OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPLORATION AND ENTERTAINMENT IN KNOXVILLE ARE PLENTIFUL.
Nestled in the Appalachian Valley, in the Eastern foothills of the Smoky Mountains where the Holston and French Broad converge to make the headwaters of the Tennessee River, Knoxville is home to Big Ears. Knoxville was Tennessee’s first capital and is now the state’s third largest city; the broader 13-county metro area that surrounds and includes the city has a population of roughly 1.1 million people.
The city, home to writers James Agee, Nikki Giovanni, Cormac McCarthy, and Alex Haley has retained much of its historic character and charm. Knoxville is home to The University of Tennessee’s flagship campus, founded in 1794 and the Tennessee Valley Authority, founded in 1933 as part of FDR’s New Deal. The city was the site of the 1982 World’s Fair for which the Sunsphere, an instantly recognizable golden globe visible throughout downtown, was constructed.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and America’s most visited National Park, is nearby, as is the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, former home to the Manhattan Project and location of ‘Summit’ the world’s fastest supercomputer. Dollywood, the wonderful theme park owned by Dolly Parton, the Smoky Mountain Songbird, is due east on I-40.
Knoxville is ringed by the Urban Wilderness, 50-miles of trails and greenways and boasts 4,500 acres of protected green space making the city a world-class location for hiking and mountain biking. Downtown Knoxville — imminently walkable and architecturally monumental — boasts an array of award-winning locally-owned restaurants (many founded by chefs trained at nearby Blackberry Farms, a luxury resort celebrated for its culinary excellence), ample comfortable hotels, and diverse shopping. The downtown is anchored by two historic theatres, The Tennessee, constructed in 1928, and The Bijou, built in 1909, which sit alongside numerous clubs, churches, galleries, pocket parks, and industrial spaces, all of which Big Ears uses for performances during the festival.
For further information on where to eat, shop, and explore, go to visitknoxville.com or click the photos below.
THINGS TO DO
If I was to put a festival on i’d want somewhere that had nice venues within walking distance of each other in a town that’s interesting to visit and Knoxville is clearly all those things.Jonny greenwood, Radiohead guitarist