Knoxville to host free ‘JazzFest on Jackson’ this spring


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knoxville businesses affected by recent road closures are coming together to host a free music festival this spring.

Knoxville businesses along West Jackson Avenue will team up for the first annual JazzFest on Jackson, a fresh music festival concept intended to bring locals to the other side of the Old City. The free, family-friendly music and art celebration will take place along West Jackson Avenue on Sunday, April 26, from 12-7 p.m.

“The road closings have impacted all of the businesses on West Jackson Avenue, and we decided to get creative,” said Chris Ford, owner of Sweet P’s Downtown Dive. “We started by talking about how to bring the community together, and a festival just made sense. We love a block party, and the best thing to pair with really good local food and drink is really good music.”

The festival will encourage people to visit the area of West Jackson Avenue affected by ongoing construction. The cobblestone Jackson Avenue ramps and adjacent sidewalk are being replaced, as is the Broadway Avenue viaduct.

“We’ve all talked about wanting a different kind of music experience in Knoxville,” said Ford, who was the lead singer for the Knoxville-based band Gran Torino and is now a proprietor of a nationally acclaimed barbecue restaurant. “Think about that New Orleans flavor; it’s jazz, but it’s also blues and R&B. It’s unpretentious and approachable, and there is something for everyone.”

Live music will be held at three locations along West Jackson Avenue, including Sweet P’s outdoor Trailer Park space and The Standard, along with the main stage, beer garden and food in the adjacent parking lot.

The event will be annual, and the festival’s founders plan to expand upon the 2020 footprint.

A portion of the festival’s proceeds will be donated to BreastStrokes, a nonprofit combining women’s empowerment and art to provide financial support to cancer patients during treatment. For more information and artist announcements, visit

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