By: John McDonald
Photos: Groovelive/Shea Jarman
Rhythm n’ Blooms Festival showcased the beautiful Old City district of Knoxville, with the amazingly intuitive architecture as well as the serene natural canvas of the Botanical Gardens. Walking down Jackson Avenue, you can find all fashions of locals participating in making the festivities reflect the robust spirit of art that Knoxville is home to. It is not unusual to come upon a street side circus, full with whimsical juggling clowns, entrancing dance groups, and the feats of acrobatics of Frédéric Leyd and others. (Click on images to enlarge)
The local high school also had the opportunity to challenge some of there up and coming artist with the second annual Rhythm N’ Blooms Guitar Design Contest, in which participating schools hosted internal competitions to design a Les Paul electric guitar donated by Epiphone.
The winners of each school were put into a silent auction hosted at The Village (a haven for food trucks and several band’s merchandise tents). This festival also happens to include the first Friday of the month, which is a time when the businesses in the Old City and the surrounding area open there doors and invite all in for free art gallery viewings and free wine tasting which only adds to the local talent that the community brings to Rhythm n’ Blooms.
For the first two days of the three day music festival the unique bars, restaurants, local shops, and the outdoor Viaduct Stage hosted many talented musician that share ties to the Knoxville’s musical heritage. Each of the venues presents it’s own personal aura. In Remedy Coffee while enjoying the Americana styles of Cereus Bright, one feels humble social vibes created with soft lighting and the delicious aromas of regionally roasted coffee bean drifting through the air.
While in Barley’s Taproom you can enjoy a their locally prized pizza and one of the several brews on tap, but when the sun starts to go down the stage starts gearing up for the honed skills of Tim Lee 3 or the staggering lyrical talent of Dangermuffin. The stage that stole the show though was the Viaduct Stage with beautifully lit stage, several food trucks that provide a wide array of cuisine, and a Door Slam art competition where the local artists demonstrate there talents.
Performances form the ever eccentric David Mayfield Parade, to the lyrical prowess of Scott Miller & The Commonwealth, to Langhorne Slim and The Law performing with such intense emotional energy, busting a couple strings on a banjo is to be expected.
On the last day of the Rhythm n’ Blooms Festival you bid adieu to the multiple venues of Jackson Avenue, hop on the charming trolley, and shuttle off to the final venue, Knoxville’s majestic Botanical Gardens. Getting off the trolley one’s welcomed by lush green grass, flowering trees, the sounds of children and adults laughing, singing and dancing. All the wonderful food trucks that were sprinkled along Jackson Ave the day prior are now all gathered together for the finale day. The performances that go from one in the afternoon to ten in the evening features such alluring artist as Ben Sollee with his unique mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz, and R&B; and The Black Lillies playing country and blues deeply rooted in the Appalachian Mountains. Finally closing the night with a gifted singer and songwriter named Brett Dennen. His playful and carefree personalty on stage is also felt through his folk and pop hybrid style of music that leaves attendants with a pleasant smile as they rode the trolley’s back exchanging experiences with fellow travelers.