A Guide to Rhythm N Blooms Fest 2013 – April 5th – 7th
I don’t remember much about the last time I was actually in the downtown of the city of Knoxville, Tennessee. It was probably fifteen years ago, so I haven’t the slightest clue of what to expect from the place aside from that during my few days there this April, I’m going to get to see Dawes, Justin Townes Earle, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, The Everybodyfields, The Features, Charles Walker & the Dynamites, and 40+ other acts perform all within a few blocks of each other. I might as well have died and gone to Appalachian Heaven…
Rhythm N Blooms is set to take place April 5th – 7th in Knoxville, Tennessee, as a featured event of the Dogwood Arts Festival. Dogwood Arts is a 501(c)3 organization whose main focus is to promote and celebrate the region’s arts, culture, and natural beauty. Though most of the festival takes place during the month of April, select events take place in February and in December, including a city-wide tree planting initiative. I feel pretty comfortable getting behind things like this…
Their website reads, “Rhythm N’ Blooms celebrates Tennessee’s role in American Roots music – including but not limited to country, jazz, blues, bluegrass, and rock – by featuring musical performances by locally-revered and nationally renowned artists. They aren’t all from Tennessee; and some of them aren’t even from the United States, but their music has been undeniably influenced by those styles popularized right in our back yard.” We couldn’t have put it any better.
Though they haven’t released their schedule of artists, I spent a bit of time looking into some of the venues participating and I can’t wait to make it to town. Boyd’s Jig and Reel looks like a prime brew pub and music hall, with a menu that includes a whiskey list so extensive I had to download the list to look at it, as well as Scotch Egg, a Ploughman’s lunch, and fish and chips – possibly three of my favorite dishes. On top of all that, they regularly host traditional dancing and pipe and drum groups.
The Historic Tennessee Theatre stands out as the crown jewel of the city’s venues. Opened in 1928 as a cinema, the room was renovated between 2003-2005, and has since hosted Allison Krauss, BB King, and more recently acts like Esperanza Spalding, Needtobreathe, and Emmy Lou Harris. Just from what I’ve seen online, I’m hoping to spend a good bit of time there when I’m not at one of the other eight venues/stages hosting artists that weekend. In case you do plan on making the trip, let MetroPulse help you out with ideas of what to do if for some odd reason you get tired of all these good tunes.
All in all, I’m not sure if I’m more excited about the co-headlining sets from Dawes (whose new album comes out just days after the festival) & The Everybodyfields, or spending the evenings going from venue to venue checking out the lesser known acts. After making their TV debut on “The Voice”, Elenowen crafted a beautiful folky EP, released it themselves, and headed out on the road. The love and emotion shared between this husband and wife group transfers wonderfully to their recordings, and should be even more apparent in their live set. Following in the similar path as The Civil Wars (though I hope they don’t call it quits as quickly), the duo has been featured on a number of national TV shows, so it wouldn’t be too shocking if you already know a few of their songs – without knowing them.
Bombadil, a group from Durham, North Carolina, sit high on my list as well. The band was moving full steam ahead in 2009 following the release of Tarpits & Canyonlands, but a nerve injury prevent singer/songwriter Daniel Michalak from continuing touring and things slowed down for a few years. Over the past few months, his condition has improved to the point that he’s able to take the band back out on the road and they’re ready for Knoxville (and wherever else they go) to help them celebrate the release of Metrics of Affection, due out on Ramseur Records on July 23rd. Songs that are both haunting and comforting comprise the new record and I’m eager to hear how they come out live.
It’s difficult to pick and choose with the lineup that was curated for this year’s festival. Between the soulful sounds of Charles Walker & the Dynamites, the fuzzed out sounds of hometown favorites The Black Cadillacs, the Harry Potter-themed hip-hop from Lil’ iFFy (yes, please), or the 40+ other amazing artists playing this festival – Rhythm N Blooms has a lineup that is as diverse as the heritage it achieves in celebrating.
Day passes are just $25.00, or you can do the weekend for a mere $55.00. If you want to be part of the big boy baller’s club, fork over a few extra dollars and enjoy Knoxville the way that Quentin Tarantino might (fingers crossed that he’ll show up in his hometown), purchase the VIP package for $175.00. VIP includes drink tickets, lounge access, priority seating – and best of all – VIP parking at select venues. And for all you cool parents out there, if the little ones are under six years old, they get in for free. As long as there’s no crying.
Oh, and before I forget – we’re going to be giving away 4 FREE WEEKEND PASSES, so stay tuned… JUST SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH YOUR FRIENDS TO BE ENTERED