Music! Art! Kids! Dogs! Downtown and beyond!

Betsy PickleDowntown, East Knox, Our Town Neighbors, South Knox

Dolly Fest takes over the Old City this weekend.


From the Old City to the waterfront, Downtown Knoxville is hopping this week. Here’s an overview:

Pay homage to Dolly Parton at Dolly Fest this Friday-Sunday in the Old City. The celebration of all things Dolly (whose spirit will be evoked, sans her physical presence) will include art, music, history, crafts, food and fun. Get in the mood by dressing in your Dolly-best.

Kara Lockmiller art

June’s First Friday will have art all over downtown, as usual. Five new exhibits open at the Emporium Center, including the Dogwood Regional Art Exhibition and an exhibit by Kara Lockmiller called POP Music, which has its own Dolly Parton emphasis. The free opening reception 5-9 p.m. at the Emporium will feature music by the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus.

Meanwhile, over at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral Prayer Garden, you’re invited to the First Friday Drum Circle, hosted by the Center for Spiritual Practice, at 6 p.m. You can bring your own percussion instrument or borrow a drum.

Music choices abound downtown. If you don’t have a date with Sir Paul McCartney over at Thompson-Boling Arena tonight, check out the Mark Boling Trio at Jazz Tuesday on Market Square. The Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus will perform “In the Living Years” at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Bijou Theatre. Mighty Musical Monday at noon Monday (June 6) at the Tennessee Theatre will include house organist Freddie Brabson along with Tim Eggert, aka Tim the Whistler.

Saturday is the day to get active, with Knoxville’s Largest Kids’ Party from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at World’s Fair Park lawn. There’ll be water slides, sports, bubbles, shows and food trucks. Also happening 10-5 Saturday is Bike Boat Brew & Bark, based at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center, 900 Volunteer Landing Lane. Walking tours, bike rides, water activities with a dog-friendly bent are on deck; some reservations are required. For something slower paced, visit Blount Mansion for its Statehood Day Open House, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Technically, June 1 was Statehood Day, but birthdays should be celebrated for more than one day, right? It’s free admission to the mansion for this 226th anniversary of becoming the 16th state to join the Union.


There’s still more music at First Friday Jazz at the Beck, 7:30 p.m. at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Ave. Drummer Justice Michael will be featured; Brian Clay is the host.


And head south for even more music. The Pickin’ on Nature Bluegrass Concert with the Alex Leach Band is coming to the Ijams Nature Center lawn Saturday. Doors open at 4 p.m., with an open jam 5:15-6 p.m., True Blue 6:15-7 p.m. and the Alex Leach Band 7-8 p.m. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the Ijams Beer Garden and good eats from the Noodles food truck.

Betsy Pickle is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys spotlighting Downtown, South and East Knoxville.


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