KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With Knoxville recently being ranked in the top 50 markets for concerts, performers and booking agents alike have taken notice. Tourism experts say some entertainment acts have booked performances years in advance already.
Kim Bumpas with Visit Knoxville shared what may seem like a sudden surge in concerts to the area is actually the culminating work of those running the venues, the booking agents, and ticket sales.
“When you put all of that together and then you land a big concert like a Paul McCartney you can show the promoters that from the different concertgoers that Knoxville’s the place to be,” said Bumpas. “I think that puts you on a map and then the floodgates just start opening.”
Just like Paul McCartney put Thompson-Boling Arena on the map, Becky Hancock with the Tennessee Theatre says that’s what Hamilton has done for them.
“Biggest Broadway show that’s ever come to Knoxville, it was the longest run that we had ever done, so 2 weeks, a total of 16 performances, they all sold out,” Hancock said.
Those headlining acts also mean money in the pockets of local business owners, but they know the climate can change quickly.
“Lots of factors can have an impact on touring, like the pandemic, economic downturn, sometimes people will choose to curtail their spending,” Hancock added.
For now, they’ll enjoy the ride, adding East Tennesseans have a lot to look forward to in the coming years.
“I can tell you there are acts looking at Knoxville, I’m not dropping names here today,” said Bumpas, adding that they’re booking acts through 2026 already.
“From concerts, to how the Tennessee Theatre is looking at Broadway, to future sporting events,” she said. “This is the last year for USA Cycling, but we have USA Diving in ’24, these are things that put us on the map.”