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Will Stadium Be Appealing Draw to Musicians? 
Kali Uchis is one of many popular performers who like to book shows in medium-sized outdoor venues. (Photo courtesy of David Brendan Hall / www.DavidHallPhoto.com)

Kali Uchis is one of many popular performers who like to book shows in medium-sized outdoor venues. (Photo courtesy of David Brendan Hall / www.DavidHallPhoto.com)

When it opens in 2025, will the new City- and Knox County-owned multi-use stadium create a new niche for the entertainment industry of Knoxville?

When most people talk about Knoxville's new stadium, under construction in East Knoxville, next to the Old City, they tend to think of it as a baseball venue. Or possibly a place to watch One Knoxville SC soccer.

But with the flexibility to add seating on the field itself, the new stadium will accommodate 15,000 people for a concert – smaller than Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678 capacity) but larger than the Civic Coliseum (6,500).

With a new outdoor venue that's a different size, could Knoxville draw musicians and other performers who currently aren't booking shows here?

Matt Keaton, Marketing Manager of WUTK 90.3, a popular music station among UTK students, says yes and explains, “I think Knoxville is a desirable city because of our location. We’re basically three hours from several large markets, and routing acts through here just makes sense.”

Knoxville itself is considered a prime location for tours, advantageously positioned between Atlanta and Nashville. It can easily be an obvious extra stop for entertainers.

Entertainers who might hesitate to book a large arena also say yes by booking tour stops in venues that are about the same size as the new Knoxville stadium.

For example, Kali Uchis, a Grammy-nominated R&B singer and songwriter, would be an ideal candidate for booking here. In September, she had about 36 million monthly streams of her songs on Spotify alone, and she has been selling out stadiums this past year in the tour for her “Red Moon in Venus” album. On this tour, Uchis has booked at stadiums like Viejas Arena in San Diego (12,414 capacity) and the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nev. (16,800 capacity).

Also, Bert Kreischer, a trending comedian and podcast star, is currently on his “Tops Off World Tour” and would also be an ideal candidate to book here. He has garnered lots of fans from his numerous Netflix comedy specials and from his variety of podcasts, and he is now on the U.S. leg of his world tour and is maxing out all the stadiums he’s booked, including the State Farm Arena in Atlanta (16,888 capacity) and the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. (15,000 capacity).

These two entertainers are examples of the many who choose to perform venues seating roughly the 15,000 capacity of Knoxville’s newest venue.

So, as the Knoxville stadium girders go up and concrete is poured, it intrigues those wondering: Will a new-sized venue result in more musicians and entertainers booking shows here? Fans of performers who favor medium-sized outdoor stadiums certainly hope so.

- Reported by Sophia Milen, a University of Tennessee Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs Fellow, who is interning this semester with the City’s Communications Department
Posted by evreeland On 16 November, 2023 at 12:01 PM