Rossini Festival to Stay on Gay Street

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Rossini Festival to Stay on Gay Street

Posted: 11/20/2013
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knoxville Opera Executive Director/Conductor Brian Salesky announced today that the City of Knoxville and Knoxville Opera have reached an agreement that will keep the annual Rossini Festival and International Street Fair along Gay Street.

While the festival had been held on Gay Street since its inception in 2001, City officials had recently begun to explore other sites for the event due to Gay Street's robust commercial and residential activity. The City revisited its road closure policy and, with the exception of this long-standing annual event, will no longer allow protracted closures of this main corridor.

City officials also sought the changes to improve public safety, emergency response and operations at the festival.

Some of the changes included guaranteeing access for emergency vehicles; ensuring proper post-event cleanup; and holding an annual meeting after each festival to debrief and make any necessary adjustments for the future.

"The Rossini Festival has brought hundreds of thousands of people downtown for more than a dozen years now," Mayor Rogero said. "We are pleased we were able to work together so that it will remain a legacy event on a premier downtown street."

"We are happy to work with the City and make the necessary changes to accommodate public safety and operational concerns," said Salesky.

Knoxville Opera's 13th Annual Rossini Festival and International Street Fair will be held on Saturday, April 12, 2014. The Fair will fill South Gay Street between Summit Hill Drive and Cumberland Avenue, Market Street between Wall and Cumberland, including Market Square, and Wall, Union, Clinch, and Church Avenues between Gay Street and Walnut Street.

Street Fair activities customarily include four outdoor entertainment stages running simultaneously for 10 hours, featuring classical, popular and ethnic music performed by instrumental groups, choirs, and vocal soloists. There are also dance ensembles, a Children's FunZone, and opportunities to enjoy American and international cuisine while shopping at more than 100 arts and crafts booths.

"Thanks to the support of Mayor Rogero, the Festival's initial and ongoing sponsors, Dr. and Mrs. Monroe Trout, corporate sponsors, and the enthusiastic participation of 25,000 to 100,000 annual attendees, it is our pleasure to continue presenting this gift to our community," said Salesky.

Knoxville Opera is the only opera company in the world presenting a free-admission Street Fair in celebration of the arts.

This year's Festival will feature Knoxville Opera's premiere production of Bellini's bel canto masterpiece Norma, all of whose principal artists will be performing at the Street Fair on the outdoor Opera Stage. Performances of Norma will take place on April 11 and 13 at the Tennessee Theatre. For tickets to all Knoxville Opera productions, visit or call 865-524-0795.