Knoxville's Rossini Festival to remain on Gay Street

Knoxville's Rossini Festival to remain on Gay Street

Posted:
Gay Street has been home to the Rossini Festival since 2001. Gay Street has been home to the Rossini Festival since 2001.
"We were able to come to an agreement that will allow the festival to stay here, and we're very excited about that," said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. "We were able to come to an agreement that will allow the festival to stay here, and we're very excited about that," said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero.
"We're delighted to have their support to keep the Rossini Festival right where it started on Gay Street," said Brian Salesky, executive director and conductor of the Knoxville Opera. "We're delighted to have their support to keep the Rossini Festival right where it started on Gay Street," said Brian Salesky, executive director and conductor of the Knoxville Opera.
Hosted by the Knoxville Opera, the free annual festival and international street fair has been held on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville for the past 12 years. Hosted by the Knoxville Opera, the free annual festival and international street fair has been held on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville for the past 12 years.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knoxville's long-standing Rossini Festival is staying put.

Hosted by the Knoxville Opera, the free annual festival and international street fair has been held on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville for the past 12 years.

Talks were underway to move the event to a new venue due to safety concerns for the high number of people who attend, but after working on some changes with the city, Rossini isn't going anywhere.

"We were able to come to an agreement that will allow the festival to stay here, and we're very excited about that," said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero.

Gay Street has been home to the Rossini Festival since 2001.

The city had considered moving it to nearby Henley Street due to those public safety concerns.

The event, packed with singing, musical performances, international food and shopping, draws nearly 100,000 people annually to Gay Street, which is already much more congested now than when Rossini started.

"There weren't as many people living here or businesses open. It wasn't so much of an inconvenience or so much of a safety issue," said Rogero.

Because it is such a legacy event for Knoxville, the city and Knoxville Opera met to make the necessary changes to allow the festival to remain where it always has been, including guaranteed access for emergency vehicles.

"We're delighted to have their support to keep the Rossini Festival right where it started on Gay Street," said Brian Salesky, executive director and conductor of the Knoxville Opera.

Salesky says Rossini just wouldn't be the same held anywhere else.

"This is the premiere street. It's where our theaters are. We perform here, and it's where people want to be. It's where it's happening," said Salesky.

The opera is glad to offer the massive entertainment event to festival-goers who look forward to the event every year.

"I want to make sure that the people have what they have come to expect and enjoy through these many many years," said Salesky.

The 13th Annual Rossini Festival and International Street Fair will take place along Gay Street on Saturday, April 12, 2014.

The Knoxville Opera says while the event is a lot of fun, it's really an educational opportunity disguised as a street fair.

People have the chance to learn all about the arts, not only opera, but a number of other styles of music as well.

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