Dogwood Arts Prepares for the Inaugural Southern Skies Music Festival

A celebration that’s been three years in the making finally comes to fruition next Saturday when the inaugural Southern Skies Music Festival takes place in World’s Fair Park on May 14th. Dogwood Arts first sat down with the Dirty Guv’nahs in 2019 to discuss an artist-curated lineup that is authentically Knoxville. After rescheduling twice due to COVID-19, the 2022 event includes a diverse array of local, regional, and national talent.

Grammy-award winning headliner Blues Traveler first shared the stage with the Dirty Guv’nahs at Sundown in the City in Market Square in 2010 but has a legacy of playing in Knoxville that dates back to the early 90s with performances at World’s Fair Park and the Bijou Theatre.

Blues Traveler had a level of meteoric success in the 90s that still lives on. They wrote real songs, with real instruments, and they honed their craft on the road becoming one of the greatest live bands of their time. John Popper is still widely regarded as the best harmonica player in the world, but it’s more than just his playing and improvisational jamming. It’s his voice. It’s the songs. It’s the way they play as a unit. They are a REAL band,” said James Trimble, frontman for the Dirty Guv’nahs. “When we started creating Southern Skies, we had a passion for artists and bands that are doing things in an authentic way.”

Joining the Guv’s and Blues Traveler is Nashville-based Maggie Rose, who describes her music as an “unbridled collision of rock ‘n’ roll, soul, folk, funk and R&B.” She’s played the Grand Ole Opry over 80 times and has a natural talent that hasn’t gone unnoticed. The rest of the lineup includes The New Respects, Daniel Donato, Electric Darling, Tennessee Power & Light, and Willa Mae.

Music will alternate between the Mockingbird and Dogwood Stages throughout the afternoon, and attendees can look forward to several food trucks, craft beer, wine, specialty cocktails, a Maker Market, and more. VIP tickets are sold out, but General Admission tickets are still on sale for $45 at Ticket prices will increase to $50 at the door. 

Festival Schedule

12 p.m.: Box Office Opens (World’s Fair Park)

  • 1 p.m.: Gates Open
  • 1:30 p.m.: Willa Mae
  • 2:30 p.m.: Tennessee Power & Light
  • 3:30 p.m.: Electric Darling
  • 4:30 p.m.: Daniel Donato
  • 5:30 p.m.: Maggie Rose
  • 6:30 p.m.: The New Respects
  • 7:30 p.m.: The Dirty Guv’nahs
  • 9:30 p.m.: Blues Traveler
  • 11 p.m.: Festival Ends – After Party with Daniel Donato at Barley’s in the Old City


Mobile Food Vendors:

Captain Muchacho’s, Cruisin’ Cuisine, Gelato Brothers, Batch It Cookie Co., Full-Service BBQ, Alebrijes Mexican Cuisine, and Daddy D’s. Beer, wine, and specialty cocktails will be provided by Cherokee Distributing Company and Sugarlands Distilling Company.

Maker Market:

Paris Woodhull Illustrations, KLockmillerArt, Annie Rochelle, Mae Lee’s Boutique, Riverbend Candle Company, and Whimsy Stems


Dogwood Arts is working with Born & Raised Productions, the Knoxville-based music production company behind Sunset on Central, the Outpost, and Silent Disco Knox to produce the festival. Southern Skies is sponsored by ORNL Federal Credit Union, Visit Knoxville, Cherokee Distributing Company, Sugarlands Distilling Company, Hamarki Wellness, the Pilot Company, the City of Knoxville, and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

For more information, visit, and follow on Facebook, Twitter @southernskiesfest_, and Instagram @southernskiesfest. Dogwood Arts, presented by ORNL Federal Credit Union, is a 501(c)3 organization with a mission to promote and celebrate our region’s art, culture, and natural beauty.