Support the ‘Mercury’ and WDVX at Knoxtacular, an All-Day, All-Local Benefit Variety Show

In Program Notes by Matthew Everettleave a COMMENT

Well, we’ve made it this far—it’s been almost a year since we published the first issue of the Knoxville Mercury, and that seems like an occasion worth celebrating. So in a few weeks we’re teaming up with WDVX to host Knoxtacular, an all-day, all-live, all-local variety show promoting the many varieties of Knoxville art, culture, and entertainment—and supporting local independent media.

Yes, Knoxtacular, scheduled for Saturday, March 5, at the Bijou Theatre, is a benefit for WDVX, the Mercury, and the Knoxville History Project. (Knox Heritage donated the use of the theater for the night to our cause.) It seems like we’ve been asking for money in one form or another—through Kickstarter, other donations, advertising, sponsorships, our League of Supporters program—since Metro Pulse was shut down in 2014. It’s a new dimension of the newspaper business for most of us here. The Mercury model—a not-for-profit publication supported by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in our case the Knoxville History Project—is an unusual one. The way we work now has more in common with public radio than with traditional for-profit magazines and newspapers.

Our readers have responded, enthusiastically—we raised more than $60,000 through Kickstarter to help get the paper up and running, and gifts large and small have continued to come in since we started publishing. But your support is still needed! Fundraising efforts like Knoxtacular are an essential part of how newspapers like ours work now. If you value local independent media, make plans to attend Knoxtacular next month. We’ll have a full day of music and more on the Bijou’s historic stage—all local, of course. (We’ll announce the lineup soon.) If you can’t make it, tune in to WDVX that day—they’ll be broadcasting live from the Bijou for most of the day and will accept donations online and by phone.

We’ll be asking for a $10 donation at the door. (Feel free to give more, of course.)

Invite all your friends!


The lineup for the Mercury/Knoxville History Project/WDVX benefit—so far—includes the Crumbsnatchers, art-pop duo Hudson K, jazz singer Kelle Jolly, bluegrass hipsters Dixieghost, the Knox County Jug Stompers, folkie duo Blond Bones, surf-rock trio the Jank, the Chillbillies, Lewell and Lora Molen, up-and-coming country singer Aaron Tracy, and singer/songwriters Brent Thompson, Jonathan Sexton, and Eli Fox. That’s already enough for several hours of top-shelf all-local entertainment, but we’ll be adding more music acts as we go along.

We’ll also have contributions from Kathryn Frady Marvel of Marble City Opera, Brad Reeves of the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound, local photographer and man about town Bill Foster, and the reliably unpredictable Jack Rentfro. Poets Liam Hysjulien, Black Atticus, Dawn Coppock, and Marilyn Kallet will read their work from the stage, and since Jack Neely has a stake in this, we’ve roped him into it, too. Former WUOT morning host Chrissy Keuper and Victor Agreda Jr. (comedian and “Knoxville’s one and only tech media star,” according to Coury Turczyn) will serve as emcees. And there’s much more still to be announced!


New additions to the lineup!

Musicians: Robinella, Erick Baker, and Paul Brewster.

Comedians: Matt Chadourne and Shane Rhyne.

Emcees: WDVX hosts Katie Cauthen, Grace Leach, Nelson Gullett, Red Hickey, and Charlie Lutz


Here’s the schedule — please keep in mind that performance times are approximate and subject to change!

1:00 PM Kelle Jolly
1:25 PM Poet Marilyn Kallet
1:30 PM Kathryn Frady Marvel of Marble City Opera
1:40 PM Eli Fox
2:00 PM Robinella
2:30 PM Lewell & Lora Molen
2:45 PM Aaron Tracy
3:00 PM The Chillbillies
3:20 PM Poet Liam Hysjulien
3:30 PM “Louie Bluie” film clip presented by Bradley Reeves of Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound
3:45 PM Brent Thompson
4:00 PM Dixieghost
4:30 PM Paul Brewster
4:50 PM Poet Dawn Coppock
5:00 PM Knox County Jug Stompers
5:30 PM Jonathan Sexton
5:40 PM Blond Bones
5:50 PM Black Atticus
6:00 PM Erick Baker
6:15 PM Jack Rentfro & the Apocalypso Quartet
6:35 PM Comedian Matt Chadourne
6:40 PM Crumbsnatchers
7:00 PM The Jank
7:20 PM Comedian Shane Rhyne
7:30 PM Hudson K

Plus WDVX hosts Red, Grace, Katie, Doug and Charlie. Guest emcees Chrissy Keuper and Victor Agreda. Guest appearances by Chris McAdoo, Michael Gill, and more!


Door prizes! Come to the show at the Bijou to register for great prizes. including tickets to Big Ears, Rhythm N’ Blooms, Clarence Brown Theatre’s South Pacific, KMA’s Alive After 5, plus gift certificates from Bliss, Raven Records & Rarities, and Stanley’s Greenhouse. No purchase necessary.


Senior Editor Matthew Everett manages the Knoxville Mercury's arts & entertainment section, including the comprehensive calendar section—Knoxville’s go-to guide for everything worth doing in the area. You can reach Matthew at

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