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.
© 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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