A concert by country star Aaron Tippin, over 80 unique craft beers, more than 20 fine wines, and a wide variety of barbecue – this is what’s in store for attendees at the 11th annual Racks by the Tracks Festival on Saturday, May 19th.
With over 15,000 people attending Racks by the Tracks each year, the popular festival has become one of the most popular events in the Tri-Cities as it enters its 11th year.
This year’s headliner, Aaron Tippin, labeled as “the Hardest Workin’ Man in Country Music” is celebrating his 25th year as a Country Artist. In addition to the headliner this year, Racks is excited to welcome the Ultimate Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band – Tuesday’s Gone. From the signature Skynyrd sound, to the sheer raw power that the original band possessed, to the unmistakable look that they had, Tuesday’s Gone has every base covered. Tuesday’s Gone has been touring for over a decade and are the absolute closest you could hope to see and hear paying tribute to one of the greatest southern rock bands of all time.
Also performing this year are a popular duo from the Appalachian Mountains, If Birds Could Fly. Blending retro country, soul and rock & roll with an Appalachian accent, If Birds Could Fly have created a sound all their own. And opening the festival will be the band A Great Disaster. The Johnson City, TN band has a unique sound, citing folk, rock, Celtic, jazz, R&B, country, and classical styles among their influences. With over 60 original songs and jams, A Great Disaster incorporates a broad spectrum of sounds and styles that will make people get up and dance.
Kanishka Biddanda, festival founder, says, “Attendees come to our festival to sing along to their favorite songs, and also to discover their new favorite artists. From opening to close, this year’s lineup is the best we have ever had. These bands will provide great live performances that will make for a fun all-day outing with family & friends.”
Racks by the Tracks started their Wine Tasting Event just four years ago but, in that time, it has become one of the most popular events at the festival. Barefoot Wine became the title sponsor of the wine tasting last year and they return in 2018. With Barefoot’s help the wine selection will expand to over 20 varieties. Barefoot is the most awarded wine in the U.S. and they are serious about having fun and making quality wines that are affordable, of great quality, and perfect for any occasion! Barefoot offers 35 different types of wine from still wines, to bubblies, to spritzers. They range from dry to sweet, with a variety of reds, whites, and pinks.
Operating just like the beer tasting, each ticket will get attendees a commemorative wine tasting glass and access into the all-day concert. The wine tasting event is in the same area as the beer tasting event, so friends and families can spend time together while having tickets to different tastings.
Tickets to the wine tasting are exclusive as only 500 tickets are available, so readers are encouraged to order tickets well in advance.
CRAFT BEER TASTING
As the region’s original craft beer tasting event, Racks will again bring some of the best craft beer selections to the Tri-Cities. Part of what makes the Racks beer tasting so unique and fun is that the festival draws brewery representatives on-site who have never been to East Tennessee. In addition, being one of the top craft beer tasting events in the south, breweries plan months in advance to debut new & one-time only beer recipes at Racks’ well-attended beer tasting event.
In addition, there will be a wide slate of local breweries along with beers from all over the world. In total, there will be over 80 craft beers, including gluten-free & ciders, to sample throughout the day. The biggest change to this year’s festival is the merging of the Low and High Gravity tastings.
The Craft Beer Tasting Event runs from 2pm-7pm and is both indoors and outdoors at the Kingsport Farmers Market. Each attendee to the tasting receives a commemorative glass along with entry into the all-day concert.
10K & 5K RACE/WALK
Returning for it’s 6th year is the SPF 10K and 5K Race/Walk presented by Powell Valley National Bank. The race averages 650 runners per year. Along with the fun environment, one of the appealing draws of the SPF race is that its course is considered the fastest course in the region due to how consistently flat it is.
In 2018 the race course is further evolving to become even more for runners. The flat and fast portions of the race will only get better with the new loop through downtown Kingsport. This years new starting location will be the new Downtown Branch of Powell Valley National Bank at 240 W. Center St.
For runners seeking a challenging & unique test of stamina, they can sign-up for the Boss Hog Challenge, in which they run in both the 10K & 5K races and receive a limited-edition Boss Hog Challenger t-shirt for participating. Registration for all races are available at www.FastestRace.com.
BBQ & KID’S AREA
For those looking to enjoy great food, the BBQ Competition will give attendees an opportunity to taste the best barbecue from restaurants and teams from across the region. Each attendee can cast a vote in 5 different People’s Choice award categories. No ticket is required to access this section of the festival. Non-barbecue food vendors will also be on-site.
Kids have a section dedicated to them in the Quantum Leap Kid’s Station, which features large inflatables.
The festival has generated over $90,000 for local non-profits.
This year’s proceeds benefit several non-profit organizations including Relay for Life, Rotary Clubs of America, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, Girls Inc. and Boys and Girls Club of America.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit RacksByTheTracks.com or contact event organizers at (423) 863-3998.
The festival is sponsored by Food City, Bristol Broadcasting (96.9 WXBQ), Libation Station & Plaza Package, YeeHaw Brewing, Miller Lite, Barefoot Wine, AccuForce, Eastman Chemical Co., Sapporo Beer, Visit Kingsport, Powell Valley National Bank, Action Rentals, Barberitos of Kingsport, WCYB and VIP Seen.
- Noon and lasts until 10pm.
- Craft beer & wine tasting events 2-7pm.
- The 10K begins at 9am
- 5K begins at 10:30am.
To save money, avoid waiting in line and reserve tickets before they sell-out, attendees are encouraged to buy their tickets well in advance. All ticket types can be purchased at www.RacksByTheTracks.com additionally, all ticket types can be purchased at any Food City store.
Stay up-to-date on the festivities by joining Racks by the Tracks on Facebook. While entrance to the festival is free, all attendees must have a ticket to get access to the special events.