KINGSPORT, Tenn. -- Award-winning country stars Diamond Rio, more than 40 unique craft beers and barbecue. That’s exactly what the sixth annual Racks by the Tracks Festival in Kingsport will be providing on Saturday, May 18, noon to 11 p.m.
A news release from organizers said, "After five successful years and with over 9,500 people in attendance last year, Racks is growing again. In addition to beer and ribs, the headlining band is Grammy award winning Diamond Rio. Since forming in 1984, Diamond Rio has accumulated numerous awards, 13 Grammy Nominations and been named Vocal Group of the Year six times (ACM, CMA). Since the group’s debut single ‘Meet in the Middle ‘ in 1991, hits such as ‘Beautiful Mess ‘ and ‘One More Day ‘ have landed the band a spot on the Billboard charts 33 times.
“Kanishka Biddanda, festival founder, says ‘Our community has blessed our little festival by growing with us year after year. From the 450 attendees our first year to the over 9,500 last year, our community has helped our festival give away tens of thousands of dollars to local non-profits. As a way to say thank you, we want to invest in our community’s quality of life by bringing a major draw like Diamond Rio to our region. We are excited for families and young professionals to enjoy these incredible performers. ‘
“Opening for Diamond Rio will be Mississippi Hall of Famer Webb Wilder, the well-known roots-rocker. Vintage Guitar Magazine writes, ‘If Webb Wilder and his band are passing within 300 miles of your town, don't miss them! ‘
“The festival lineup opens with blues legend Mac Arnold at 12:00pm, includes The Billy Crawford Band and closing the festival will be local favorite Benny Wilson. The concert ticket is $10. Entrance to the concert area requires a ticket, which can be purchased online at http://www.RacksByTheTracks.com or at any Food City store.
“The festival, held at the Farmers Market in Kingsport, Tenn., includes a craft beer tasting featuring over 40 craft beers not available locally. This year, the event has been completely upgraded. The tasting area has now doubled in size – half of it indoors and half of it outdoors. Also, nearly 80 percent of the beers attendees will sample have never been featured at the festival before. For those looking for an even more profound experience, an exclusive high gravity beer tasting will be available. Some breweries will even be brewing up special, one-time only Racks by the Tracks Festival brews. Each participant receives a souvenir tasting glass.
“The beer tasting, from 2-7 p.m., has sold out the past five years, so those interested should buy their tickets well in advance. Tickets are $35. The Racks by the Tracks Facebook page will keep participants up-to-date on all participating breweries.
“For those looking to fill their stomachs before sitting back to enjoy the show, the BBQ Cook-Off Competition will give attendees an opportunity to taste the best barbecue from local restaurants and individuals. Each attendee at the festival can cast a vote in 4 different People’s Choice categories.
“Families may come listen to great music, eat great food and let the kids enjoy time in the free Kid’s Station, sponsored by Leaping Lizards. Kids will have a blast bouncing around in the large inflatables, as well as having their faces painted and other activities.
“Festivities also include the Racks by the Tracks SPF 5K Race & Kid’s Mile presented by Dermatology Associates. Proceeds from the 5K go to The Skin Cancer Foundation. Also, Dermatology Associates will be providing free skin cancer screenings on June 11 from 5:30pm-8:00pm. Registration for the races are available on the festival’s website.
“‘We are excited to be adding the 5K race to the festival. Through the race, Dermatology Associates are offering their services at no cost to provide free skin cancer testing to those who are not able to afford it,‘ says James Phillips. ‘And for runners, this is a very flat course which should make for fast times. ‘
“The festival grounds are free and food can be purchased at menu prices. Concert tickets are $10. The craft beer tasting and concert ticket combo is $35. The limited quantity High Gravity Beer Tasting ticket is $45 and provides access to the concert, craft beer tasting, and the high gravity section.
“Keep posted on the festivities by joining the Racks by the Tracks Facebook page, as well as visiting the website. While entrance to the festival is free, all partakers must have a ticket to get access to the special events.
“Proceeds benefit several regional non-profit organizations including Sullivan County Humane Society, Relay for Life, Keep Kingsport Beautiful, Downtown Kingsport Association, and Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.”