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Day full of fun on tap at Racks by the Tracks

May 12th, 2014 8:33 am by Entertainment Staff

Day full of fun on tap at Racks by the Tracks

Beer tasting at last year's Racks by the Tracks. Times-News file photo.

With more than 10,000 people now attending Racks by the Tracks each year, the festival's popularity continues to grow.

And this year, in addition to some great-tasting beer and ribs, festival attendees will be treated to a performance by Grammy Award winner Joe Diffie.

Thanks to the release of Jason Aldean's hit "1994" earlier this year that name-checked many of Diffie's 12 number one hits, the legendary singer has found himself squarely back in the hearts and minds of country fans.

The multi-platinum-selling artist who dominated the charts during a hot streak in the 1990s has sold over six million albums. With chart-toppers like "Pickup Man," "Third Rock From the Sun" and "John Deere Green," and 13 albums and more than 20 top 10 singles to his credit, Diffie has little to prove at this point in his career, yet he still has a fire in his belly to make good country music.

"We are excited to continue the tradition of great concerts at Racks by bringing an artist with one of the most successful careers in country music," said Racks by the Tracks founder Kanishka Biddanda.

The seventh annual Racks by the Tracks will be held from noon to 11 p.m., Saturday, May 17 in downtown Kingsport.

Opening for Diffie will be local favorite, Folk Soul Revival. Hailing from the Appalachian mountain region, FSR is a harmony-laden, boot-stomping, rootsy Americana band. The Virginia Tourism Board awarded FSR the "Virginia Band of the Year," and readers of Virginia Living Magazine named the band among the top three bands in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Also included in the lineup is rising country star Matt Stillwell. Stillwell has opened for Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan, and is also the first musician to be signed to NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick's entertainment label.
The festival kicks off at noon, Saturday with The Twang Bangers, fresh off their Bristol Motor Speedway concert. Closing the festival will be popular blues draw the Catfish Frye Band.

The craft beer tasting event is the feature fans have come to wait for all year. The tasting will let attendees sample more than 40 rare and favorite craft beers from around the world, including gluten-free beers and ciders.

"Last year, everyone loved all of the uncommon beers we brought in. So, again in 2014 we searched high and low to find great, hard-to-get beers," said festival organizer James Phillips.

For those looking for an even more special experience, an exclusive high gravity beer tasting will be available. In addition, some breweries are formulating special, one-of-a-kind Racks by the Tracks Festival brews. 

A big part of what makes Racks' beer tasting so unique is the size of the tasting area and that half of it is indoors and half is outdoors. This gives attendees the ability to bring chairs and sit down inside the tasting area with a direct view of the concert stage.

In addition, with the large tasting area, designated driver tickets will be available for attendee friends who do not want to sample but would like to be in the tasting area.

The beer tasting will take place from 2 to 7 p.m., and has sold out the past five years. So, those interested should buy their tickets in advance. Each participant receives a souvenir tasting glass.

The BBQ Cook-Off Competition will give attendees an opportunity to taste some great barbecue from restaurants and teams from across the region. Each attendee at the festival can cast a vote in four different Peoples' Choice award categories. Non-barbecue food vendors will also be on-site.

Children have a section dedicated just to them — the free Leaping Lizards Kid's Station, which features large inflatables. Youngsters can also enjoy having their faces painted and other activities.

The festival's other events include the SPF 5K Race/Walk & Kid's Mile Dash presented by Dermatology Associates and the return of the Cornhole Tournament. More than 325 runners participated in last year's 5K, with proceeds going to The Skin Cancer Foundation. Each runner, regardless of age, receives a performance race shirt. Awards will be given for numerous age groups. Race registrants also receive free entrance into the concerts. Registration for the races and cornhole tournament are available on the festival's website.

The Kid's Mile begins at 10 a.m., and the 5K begins at 10:30 a.m. The Cornhole Tournament begins at 2 p.m. The ticketed music concert is from noon to 11 p.m.

The festival grounds are free, and food can be purchased at menu prices. Concert tickets are $10 in advance; $15 the day of the festival; and children younger than 5 are admitted free. The craft beer tasting and concert ticket combo is $40. The High Gravity Beer Tasting ticket is $50 and provides access to the concert, craft beer tasting and the exclusive high gravity beer section.

The festival is sponsored by Food City, Pepsi, WQUT, Nash FM 104.9, WXSM, Libation Station, Dermatology Associates, Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union, Sapporo Beer, Leaping Lizards, KCVB, Biggie's, Barberitos of Kingsport and VIP Seen.

The festival has generated more than $30,000 for non-profits, and this year's proceeds will benefit several such organizations, including the Sullivan County Humane Society, Relay for Life, Skin Cancer Foundation, Keep Kingsport Beautiful, Downtown Kingsport Association and Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.

Tickets can be purchased at or at any Food City store.

For more information, visit or call the event's organizers at (423) 863-3998.

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