7 in Knoxville:

And that’s not all, according to today’s press release: More artists will be announced. Other details:

Venues include The Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville Botanical Garden & Arboretum, John Black Photography Studio, Latitude 35, The Square Room, the Bill Lyons Pavilion on Market Square, the Knoxville Visitor’s Center and, new for this year, venues in Knoxville’s Old City, including Barley’s Taproom, Boyd’s Jig & Reel and Crown & Goose. Trolleys will run back and forth between the various venues, so you can park and ride without missing a show.

Tickets: A $175 VIP pass gives access to all shows all weekend in addition to priority seating and parking, a VIP welcome reception, artist meet n’ greet and more.  The $55 weekend-long festival pass provides access to all of the performances and venues occurring over the course of the weekend. Day passes for each day are $25. Passes can be purchased online at www.rhythmnbloomsfest.com, or in person at the Knoxville Visitor Center.

This year’s sponsors include Blackstone Brewing Company, sponsored by Pilot Flying J, and produced by Dogwood Arts and Attack Monkey Productions. Additional sponsors include: Sharpie, Young Professionals of Knoxville, Sound Ventures, Bandit Lites, Rik’s Backline Pros, Visit Knoxville, WDVX, WFIV, WUTK, Knoxville.com and Metro Pulse.

Venue news: Blackstock and NV Nightclub

without comments

775598_251271605008005_1552319147_oThe new logo for Blackstock, the venue formerly known as The Valarium

Big doings going on in the music scene around here.

Yesterday afternoon, got an email from Andrea Kerns, the EDM go-to lady in the Knoxville scene and one of the organizers of the “Midnight Voyage Live” series of shows. Her email promotes “the return of the Blue Cats sound to Knoxville’s Old City,” and it signals the expansion of NV Nightclub — 125 E. Jackson Ave., where Blue Cats functioned as a live music venue from 2002-2007 — into more than just a shake-yer-booty destination.

According to the email, NV “will continue to host a wide variety of local, regional, and national and international talent spanning all genres,” and “in addition to the NV room, Carleo Entertainment (owned by Duane Carleo, who runs a number of Old City properties) will be hosting live music events at several other properties, including:
The Bowery (directly adjacent to NV, formerly Tonic)
Southbound / 90 Proof (106 S. Central)
Old City Courtyard (outdoor stage located in the  courtyard behind Southbound)
New Amsterdam on the Cumberland Avenue “Strip”

Kerns goes on to say that “Large events are in the works for Old City Courtyard, including festival-type productions which will utilize several of the aforementioned rooms.” In addition to continuing events like “Midnight Voyage,” Carleo Entertainment will soon be opening Wagon Wheel, “a country-style bar/lounge on South Central Street, next to Carleo’s,  scheduled for opening late February.”

Here’s a list of upcoming Carleo events:

  • Tonight (Feb. 1): “Midnight Voyage Live” presents Spankalicious with Bitch Please, IRell and Moniker, 9 p.m. at NV Nightclub, $5 advance/$8 at the door
  • Tonight (Feb. 1): Metal, featuring A Soul Disowned with Serene Scream, Scent Of Remains and Rot Iron, 8 p.m. at 90 Proof, $7
  • Feb. 8: “Midnight Voyage Live” presents Wick-It The Instigator with Archnemesis and The Floozies, 9 p.m. at NV Nightclub, $7 advance/$12 at the door
  • Feb. 8: Rock, featuring Mobility Chief with Appalachian Fury, Pyramid Asylum and Coalition Of Benevolence, 8:30 p.m. at 90 Proof, $5
  • Feb. 9: Konkrete Jungle Knoxville presents Squake with Shadow Cartel, 9 p.m. at 90 Proof, $5
  • Feb. 11: Rock, featuring Pathway with East Old Topside, A Body Divided, Awake The Suffering and Ark Of Covenant, 7 p.m. at 90 Proof, $7
  • Feb. 14: Rapture Productions presents “BassFace 20,” featuring Megalodon, Veltix, iRell and MSTR RPTR, 9 p.m. at NV Nightclub, $7 advance/$10 at the door
  • Feb. 15: “Midnight Voyage Live” presents MartyParty, 9 p.m. at NV Nightclub, $10 advance/$15 at the door
  • Feb. 15: Rock, featuring Lines Taking Shape with Sin, Crumbsnatchers, Yak Strangler and Smooth Operationz, 8:30 p.m. at 90 Proof, $6
  • Feb. 21: “Midnight Voyage Live” presents FIGURE with Spooky Jones and Paerbaer,9 p.m. at NV Nightclub, $12 advance/$15 at the door
  • Feb. 22: Midnight Voyage Live” presents Arpetrio with Magmablood and Dialectic Sines, 9 p.m. at NV Nightclub, $7 advance/$10 at the door
  • March 8:Rock, featuring Ten Foot Grave with Afterlife, Shallowpoint and Annandale, 8 p.m. at 90 Proof, $7
  • March 9: Konkrete Jungle Knoxville presents DJ Odi with Sarah Burns, 9 p.m. at 90 Proof, $7/$10 ages 18-20

In other venue news, shortly after it was announced that The Valarium (formerly the Electric Ballroom) was shutting down, it was also announced that Ooga Mooga Tiki Tavern/former 4620 Jazz Club owner Daniel Leal had bought the establishment and was keeping it open as a live music venue. At first, it seemed like the transition would be seamless, but an early January show by local death metal heroes Whitechapel was moved to NV Nightclub, and ever since Leal has been mum about when his establishment, rumored to be called Blackstock Auditorium, would open.

It seems that’s going to happen sooner rather than later. Leal went live with a Facebook page for (just) Blackstock last night, and there’s also a website. It’s sparse, but we’re hoping details will fill in quickly. There are already a couple of events out there slated for Blackstock: EOTO with Crizzly on March 1, and Excision with Paper Diamond and Vaski.

Wallypalooza: The End. (No. Really! Wally swears!)

without comments

323189_239985662711999_151461354897764_684817_3848353_oWallypalooza founder Wally Miles (left), and local comedian Waylon Whiskey

OK, so local promoter Wally Miles has been saying each Wallypalooza spectacular he’s put on for the past couple of years has been the last one. He readily admits that it’s sounding more and more like a KISS farewell tour every time he does so.

But this one, he promises, is it. And I have a feeling he’ll stay true to his word on this one. After all, Blount County’s answer to “Van Wilder” is headed to school this fall for — what else? — marketing, and he’s already put together some bangin’ shows at The Thirsty Turtle Pub and Grub, 2641 U.S. Highway 411 S. in Maryville.

Speaking of, that’s where the next (and FINAL! REALLY!) Wallypalooza is taking place on March 1 and 2. Without further ado, here’s the lineup:

Friday, March 1: Christopher ScumBetter DazeAfterLifeJoe CoeBelfast 6 PackDivided We StandScent of Remains

Saturday, March 2: Rebel MountainCatalystBig TroubleShallowpointIndie Lagonethe Michael Gunnz BandCrome Molly.

The start time is 7 p.m. both nights; admission is $5 at the door. Given that this Wallypalooza is scaled back to only two nights, we suggest getting there way early, for several reasons: One, it’s going to be PACKED, and second, you don’t want to miss the opening acts … particularly on Friday. It’s a point of honor for me that Wally’s booked Christopher Scum to open up Friday’s festivities; the guy’s a legend in the Knoxville music scene and a hell of a songwriter. (Click here to download and listen to “Fifty Acres,” an unflinching look at a pretty damn horrific childhood. And yes, it’s autobiographical.)

You can read our coverage of previous Wallypaloozas here, here and here. Be there.

From the madman who came up with ‘Wallypalooza’ comes ‘Walloween,’ Oct. 10-14

without comments

323189_239985662711999_151461354897764_684817_3848353_oWalloween/Wallypalooza founder Wally Miles (left) and comedian Waylon Whiskey

On tap for Walloween, the latest idea from Wallypalooza mastermind and founder Wally Miles: Rock ‘n’ roll Unholy, terrifying and slutty attire. Alcohol. Profane, gut-busting stand-up comedy. Jell-O wrestling.

If Lucifer doesn’t stamp such an event with his personal seal of approval, then Miles might as well get out of the party-throwing business.

If past Wallypalooza events are any indication, however, then the upcoming five-night Walloween bash — slated to take place Oct. 10-14 at The Thirsty Turtle, 2641 U.S. 411 in Maryville, will go down in the history books as a glorious Bacchanalian celebration of All Hallow’s Eve, albeit a few weeks early.

“After Wallypalooza ended this year back in March, people were wanting to do it again, but I didn’t want to over-saturate or water it down by doing two or three this year,” Miles told us recently. “I’ve done that in the past, and they went well; point proven. But Halloween — well, that gives everybody an excuse to dress up. And if I can find an excuse to dress up like Gene Simmons, I’m going to do it.”

For those unfamiliar with Miles and the legendary parties the carry his name, read our cover stories on Wallypalooza from March 2011 and August 2011. They started out as a birthday celebration for Miles, a 1997 graduate of Maryville High School and a lifelong resident of Blount County. He invited friends to the lake in 1998 to celebrate the day, and they enjoyed an afternoon of music blaring from an old boombox. The next year, someone came up with the idea of getting a rock band to play for the annual gathering.

Over the next 14 years, the event was christened Wallypalooza and grew into the monster that it is today. And starting in 2008, when he booked three bands (Middle Finger, Stonemosis and Half of Something) at Nater’z Sports Grille in Maryville, it’s become a beast over which he has little control, at least in terms of how many people show up. In fact, one of the reasons he’s expanded Walloween to a five-night celebration is because so many bands and musicians have requested the opportunity to take part.

“With all the entertainment, we need to a week to fit it in,” he said. “Plus, we want to make each night special. People tend to wait for the weekend because they think those will be the best nights, but we’re going to make Wednesday and Thursday nights so good that people will say, ‘We can’t miss a night.’ On Wednesday night, we’re going to kick it off with a bang — we’ll have stand-up comedy, three bands and Jell-O wrestling.”

So far, eight female contestants have signed on to battle it out in the gelatinous pit of doom, including one match that will feature two girls against Miles himself. It hardly seems fair, but Miles has been involved in the local amateur wrestling circuit for years under the pseudonym Jagger Sterling.

“I’m putting the Wallypalooza belt on the line for this one,” he said with a chuckle. “And even if I lose, I still win in my opinion.”

Thursday night will feature a Halloween costume contest complete with cash prizes and more live music; and Friday through Sunday will offer more of the same. Although the final three nights of Walloween will coincide with the popular Foothills Fall Festival in downtown Maryville, Miles doesn’t see them as competing events.

“Once people leave the fall festival, if they don’t want to go home just yet, they can come on by, because we’ll be going late,” he said. “The way I see it, there’s something going on for everybody that weekend. Nobody can complain there’s nothing going on in Maryville anymore.”

The musical lineup for Walloween features several Wallypalooza veterans, as well as some new faces.

“It’s a good ensemble of bands, and it’s not an exclusively metal thing,” Miles said. “We’re trying to have something for everybody, and I’m thinking it’s going to have a good appeal to a wider audience. We’ve got Indie Lagone this year, which is Allen Swank’s band, and he’s been playing around here forever. When I was old enough to start sneaking into shows, his old band Malice in Wonderland was going strong, and they’re kind of why I wanted to get into music, truth be told. And VanKale, that band played Wallypalooza in 2010, and they brought the thunder then. Now that they’re reactivated and playing again, I’m looking forward to bringing them back.”

The Turtle has become something of a permanent home for Miles’s fetes, which have been held at Nater’z, the now-defunct Confused Bar and Grill and at Big Daddy’s, the former occupant of the Turtle location.

“Other venues shy away, but they’re like, ‘Bring it on,’” Miles said. “They trust me and work with me on every level, and that’s pretty cool. We’ve got a good working relationship.”

For Miles himself, the 10th can’t arrive soon enough — to provide a respite for himself, and a good time for everyone planning on coming out.

“Everything I do right now is about Walloween,” he said. “When I get up, it’s the first thing on my mind. I’ll get up at 6 in the morning because I have an idea, and just because I love doing it. I love seeing people have fun. I know it sounds hokey, but the excitement people have for something like this, I feed off of it.”

SCHEDULE OF WALLOWEEN EVENTS (admission is $5 per night)


  • Doors open at: 7 p.m.
  • Activities start: 8 p.m.
  • Bands: What’s Left, the Michael Gunnz Band, A Soul Disowned
  • Stand-up comedy by: Nakht Ricks and Waylon Whiskey
  • Also: Jell-O wrestling


  • Doors open at: 7 p.m.
  • Activities start: 8 p.m.
  • Bands: Centric, Belfast 6 Pack, KraIzIn
  • Also: “The Ultimate Walloween Costume Contest”


  • Doors open at: 7 p.m.
  • Activities start: 8 p.m.
  • Bands: Afterlife, Binfield, Indie Lagone, Divided We Stand, VanKale
  • Also: “The Walloween Scream Queen Contest”


  • Doors open at: 7 p.m.
  • Activities start: 8 p.m.
  • Bands: Stonemosis, Shallowpoint, Big Trouble, Decombrio
  • Also: A special performance by the White Lightnin’ Burlesque troupe


  • Doors open at: 7 p.m.
  • Activities start: 8 p.m.
  • Bands: Awake The Suffering, Psychosystem, KraIzIn, Scent of Remains
  • Also: “A Night of Comedy with Nakht Ricks and Friends”

Written by wildsmith

September 27th, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Local acts fill out Foothills Fall Festival lineup

without comments


The headliners for the 2012 Foothills Fall Festival were announced last month (Gary Allan, Train and Darius Rucker), and this week organizers have released the names of several local acts that will round out the schedule, as well as one additional national headliner.

Two more acts are still forthcoming.

Here’s the lineup by day; new additions are in bold:




Tickets go on sale July 14 and will cost $50 for a three-day pass. For more information, visit the Foothills Fall Festival website.

Written by wildsmith

July 5th, 2012 at 11:42 am

Paying regards to SITC: I hate to see that evening Sun go Down …

without comments

Sundown-in-the-City_webSundown in the City circa 2010, courtesy of the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation’s website

I can’t remember the last time I attended a Sundown in the City concert.

It may have been the summer of 2007, when local favorites (mine, at least) Dixie Dirt opened for the Drive-By Truckers. DD wasn’t long for the scene, and they were pulling double duty that night — first at Sundown, later at Barley’s Taproom in the Old City.

I remember it was hot and crowded and intense — so much so that we cut out a few songs in the DBT set. Good as they were, it just felt wrong. I believe a great band that’s playing its heart out should have the attention of those in attendance, and even five years ago, it was obvious that Sundown had become a destination as much as a concert.

It didn’t used to be that way. When it started as a single concert in 1997, the free concert series drew large but respectful audiences, and it’s fair to say the series had something to do with the revitalization of downtown Knoxville. 15 years ago, downtown after dark wasn’t exactly a desirable date destination, to say nothing of bringing your young kids down there.

Now, it’s a hub of activity at all hours of the day and night. Restaurants, venues, retail spaces, residential buildings have come together to give Knoxville a sort of urban sophistication that’s still quaint, given the city’s size, but also incredibly cool. And that coolness began with the music.

As a music writer, it’s been an incredible experience to document. I’ve interviewed dozens of artists who came to play Sundown, from Steve Winwood and Gillian Welch in 2004 to Sleater-Kinney in 2005 to Little Feat in 2006 to George Thorogood, Ozomatli and the Avett Brothers in 2007 to Jamey Johnson, Grace Potter and Arrested Development in 2009. Looking back on those names, all I can think about is how blessed we were to get such diversity — and such up-and-coming artists before they exploded.

Perfect example — The Avetts. They’d only started playing Knoxville a couple of years prior, doing occasional free shows at Preservation Pub, but they’re such genuinely good dudes and burn with such passion for music that they’re undeniable. The folks at AC Entertainment saw that early on, and this year, they’re one of the headliners for Bonnaroo. They’re getting ready to put out their second major-label release produced by the iconic Rick Rubin, and the last time they came to East Tennessee, they filled up Smokies Stadium.

Is it any wonder, then, that as the schedule grew from a few concerts early on to more than two dozen at the height of the series that people started coming? They came for the music, and they helped make downtown a destination, and then everybody was coming to downtown just to be downtown. Market Square turned into a sea of people on Thursday nights, and while many businesses didn’t mind, a few did — along with the people who had moved to the area and had to contend with traffic, drunks and throngs of people milling around in what amounted to their backyards.

I remember looking around at everyone on that particular evening. Hundreds were paying rapt attention to the bands … but hundreds more were wandering around, poking their heads in various shops, talking on cell phones, looking for their children, who seemed to be turn loose like crazed ferrets to roam the downtown landscape at will. “Too big,” I thought. “This thing is too big.”

Maybe it was … but it was good for Knoxville. And even though I never made another Sundown show, there was something reassuring about the idea that, if I so choose, I could head over on a fine Thursday evening, see some great live music and still be home in time to watch the 11 p.m. news.

This morning, AC announced that Sundown’s time had come to an end.

“… after having initially scaled back to five bi-weekly events two years ago, it has become clear to us that Sundown in the City simply no longer fits its Market Square home,” company founder Ashley Capps says in a press release. “With that in mind, AC Entertainment is electing to look towards the future. We will, of course, continue to book and produce the great shows and programs at the Tennessee Theatre and the U.S. Cellular Stage at the Bijou Theatre. We are also looking forward to putting our time, energy, and resources into bringing new festival concepts to life in downtown Knoxville in the near future. And…who knows? We may ultimately find a way to reinvent Sundown at some point.”

Facebook, et. al. was abuzz with word of the cancellation, and it was almost as if a collective “Awwwww …” went up from everyone. No doubt, many people who loved Sundown during its early years found themselves turned off by the event’s growth into a social hangout more than a concert, and others, I’m sure, hated that their favorite off-the-beaten-path restaurant or bar turned into a subway station on Thursday nights in the spring and summer. But aside from a vocal few, we loved Sundown — the music, certainly, but also the fact that the music was happening in the middle of downtown Knoxville.

What a town. And even though the city center is a big boy that can walk on its own these days, I’m sure many people will find themselves with a lot of time on their hands on Thursday nights this spring, and more than a few who happen to be on Market Square will stare wistfully toward the stage and wonder when the music might start up again.

Written by wildsmith

March 16th, 2012 at 10:36 am

Rhythm N’ Blooms 2012 lineup gets leaked early!

without comments


Pilot and Cherokee Distributing, in partnership with Attack Monkey Productions, was geared up for a big press conference at 3 p.m. Monday to announce the lineup of this year’s Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival, scheduled for April 20-22 in Knoxville as part of the Dogwood Arts Festival.

Unfortunately, the alt-weekly over in Knoxville got a look at the lineup and let the cat out of the bag early, no doubt making tomorrow’s big announcement not nearly as exciting as it could have been. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t excitement to be found about the festival, because Attack Monkey, run by Chyna Brackeen (who also books shows for The Square Room and manages The Black Lillies), has gathered up one hell of a roster of talent for this year.

Some of them we already knew about; Brackeen confirmed Jessica Lea Mayfield, Jake Shimabukuro, YARN, Darrell Scott and The Boxer Rebellion back in early January, when we did our big year-in-preview section. Here’s the full list of performers that’ll be announced tomorrow; the first two are considered the festival’s headliners:

Some programming notes: Langhorne Slim will perform on Thursday, April 19, at the second “Scruffy City Roots” show at The Square Room and will stay over to perform a solo show at Rhythm N’ Blooms. Amos Lee will have the headline spot on Sunday, April 22, at Knoxville Botanical Garden. On Friday, April 20, Big Sam’s Funky Nation will perform on the outdoor stage at Market Square, the only free show of the weekend; according to Brackeen, there will be some overlap with other performances going on at the same time, but organizers hope to schedule any overlap with acts that are on the opposite end of the stylistic spectrum.

Finally, Alice Smith will open for Citizen Cope, playing solo and acoustic, at The Tennessee Theatre on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville; afterward, the Black Lillies will play a late-night after-concert that will begin around 10-11 p.m. The full schedule and venue breakdown will be released by the end of the month, according to Brackeen.

Weekend passes will be $55; day passes are $25, but the day pass does not include entry to The Tennessee Theatre for Saturday night’s performances by Smith, Cope or the Lillies.

Tickets are currently on sale at the festival website, and physical tickets should be in area Pilot stores by Tuesday, according to Brackeen.