Sundown in the City concert series to scale back

Sundown in the City moves from 12 shows to five this spring

Angie Mitchell , left, and Jamie Swanson raise their arms to the music of Dishwater Blonde during the Sundown in the City concert series at Market Square Thursday. Mitchell is the wife of Dishwater Blonde lead singer Davis Mitchell.

Photo by Saul Young // Buy this photo

Angie Mitchell , left, and Jamie Swanson raise their arms to the music of Dishwater Blonde during the Sundown in the City concert series at Market Square Thursday. Mitchell is the wife of Dishwater Blonde lead singer Davis Mitchell.

Angie Mitchell , left, and Jamie Swanson raise their arms to the music of Dishwater Blonde during the Sundown in the City concert series at Market Square Thursday. Mitchell is the wife of Dishwater Blonde lead singer Davis Mitchell.

Photo by Saul Young

Angie Mitchell , left, and Jamie Swanson raise their arms to the music of Dishwater Blonde during the Sundown in the City concert series at Market Square Thursday. Mitchell is the wife of Dishwater Blonde lead singer Davis Mitchell.

How do you feel about the changes for Sundown in the City?

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There will be a little less celebration in downtown Knoxville this spring as the free concert series Sundown in the City scales back from 12 shows to five.

"We plan to do fewer events, but do them really, really well," said Ashley Capps, president of AC Entertainment, which promotes the event. "We're continuing with it, but we're not stuck in the model of presenting it for 12 consecutive weeks."

The concert series is held on Thursdays on Market Square. This year's series will be presented on April 22, May 6 and 20, and June 3 and 17. No artists for the series have been booked yet.

Capps said both the event's popularity and the many new businesses that have opened in downtown Knoxville have made the event more difficult to stage.

Some merchants have complained that the event interferes with normal business. City residents have sometimes complained about the noise and the crowds as well.

"It's not our decision," said Capps. "It's a community event and it requires 100 percent participation with the downtown merchants, the city and sponsors to pull it off effectively.

"We've been in dialogue with the city and the downtown merchants. No one wants it to go away."

Sundown in the City has become one of Knoxville's success stories. The event began from just one show on Market Square in 1998 celebrating the release of the album "Just Add Ice" - the debut disc of popular Knoxville rock band the V-Roys.

Sundown in the City - which regularly features nationally known acts with local artists as openers - eventually expanded to 25 shows in 2002. The weekly event frequently draws 10,000 or more music fans. A 2005 concert by Steve Winwood drew an estimated 12,000.

Although the city of Knoxville initially helped fund the event, Sundown in the City became self-sustaining through sponsorships and money raised from food and beer sales. Regal Entertainment is the presenting sponsor for 2010.

"It's been a tremendous success, and it's had a critical and productive role in the evolution of downtown Knoxville," Capps said of the concert series.

Wayne Bledsoe may be reached at 865-342-6444.

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Comments » 14

utenn99#317883 writes:

first

MrBigisBudGood writes:

Nobody goes anymore because it's too crowded
-second!

BrassMonkey writes:

That really stinks. Few things welcome the beginning of spring like live music on the Square.

dodgert59 writes:

Nobody goes anymore because its too crowded?
Did you really just say that...

SaintDeacon187 writes:

I normally don't post comments to stories...but with this one, I could not resist. This could possibly be the dumbest thing I've heard in a long time; it's borderline infuriating. It's ironic that when these yuppies who live in their $250,000 condos downtown (when they don't feel like driving to their homes to Sequoyah Hills) start complaining about noise and cigarettes and blah, blah, blah and now the series might as well be destroyed. How are you supposed to remember when the shows are now? No longer will you think, 'Hey, it's Thursday...let's go to Sundown.' This reasoning about the large number of people in market square making it 'tough to run normal business' is absolutely laughable. More people = more business for market square. Also, it's an evening event, so which businesses who are opened at night (bars/restaurants) would be complaining? Do you have any idea what Preservation Pub pulls in on a Thursday in the spring/summer? I'm sure it's an absurd amount...and that goes for every business down there. What a shame. But where will the teenagers go to smoke cigarettes now? Ha. What a loss for the city of Knoxville. I don't think I will be attending any more Sundowns, apparently, they don't want me down there anyway and I would ask those of you who are as dissappointed in this decision to do the same.

unwieldywildey writes:

2005 set the high-water mark for this series. Hard to argue that the quality of the line ups hasn't declined a little bit every year since. Also, the acoustics in Market Square are terrible. The sound just bounces off of the brick and glass. Getting a beer is a pain: stand in line to buy a bracelet, stand in a different line to buy tickets, stand in yet another line to exchange those tickets for a somewhat flat, somewhat warm beer. Drink two of those ($8) and then you've got to stand in line forever to use a port-a-john. So you have to choose one or the other don't you? Spend all your time trying to drink two beers and not pee your pants thereby missing the show OR watch the show sober and realize that it sounds terrible. The idea of a free concert series in Market Square is great in theory. In practice it's something altogether different. If I feel the urge to join a drunken throng of the great unwashed, I will have ample opportunities on Saturdays in the Fall.

alex37918#577212 writes:

"Some merchants have complained that the event interferes with normal business." What is normal business on a thursday night in market square, like 20 people. That is complete bs.

Cash writes:

at least it's heading in the right direction, like ending it. I went once. that was enough for me. so crowded I didn't enjoy myself. throwing 1000's of people in basically an alleyway. the businesses got what they wanted from it.

when they had shows at the lawn of the World's Fair site, now that was nice. plenty of room, open air, sitting in the grass. and it could handle all the people easily.

I sent an email to AC once concerning this. I was told they still had shows there. I must have missed the advert.

kevansrich writes:

The actual creators of Sundown in the City might take issue with this article's assertion of the first event being in 1998.

Karen Hand, local Knoxvillian and the founder of City People, remembers standing outside in the mid-80s with Lee Walker, one of the owners of City Times magazine and president of City People at the time, trying to "catch the color of the sun with the PMS Ink Guide." Lee designed the flyer for that iteration of Sundown in the City, initiated and sponsored in part (or entirely) by City People. Lee went on to become Creative Director and later Vice President of Marketing for Target.

Life in downtown Knoxville has definitely been evolutionary. It's just that we may not all agree on precisely where to plant each (or any) of the mileposts.

MrBigisBudGood writes:

in response to dodgert59:

Nobody goes anymore because its too crowded?
Did you really just say that...

I never said most of the things I said

knoxnews#274515 writes:

in response to kevansrich:

The actual creators of Sundown in the City might take issue with this article's assertion of the first event being in 1998.

Karen Hand, local Knoxvillian and the founder of City People, remembers standing outside in the mid-80s with Lee Walker, one of the owners of City Times magazine and president of City People at the time, trying to "catch the color of the sun with the PMS Ink Guide." Lee designed the flyer for that iteration of Sundown in the City, initiated and sponsored in part (or entirely) by City People. Lee went on to become Creative Director and later Vice President of Marketing for Target.

Life in downtown Knoxville has definitely been evolutionary. It's just that we may not all agree on precisely where to plant each (or any) of the mileposts.

There may have been another event or series with the same name, but the two aren't connected.

What did the mid-80s version consist of? This is some Knoxville history I'm not aware of.

jww writes:

If you like & enjoy this series do not shop at Vagabondia. The owner, that chic who is usually slurring her words by 7pm started all this last year. Go in any night after 7 and see the ZERO customers in her store.
It's simple if you like and support Sundown do not support Vagabondia.
In my opinion this is the best way to send those businesses the message they made a mistake.

DidiFan writes:

Knoxville's own Didi Benami just made it into the finals of this season's American Idol!! Go Didi!! What a great voice and a great person. Hooray for Knoxville talent!

amysue1578 writes:

What kind of person moves to downtown any city and complains about noise??? Not to be rude but for lack of a better word that seems moronic. Thanks for moving downtown and complaining about noise (when that is what a downtown is all about) and messing up a good thing for the rest of the town.

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