Michael Samstag was already working on a new Knoxville film festival, an outgrowth of Knoxville Films' 24-Hour Film Festival, when a chance meeting with Andrea Kerns of Midnight Voyage Productions a few months ago inspired him to add a week-long music festival to the lineup.
"I told her we were really looking to expand the music side of things, and she's like, ‘I've always wanted to do a funk festival,'" Samstag says. "I said, I've got a film festival, you've got a music festival—let's combine them and do something really big."
The result is the Knoxville Film and Music Festival, which starts this week with nine days of music from more than 90 artists in 10 different venues around downtown. The lineup features local music and touring performers and a dizzying variety of genres—rock, country, EDM, jazz, blues, and hip-hop. There are shows in bars, clubs, and in three outdoor venues: the Old City Courtyard, where British dubstep star Flux Pavilion will headline the week's highest-profile event; the Market Square stage, which will host the annual Bob Dylan Birthday Bash on Friday, June 7; and World's Fair Park, home to the KnoxGives fund-raiser festival and its eight hours of live local music. There's even a battle of the bands—the Preservation Pub's long-running Band Eat Band contest reaches the semifinal round this week as part of the festival.
"The only thing we're missing is classical music," Samstag says. "We'll get that next year."
The music segment of the Knoxville Film and Music Festival starts on Saturday, June 1, and runs through Sunday, June 9. Weekly passes are $25; VIP passes, which include admission to Flux Pavilion and local pop-punk band On My Honor's CD release show at the Blackstock Exchange, are $50. General admission passes for the full music and film festival are also $50. Admission for single events ranges from $10-$25. For more info, visit knoxvillefilms.com.