Second Bell brings party back to South Waterfront

Betsy PickleOur Town Arts, South Knox

Ding! Ding! Ding! It’s time to get your festival on! Second Bell hits Knoxville’s South Waterfront Saturday, Aug. 17, with two stages of music – the BLANK stage and the MACKIE stage – running from noon to 10 p.m.

Twelve acts will perform on the alternating stages throughout the day, with short breaks in between. Like a slow-motion tennis match, audiences will bounce from one end of the festival lawn to the other at Suttree Landing Park, 1001 Waterfront Drive, adjacent to the Tennessee River.

It’s a concept that organizer Rusty Odom of BLANK newspaper introduced at the inaugural Second Bell fest in 2018. Odom previously co-produced BLANKFest in Market Square for three years, so (fingers crossed) the second Second Bell should go off without a hitch.

(Actually, there were very few hitches at the first Second Bell, the biggest one being the patchy rain that eventually turned into a thunderstorm and curtailed the final act. It wasn’t really anything the Second Bell team had control over.)

Tim and Susan Lee will perform as Bark. at the second Second Bell. (Photo from the Bark. website)

The lineup at Second Bell ranges from local to regional – though not necessarily this region. Local legends will be hard at work, with Susan and Tim Lee performing as Bark. (following Texan Daniel Markham’s opening set) and Mic Harrison & the High Score and LiL iFFy coming on strong at dinnertime. In between you can hear Ben Dickey, the Royal Hounds, Three Star Revival, The Brummies, Benji. and Cereus Bright. Wrapping up the fest will be Illiterate Light and Devon Gilfillian.

Links to songs by the artists are at You do not want to miss Gilfillian.

It’s an eclectic mix of music, from singer-songwriters to various degrees of rock to rap disguised as “wandcore” to soul. Plus, the Filling Station Stage opens at 4:30 p.m., offering comedy and the Knox Fringe Showcase.

There will be food and libation vendors, and there’s a host of good eateries on nearby Sevier Avenue, if you need a break.

General and VIP admission options are available. Children under 8 are admitted free.

Gates open at 11 a.m. Be mindful that the site adjoins a neighborhood and that residents would appreciate your consideration. There’s a convenient parking garage on Blount Avenue right off the Gay Street Bridge and other parking areas along Sevier Avenue. Shuttles will pick up regularly. The map on the website shows the route, and it also has a list of items that can’t be brought onto the festival grounds, including chairs, drones and weapons.

2018’s Second Bell featured beautiful weather, part of the time. (File photo by Betsy Pickle)

The natural landscaping of Suttree Landing Park makes Second Bell feel like an escape. (File photo by Betsy Pickle)

At the 2018 Second Bell, clouds increased as the sun set. (File photo by Betsy Pickle)




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