Ben Rector to headline new Southern Skies festival

Shannon HerronOur Town Arts

The inaugural Southern Skies Music Festival, curated by hometown favorites The Dirty Guv’nahs, comes to World’s Fair Park on May 16. The one-day event will feature seven musical acts across two stages, food trucks, craft beer, wine, specialty cocktails, a Maker Market and more.

In addition to The Dirty Guv’nahs, the music lineup includes headliner Ben Rector, Elenowen, Sawyer, Electric Darling, Carly Bannister and one more surprise guest to be announced soon. Festival passes go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 24, at Tier 1 prices are $40 while supplies last, or go VIP for $125 (with access to premium viewing area, hangout space with private bars and restrooms, festival merchandise and more).

“We’ve been dreaming up a festival event in our hometown of Knoxville for nearly a decade. This is the city that gave us a shot and supported our rock ’n’ roll dreams. Fourteen years later, we’re still at it. We’re still writing new songs and dreaming about how to bring people together for good through music,” says Guv’s frontman James Trimble. “It is an absolute honor to work with Dogwood Arts as we officially launch Southern Skies Music Festival as an event that we intend to grow together for many years to come. We love their mission, creativity, and our shared authentic love for Knoxville. Can’t wait to see where this goes!”

The Guvs’ live experience has been hailed as one of the best in the Southeast, and according to Music Connection magazine, “The Dirty Guv’nahs don’t just play music; they capture the human experience through song.”

Likewise, Southern Skies will capture the spirit of Knoxville and honor the Dogwood Arts mission to promote emerging local and regional musical artists.

Southern Skies is produced by Dogwood Arts and is the newest addition to their music programming, which includes Rhythm N’ Blooms Music Festival, Open Mic Nights in the Dogwood Gallery, and musical entertainment at the Dogwood Arts Festival. Dogwood Arts is working with Born & Raised Productions, the Knoxville-based music production company behind Sunset on Central, the Outpost, and Silent Disco Knox on this year’s festival.

“Dogwood Arts is proud to introduce this one-day celebration of music, art, and community and invite everyone to experience Southern Skies in its inaugural year,” says Sherry Jenkins, executive director of Dogwood Arts.

For more information, visit, and follow on Facebook, Twitter @southernskiesfest, and Instagram @southernskiesfest. Dogwood Arts, presented by ORNL Federal CreditUnion, is a 501(c)3 organization with a mission to promote and celebrate our region’s art, culture, and natural beauty.

Shannon Herron oversees marketing, communications and design services for the 18 annual events and programs of Dogwood Arts.

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