Crowds and businesses agree: The Rhythm N' Blooms festival in downtown Knoxville this year has been one for the history books.
By Saturday morning, the music festival sold more tickets than were sold the entire previous year’s festival, and there's still another full day of events to go.
It's estimated more than 15,000 people from across the country have shown up to enjoy themselves so far, and businesses in the Old City said there's no sign of that slowing.
“It’s been mind-blowing this weekend,” Pretentious Beer Company owner Matthew Cummings said. “This has been the most exciting, stressful, nerve racking weekend of the year, easily.”
Cummings opened the brewery and beer glass store in the Old City two years ago, and just five months ago he opened a second location on South Central Street.
“I would say 90 percent of the people coming through are first timers,” Cummings said.
Rhythm N’ Blooms program director Garrett Thomson credits this year’s turnout to high profile headliners, nearly perfect weather, and an overall growth in the festival’s name recognition across the region.
“The people come from all over. We have a lot of people from Asheville, Atlanta, and a lot of people from Nashville,” Thomson said. “The Old City has really blossomed over the last five or six years and has really grown into a space that can support this large of a festival. I feel like every year they come back it’s a brand new Old City.”
Cummings' stores are just two in a long list or recent renovations.
Other projects currently in the works will add more locations to next year’s festival.
“We’re in a renaissance in the Old City and we’ve got a beautiful little cultural hub,” Thomson said. “There’s just so much creativity on the glass side and on the beer side. Being able to add amazing and creative musicians to the mix is magical. There’s literally been a spark in the air this weekend.”
In addition to helping Knoxville’s restaurants, hotels and small businesses, Thomson says the festival is important for springboarding local talent.
“It makes a huge impact, not only for the different business owners, but for the artist that are performing,” Thomson said. “Almost half our lineup is local artists.”