That got your attention, huh?
As evidence I submit my venture to Sundown in the City on Thursday.Â Sundown in the City is a series of outdoor concerts put on each summer in Market Square.Â There’s no charge for admission, and they draw insane crowds.Â I haven’t been to Sundown in the City in a couple of years, but I went on Thursday to see Robert Earl Keen.Â Huge crowd, and an unbelievable amount of smokers.
Before I go any further…I don’t care if you smoke.Â You have every right to do so, and I think the ban on smoking inside is a bunch of crap.Â It’s your body-trash it if you want to.Â If I don’t want to be around it, I can (and do) choose not to be around it.Â That problem is easily solved.
But I didn’t realize that so many people still smoke.Â What is this, 1978?Â Maybe they were smoking so much because they aren’t allowed to do it inside anymore?Â Maybe they are all nervous about the fact that gas and food prices are so high?Â Maybe they spent the money they would have spent on fuel for this years family vacation on cigarettes since they wouldn’t be able to go anywhere this year?
I don’t know.Â But I started thinking that, while gases prices are high, they aren’t so high that people can’t afford the luxury of cooking themselves from the inside.Â I mean, this is literally just burning money, and a lot of it.Â To be fair, I didn’t hear anyone complaining about gas prices in between puffs, but I’d bet dollars to donuts that some of them had complained in the last 24 hours, probably the last time they filled up and bought a pack of smokes.
So as high as prices are, I think we’ll survive–at least long enough to demand in our old age that someone give us free health care to take care of all those problems caused by smoking.
If you aren’t local to Knoxville, you probably haven’t heard of Sundown in the City. If you are local to Knoxville and haven’t heard of Sundown in the City, I’d make the case that you aren’t really local. The quick skinny is this–it’s a series of outdoor concerts held downtown that features acts that are longer on talent than they are on notoriety. There is no fee for entry–cost is covered by sponsors and the the City.
The music is great, but many of the acts continue to be underappreciated by the KTown crowd. That’s because the social component of SITC is just as big, if not bigger, than the music. The sell beer, so you inevitably end up with pockets of people who all know each other standing around gossiping about their mutual friends who didn’t make it to Sundown that week. The loud music in the background is borderline distracting to them. It also offers the “pretend-we-live-in-Greenwich-Connecticut” crowd from West Knoxville and Farragut the chance to come see how the “pretend-we-live-in-Greenwich-Village” downtown crowd rolls.
One of my friends contends that he is more or less required to go every week since his taxes go to support it. And to him, Sundown in the City and Boomsday are the only two legitimate functions of City government.
Anyway, this year’s lineup has been announced. There are a couple of must sees on here for me (Robert Earl Keen and The Presidents of the United States of America) and a couple of others I’ll go check out if I have the time, which I probably won’t. If I’m lucky there will be a group of people standing around gossiping about me.
April 17: Galactic with Garage Deluxe
April 24: Susan Tedeschi with Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere
May 1: Umphrey’s McGee
May 8: Josh Ritter and the Hackensaw Boys
May 15: North Mississippi All Stars
May 22: The Presidents of the United States of America with Cutthroat Shamrock
May 29: Robert EarlKeen with Jypsi June
June 5: (not yet booked)
June 12: Citizen Cope
June 19: Marc Broussard with Erick Baker
June 26: The Everybodyfields and Amy LaVere
July 3: The Wild Magnolias