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Country star Aaron Tippin to headline Racks by the Tracks festival

Holly Viers • Feb 15, 2018 at 2:45 PM

KINGSPORT — Labeled as the “Hardest Workin’ Man in Country Music,” country star Aaron Tippin will be headlining the 11th annual Racks by the Tracks festival on May 19.

Known for hit singles like “Kiss This,” “My Blue Angel,” “There Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong with the Radio” and “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly,” Tippin is celebrating his 25th year as a country music artist and has released more than 30 charted singles.

Many popular festival staples will return this year, along with a few new twists, said festival organizer James Phillips.

“Over the last 11 years, it was really important for us to grow the festival, just with things we had at the festival and attendance,” Phillips said. “We’ve added events year after year to do that.”

Musical acts

Tippin won’t be the only one taking the stage at this year’s festival. Lynyrd Skynyrd fans will enjoy Tuesday’s Gone, a tribute band that possesses the “signature Skynyrd sound, the sheer raw power that the original band possessed and the unmistakable look that they had,” according to a press release.

Also performing this year is If Birds Could Fly, a duo from the Appalachian mountains that blends retro country, soul and rock n’ roll to create a sound all their own.

Opening the festival at noon will be A Great Disaster, a Johnson City-based band that cites folk, rock, Celtic, jazz, R&B, country and classical music as their influences.

Wine tasting

Since it was introduced four years ago, the wine tasting event has become one of the most popular aspects of the festival, Phillips said.

Barefoot Wine is returning this year as the title sponsor. More than 20 wine varieties will be available for sampling, but the focus this year will be on spritzers, a crowd favorite last year.

Craft beer tasting

This year’s craft beer tasting event will feature more than 80 different craft beers, including ciders and gluten-free options. The beers will be served by the brewers who made them, Phillips said, and many new or one-time-only beer recipes will be debuted.

The biggest change to this year’s festival is the merging of the low and high gravity beer tasting events. Now, instead of buying tickets to two different tastings, festivalgoers can purchase one ticket and sample any of the beers.

10k and 5k races

The SPF 10k and 5k races are returning to the festival for the sixth year, with a new race course. Known as one of the fastest races in the region, this year’s course will start at the new Powell Valley National Bank branch on Center Street and form a loop around downtown Kingsport.

Those looking for a unique test of stamina can run both the 10k and the 5k in what’s known as the Boss Hog Challenge. Participants in this race will receive a Boss Hog Challenger T-shirt.

Barbecue competition

This event will give attendees the opportunity to taste barbecue prepared by teams and restaurants from across the region.

Each attendee can cast a vote in five different people’s choice award categories, and awards will be given out starting at 5:15 p.m. on the day of the festival.

Other events

The Spring Wing Fling will return as a festival pre-party on May 18. About a dozen vendors from across the region will be serving their best wings, and $10 tickets are available now at www.VisitKingsport.com.

Once the festival concludes at 10 p.m., an after party will be held at Macado’s in Kingsport, which will have specials on food and drinks and karaoke throughout the night.

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased starting today at RacksByTheTracks.com or at any Food City location. Regular ticket prices are $20 for the concert only, $45 for the wine tasting and concert, $50 for the craft beer tasting and concert and $85 for the beer, wine and concert combo ticket.

Those who order tickets online within 72 hours can take advantage of discounted prices, including $10 off the concert ticket, $15 off the wine and craft beer tickets and $30 off the wine and beer combo ticket.

This year’s proceeds will benefit several nonprofit organizations, including Relay for Life, Rotary Clubs of America, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, Girls Inc. and Boys and Girls Club of America.

To register for the 10k and 5k races, visit www.FastestRace.com. For more information about the festival, visit RacksByTheTracks.com.

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