Some of us like to think of Knoxville as the little music town that could.
Harnessing popular headliners such as the upcoming Our Lady Peace show to local successes like Jag Star and Jodie Manross, KnoxVegas is a great small city that can accompany most anyone's musical needs.
So here we are in the summer season. And with it comes a splurge of free music festivals, such as last week's Star Jam 2003 featuring Third Eye Blind.
This weekend, WIVK-FM, WOKI-FM 100.3 The River, and WYIL-FM Wild 98.7 bring the city "Saturday Night on the Town."
The event will feature three music stages near downtown Knoxville and more than 20 vendors.
WIVK's stage, located on Church Street, will feature more than five musical acts including Amy Dalley, Buddy Jewell and Radney Foster.
Wild 98.7 will showcase Sarai and DJ Tommy Ill throughout the entire festival on Cumberland Avenue.
Showcase sponsor, 100.3 The River, will bring an array of popular talent to its stage.
Featuring Franky Perez, LA-based Maroon 5 and rising star Jason Mraz, this weekend's show seems to fall nothing short of another great summer event.
Benny Smith, promotions director for The River, said he was glad to see such a great show return to Knoxville.
"I am very happy that it is back after being gone for so long," he said. "It used to take place in September back in the day, and when I first came to UT in 1983, the stream of UT students who used to walk downtown to Saturday Night on the Town looked like a parade going down Cumberland."
Headliner Jason Mraz should pull in a decently large crowd to The River stage Saturday night. His latest single, "The Remedy" is gaining airplay across all radio markets and is honestly quite catchy. The lyrics "you can turn off the sun/ but I'm still gonna shine /and I'll tell you why /Because the remedy is the experience" are something worth tuning into.
It is disappointing, however, to see Mraz, much like John Mayer, capturing a "Total Request Live" crowd along his way to musical stardom. Those of the "sophisticated college crowd" have to discredit him just a little and might have to push their way through a few screaming pubescent girls.
Overall, Mraz should prove a great headliner. Listen for songs "Sleep All Day" and "I'll Do Anything," from the compact disc Waiting For My Rocket to Come, which show that this upcoming star is more than a one-hit wonder.
Just don't vote for him on TRL.
Opening acts Franky Perez and Maroon 5 should prove formidable components, completing an excellent free show in downtown Knoxville.
Marroon's "Harder to Breathe" has seen heavy airplay and is comparable to a cross between Jamiroquai and Lenny Kravitz.
The band is touring in support of its CD Songs About Jane.
The word on Franky Perez's debut album from Billboard Magazine is that he has created something that "rock artists dream of pulling off." After a quick listen to the tracks, one can see Perez has completed a respectable artistic work. The single "Something Crazy" is seeing airplay on VH1 and CMT - although it lacks the country twang.
The festivities will begin at 5 p.m. and can be found almost everywhere downtown.
"It is the biggest party of the year in downtown Knoxville and allows folks from all over East Tennessee to come together for a free concert and have a great time," Smith said. "The musical diversity it offers with a hip hop stage (Wild 98.7), a country stage (WIVK) and a rock stage (The River) is also a great thing because diversity is something Knoxville needs more of in my opinion."
Want more, need more? Visit http://www.100theriver.com.
Free, good music right in the heart of downtown. What's not to like?
Music festival back in town
Published: Fri Jun 20, 2003 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 05:10 p.m.