Get Ready for Southern Skies on May 14


A Dirty Guv’nahs-curated music festival makes its way to World’s Fair Park

Ten years ago, the Dirty Guv’nahs had a dream to put on a local music festival. Now their dream has come to life. Southern Skies Music Festival will debut in World’s Fair Park on May 14. 

“For 10 years, we’ve dreamed about putting together a hometown music festival. In 2012, we released an album called ‘Somewhere Beneath These Southern Skies,’ and it turned out to be one of our most popular albums,” says James Trimble, lead singer of the Dirty Guv’nahs. “So proud that the name of Southern Skies Music Festival gets its heritage from the name of that collection of songs.”

The timing of the band’s idea coincided with that of Dogwood Arts and Born & Raised Productions, who wanted to partner with a local band on a local festival. The Dirty Guv’nahs, a local favorite, were the perfect fit. 

Texture Photo The Dirty Guv’nahs live on stage. | Photo by Carrie Jo Savage.

“It’s about us creating something fun and exciting for Knoxville that hopefully could last 10 years from now,” Trimble says.

Trimble hopes this local festival can draw people to the area and ultimately become a small piece of the fabric of Knoxville, becoming an event that locals and visitors look forward to every year.

This festival is unique in the sense that it intentionally has something for everyone, with a lineup curated by the Guv’nahs themselves. It will feature local artists along with well-known favorites. Besides the Dirty Guv’nahs, the Grammy award-winning band, Blues Traveler, will headline the festival. Blues Traveler will bring their improvisational show experience along with some of their classic hits such as “Run-Around” and “Hook” along with music from their 2021 album, Traveler’s Blues

MICHAEL WEINTROB Blues Traveler, Headliner for Southern Skies | Photo provided by Dogwood Arts.

“We wanted to make sure that this wasn’t a festival that was only for people that listen to today’s most hit music. We wanted to make sure there was some multi-generational interest,” Trimble says. “So bringing in a band to headline that was obviously a huge Grammy Award-winning artist many years ago is really exciting.”

Soul, rock, and blues are the main sounds that fans will hear at this festival, keeping with the sound and spirit of the Dirty Guv’nahs themselves. Up-and-coming artists like Maggie Rose and the New Respects will add new energy to the lineup.

“We’re already thinking, wow, this is certainly going to be more than a one-year thing,” says Trimble. “We’re already beginning to think about the next year and it hasn’t happened yet. So it’s exciting.”

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