Knoxville, TN is proud to be a scruffy little city in the Southeast. We know it’s a great place to live.
Knoxville is also home to a strong–and proud–population.
Knoxville’s 2014 Pride Fest was held downtown at the World’s Fair Park, right in the shadow of Knoxville’s best landmark, the Sunsphere. This is a great location because security was tight without being intrusive, there were real public bathrooms nearby and not just port-a-pots (although those were there too), and it could accommodate a variety of crowd sizes without seeming too small or empty. I also appreciated the abundance of free parking within walking distance.
For a relatively small city, Knoxville always has a lot going on. On the day of Pride Fest, there was also a Wings Fest on the other side of the World’s Fair Park. A lot of people attended both. Since the Wings Fest charged admission (and I don’t eat meat anyway), we didn’t bother going into it. Luckily, the World’s Fair Park was plenty big enough to accommodate both festivals.
Unfortunately, Knoxville got hit by a big thunderstorm not long after Pride Fest kicked off this year. It poured and soaked everyone, lightning flashed in the sky, and thunder rumbled and shook the ground. A lot of people went and hid for shelter or postponed coming. Luckily, the storm passed, and actually cooled the weather down to make it a beautiful, comfortable evening. If you did still get hot, there were several tents set up handing out free water bottles.
The music this year was fantastic. I had never heard of Steve Grand before, but I enjoyed his set. He played a mix of original songs and covers. The main musical attraction, though, was the Indigo Girls. If you haven’t heard of the Indigo Girls, I’m so sorry that you’ve been missing out until now (go to their website). The Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, have been some of my favorite musicians since I was in high school. As it was a free concert, I only expected them to play for about half an hour. Instead, they stayed on stage for about an hour and a half. They played a good mix of fast and slow songs, old and new. With the southern sun setting overhead, the Indigo Girls filled Knoxville with their unique style of folk music. Put simply, it was wonderful.
In addition to the stage, a variety of stalls were set up with food, t-shirts, and a variety of other community businesses and causes. There was also a large picnic area and a children’s area with an array of outdoor toys to play with. In fact, there were a lot of families there with chlldren. The environment was very family friendly and welcoming. There were also dogs everywhere, especially puppies. I saw more cute puppies at Pride Fest than at a pet store.
Overall, Knoxville’s 2014 Pride Fest was a definite success, and fostered a really welcoming, community environment. I look forward to next year–especially if the Indigo Girls come back again.
For more information on the Knoxville 2014 Pride Fest, visit the official website.