KNOXVILLE, TN — Visit Knoxville, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Born & Raised Productions, will host a four-part concert series “Sunsphere Sundays” at World’s Fair Park in October. The live music series kicks off Sunday, October 10 with pop rockers COIN. Concerts continue through Sunday, October 31 with American folk rock band Dawes, Brooklyn-based country artists The Lone Bellow, and eight-piece soul band St. Paul and The Broken Bones (respectively). Tickets start at just $10. Shows are sold individually. Tickets went on sale Friday, September 10th at 10am EST. A portion of all sales benefit the Sunsphere Fund. For tickets and information, visit sunspheresundays.com.
The Sunsphere has served as an iconic feature of the Knoxville skyline since it was built for the 1982 World’s Fair. Like other World’s Fair structures including the Eiffel Tower (1889) and the Seattle Space Needle (1962), Knoxville’s Sunsphere is the only structure of its kind in the world. The Sunsphere Sundays Concert Series informally kicks off the 40th anniversary celebration of the Knoxville World’s Fair taking place in May 2022. Concertgoers can expect some surprises throughout the four-part series.
“We are thrilled to host this series with our state tourism partners,” said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville. “Countless people from all over the world have special memories of live concerts at World’s Fair Park. It feels good to bring back the music and to do so in a way that is safe for the artists, the concertgoers and all involved. The fact that two of the four concerts fall on University of Tennessee home football weekends is a bonus and something we hope will encourage an extended stay for visiting fans.”
Visit Knoxville partnered with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development to sponsor the series as part of ongoing efforts to aid Tennessee’s music, tourism and hospitality industries’ recovery from pandemic-induced losses. Knoxville-based Born & Raised Productions will produce the events. Earlier this year, Born & Raised successfully produced one of the first large outdoor concerts since the onset of the pandemic with Moon Taxi at World’s Fair Park. COVID-19 protocols were in place for that concert and, consistent with other live music events in Knoxville, will be in place for this series. Full details are available at sunspheresundays.com.
>“We are thrilled to be working with Visit Knoxville and Tennessee Department of Tourist Development to bring live music back to Knoxville,” said Garrett Thomson, Co-Owner of Born & Raised Productions. “It’s great to see the state’s partnership in live music in a year that has been such a volatile time for those of us working in this industry. We cannot wait to spend Sundays with everyone at World’s Fair Park.”
“The Soundtrack of America is made in Tennessee. We’re excited to see our stages and venues welcome fans and artists safely back to doing what they love,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Tourism is vital to our state’s economy. Bringing live music back to theatres, streets, stages and venues like World’s Fair Park is an important step in restoring this industry. We’re grateful to Visit Knoxville and all who helped bring the Sunsphere Sundays concert series to life.”
The concert series will be promoted alongside Visit Knoxville’s current “nature-loving-adventure-seeking-artsy-kinda-town” digital media campaign, targeting visitors in key drive markets as well as locals. The goal is to benefit not only the Sunsphere Fund but have a positive impact on the economy through increased hotel occupancy, dining, and additional attraction experiences. A similar series was hosted recently in Memphis as part of an overarching effort to bring visitors back to a state known around the world for multiple genres of music.
Visit Knoxville created the Sunsphere Fund with support from Knox County and the City of Knoxville in 2019 to preserve and maintain this historic structure. Monies from the fund are utilized for ongoing enhancements to the experience on the 4th floor Observation Deck. The goal is to protect and preserve the structure for the enjoyment of groups and individuals for generations to come. The fund is operated and overseen by Visit Knoxville. The Sunsphere is owned by the City of Knoxville and promoted like other attractions by Visit Knoxville.