Knoxville’s Musical History

TEverly200ribal to Techno

Knoxville’s story has always been set to music, from the time when the poetic rhythms of the native Cherokee tribes still echoed in the hills and the ballads of the Scots-Irish settlers were sung around campfires on the riverbanks. Immigrants from all over the world brought new instruments and tunes to enliven the song and East Tennessee became known as a home to musicians of every genre, whether classical, jazz, R&B, rock-n-roll, Americana, or the avant-garde sounds of ska, techno, and whatever’s unveiled at this year’s Big Ears Festival.


Market Square—Called a “musical crucible” in Jack Neely’s Market Square history, the best known spot in town to hear street buskers and live music is also the most musically historic block. Whether you are looking for the beginnings of folk, country, jazz, or rock-n-roll, chances are the trail leads you to the Square.

Vine St and the 100 Block—One of the most populated blocks in the city is home to some of the Knoxville earliest recording studios and artists. Learn about the world’s first country music professional, two brothers who changed music forever, and Knoxville’s secret diva.
South Gay and the Theater District—The stroll along Gay is a walk back to the birth of both country music and Knoxville’s unique symphony orchestra. Hear about fascinating characters and legendary concerts in two of the nation’s premier historic theaters.


~90 minutes
Meet in the Knoxville Visitor Center – 301 S Gay Street
Reservations required (book tickets below or call 865-309-4522)

– Adults: $15
– Children 6-12: $10
– Group rates available

Contact us about other dates and groups tours.

Call 865-309-4522 to schedule a tour.