(WBIR) Touted as the largest fireworks display on Labor Day weekend, Boomsday 2014 will feature big-name entertainment and a schedule different than years past.
Traditionally, Boomsday has happened on the Sunday before Labor Day. But this year, organizers decided to move the festival to Saturday, August 30th, to accommodate the University of Tennessee's football season opener scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 31.
"We've gotten a lot of coverage, regionally and nationally, about Boomsday so for Knoxville it's a good thing. It's 26-years-old, so it's not a baby. But it is time to kind of take it to the next level, I think, for those people who want to spend the entire day on the riverfront. And that's what prompted some of our changes," said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville.
Entertainment will kick off at 3 p.m. on Neyland Drive and Volunteer Landing in downtown Knoxville.
Fireworks will start at about 9 p.m. The show will be synchronized to a custom soundtrack thanks to Star 102.1 and will air on WBIR 10News.
People can watch the fireworks from several places throughout downtown Knoxville, but tickets are required to see the show from Neyland Drive. Tickets to the Neyland Drive viewing area will cost $20 per person. Children under 12 will get in for free. Tickets will go on sale June 16 at Boomsday.org. Concert performances are included in the price of admission.
"It's all about the program. And until you invest, until you have these customers, visitors, locals, and everyone invest in their event, you really can't grow the programming. And when I say programming, I'm talking about the concerts and the entertainment we can have on the waterfront," explained Bumpas.
East Tennessee native Rodney Atkins is set to perform that night. Adkins has an impressive track record with six number one hits from his first three albums, including his most recent smash, "Take a Back Road."
HOMEGROWN: Rodney Atkins
Local band "The Black Lillies" are also scheduled to perform. The band was recently named among Rolling Stone magazine's "10 New Artists You Need to Know: Summer 2014."
HOMEGROWN: The Black Lillies
Additional bands will perform on a second state including Native Run, who opened for John Hiatt and Lady Antebellum.To add to that impressive list, Ben Merrell from Fly Life Xtreme Productions will perform water stunts. You may remember Merrell from his performances on the popular TV show, "America's Got Talent."
"Ben is awesome. He is going to be doing shows I think every hour on the hour. He flies up in the air with his jets on his feet. It's all kind of managed by remote control. I watched it in person and I was extremely impressed," said Bumpas. "He's also got a couple of things he's going to add for the Boomsday show, where he may have someone that flies with him or he may teach some people here locally how to fly. And also he has a light suit which I think will be very entertaining to people."
Other activities and entertainment with happen throughout the day, including a free kids zone.
"We want to keep it family-friendly, but we also want this event to grow," said Bumpas. "This isn't a one-year plan. It's obviously going to take us several years to really get that entertainment bigger and better and everything we want. But for our first gated, ticketed event, this lineup is great."
Since 1988, the Boomsday Festival has brought hundreds of thousands of people to Knoxville for a day of food, fun, live music - and of course - fireworks.
Bumpas said in the past, an estimated 300,000 flock downtown for the holiday weekend festivities.
"It's really hard to say when it was a free event because you couldn't really track those numbers realistically, you could just look down there and go 'wow, that is a lot of people'," said Bumpas. "But this year, with the programmed area, we're going to really get a more actual count of who's coming to Boomsday, where they're from, why they like it. "
Bumpas said the event generates a lot of tax revenue, but by ticketing Boomsday, Visit Knoxville will have a better gauge of the economic impact.
"What we're hoping to do with this change is to grow what its impact is. Because honestly I don't know with the way it's been done in the past that we really know how many people were staying in hotel rooms, or eating in our restaurants," said Bumpas.
Tickets go on sale Monday, June 15th. For more information, check out Boomsday.org.