Spring fling at Rhythm N Blooms

More than 12,000 people descended on the Old City over the weekend for Knoxville’s biggest music festival. Rhythm N Blooms, the Dogwood Arts Festival’s annual Americana blowout, took over several venues in the historic downtown neighborhood — and even created a few new ones, like a main stage under a freeway overpass that hosted headliners Mutemath, the Mavericks, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, and others. We even have the photos to prove it:

>> Photo Gallery: Rhythm N Blooms 2016
>> Photo Blog: Inside RNB’s “secret” shows 

 

Adventures in sound: Big Ears 2016

You don’t always have to travel to some far-flung destination to experience something new and adventurous — sometimes those experiences come to you. That was the case with Big Ears 2016, the latest installment of quirky music fest that took over downtown Knoxville in late March, transforming the otherwise ho-hum streets into an otherworldly soundscape. If most music festivals are centered on a genre, then Big Ears would be an anti-fest, a diverse collection of classically-trained musicians from across the sonic landscape.

>> Photo Gallery: Big Ears 2016

 

When the city plays landlord

The Knoxville Mercury cover story: Flip or FlopOver the past decade the city of Knoxville has spent millions to purchase properties nobody else wanted — from abandoned warehouses to overgrown, vacant homes — in the hopes of seeing them one day return to productive use. Most all of the nearly 190 properties bought up by the city were residential, though the vast majority of the $11.8 million in tax dollars it spent on a few big investments: a handful of former commercial and industrial buildings, and one old school house.

But the city isn’t holding on to these properties. Instead, it’s trying to flip them to investors—private developers with a vision, whether real estate tycoons or would-be homeowners, in an attempt to turn urban blight into something attractive, vibrant, and useful to residents and visitors. That’s the idea, at least. How’s it been working out so far?

>> Read the full story 

Blood Sport: UT frats battle at ‘Boxing Weekend’

cover_5KMXX01AXXXX_COLR.inddFraternities at the University of Tennessee have been getting together each year for nearly four decades to beat the crap out of each other in the boxing ring. There’s blood, there’s girls, there’s booze-soaked debauchery (though technically a dry event), and there’s bragging rights for those that emerge victorious from “Boxing Weekend.” Of the 65 contenders, only 13 will earn a weigh-class title and a championship belt. But all the pummeling has a silver lining that tends to shine gold: Proceeds from the three-day free-for-all go towards underwriting operations for the Golden Gloves Boxing Arena, an East Knoxville gym that mainly serves inner-city kids. Brian Canever put it in words. I snapped photos.

>> Read Canever’s story
>> Photo Gallery: UT Frats Battle at Boxing Weekend

A 24-hour diary of living homeless in Knoxville

Adrift: A 24-Hour Diary of Living Homeless in Knoxville. Words and photos by Clay Duda.For nearly two years now, Drew Krikau, 45, has lived homeless on the streets of Knoxville, Tennessee. He’s had two “permanent” living arrangements during that time, although when you’re living outside you quickly learn nothing is permanent—fortunes often ebb and flow with daily changes, and few things come easy.

Both of his more permanent homes were self‐made campsites erected in the dense brush of vacant lots close to the city’s core. But his camp and most everything he owned went up in flames on Christmas day, and since then he’s been hunting for a new safe place to rebuild.

His life story, the chain of events that left him homeless after getting out of jail in 2014, and his daily struggles are personal and unique, but they’re not unlike the trials faced by thousands of other men and women in Knoxville and other cities across the U.S.

This may be a day like any other. This is a day in the life of Drew Krikau.

>> Read the full story
>> Photo gallery: 24 hours on the street