Possibly the biggest – and loudest – concert of the year will be tonight’s free Knoxville Symphony Orchestra show at the Festival on the Fourth on the Performance Lawn at World’s Fair Park. Seriously, who else around here gets to wrap up a concert with a booming fireworks display?
The KSO 35th Annual Free Pilot Flying J Independence Day Concert, which starts at 8 p.m., is the capper of a day of free fun for all ages at World’s Fair Park. Activities start at 4 p.m. and will be held rain or shine. Fireworks should commence around 9:40 and end by 10. (Then, the traffic jam begins.)
KSO Music Director Aram Demirjian will conduct the orchestra on a lineup that includes “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the “Armed Forces Salute” – a medley that pays tribute to members and veterans of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard – and Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” – cue the cannons! KSO also will perform familiar John Williams pieces from such flag-waving films as “Saving Private Ryan” and “Apollo 13.”
Tchaikovsky wrote the “1812 Overture” to commemorate Russia’s heroic defense against the invasion of Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops that year. We can thank the late Arthur Fiedler of the Boston Pops for making it a fixture in Independence Day concerts.
Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs. The concert and fireworks will be aired live on WBIR, Channel 10, 8-10 p.m.
If you don’t feel like dealing with the heat or the crowds, head over to Theatre Knoxville Downtown, 800 S. Central St., to see its current production, “45 Seconds From Broadway” by Neil Simon. Or check out “Circle Mirror Transformation” at the Flying Anvil, 1300 Rocky Hill Road.
More music is on tap downtown after the World’s Fair Park activities. The Ken Brown Quartet will play at Bistro at the Bijou, 807 S. Gay St., from 9 to 11 p.m. The Abbey Elmore Band will perform at 10 p.m. at Preservation Pub, 28 Market Square. Elmore is a singer-songwriter who blends indie pop and soulful rock, mixing originals with covers.
After Independence Thursday ends, First Friday begins. Several exhibits are opening at the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay St., with a multi-artist reception 5-9 p.m. You won’t want to miss Knoxville Photo 2019; “No Bigger Than a Breadbox: Biennial Small Works Show”; “Patsy White: The Locals”; “Dawn Hinesley Jones: Sacred Geometry: Intricately Designed Fused Glass Pieces”; and the Knoxville Community Darkroom Members Exhibition. All of the new exhibits run through July 26. The Emporium Center is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays (excluding holidays).
The UT Downtown Gallery is opening an exhibit celebrating the life and art of Carl Sublett (1919-2008) in the 100-year anniversary of his birth. Sublett was a noted painter and UT professor. More than 20 regional collectors have loaned works for the exhibit, which is free and open to the public. Friday’s event is 5 p.m.-9 p.m. The gallery’s normal hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
The Knoxville Visitors Center will feature local author and photographer Elle Colquitt on site from 4 to 6 p.m. Colquitt’s work includes breathtaking imagery of reflections.
With the First Friday Artwalk coming on the heels of Independence Day, arts and entertainment will be nonstop all weekend. Visit Knoxville and Downtown Knoxville have the lowdown on pretty much everything.