The event will kick off with wings and a free concert Friday evening, followed by the staples Racks is known for on Saturday: barbecue and music, beer and wine tasting, 5K and 10K races plus more. Tickets are on sale now to avoid waiting in line on Saturday. Several ticket options are available, depending on which events interest you. Tickets for the concerts only are $20. Beer or wine tasting tickets, including the concerts, are $50 each, and a combo beer and wine tasting ticket that also includes the concerts is $70.
Friday, May 17, will start the festival with wing tasting and a free concert. The event will be held from 5 - 10 p.m. For the third year, Eastman Credit Union’s Spring WING Fling will offer samples of wings from several local restaurants. The tasting will be from 5:30 - 8 p.m., and tickets are $10 each. Country music star Aaron Tippin will return for a second year for a free concert. His set was cut short last year due to the weather, and this year seeks to correct that.
“We had an electrical storm that came in (last year) after Aaron got one song in, and it stormed until midnight,” festival organizer James Phillips told the Times News earlier this year. “It was a very bad storm — there was flash flooding and everything — and so there was just no way to get him back out there; it was impossible. So our saying that we took last year was, ‘We’re going to make lemonade out of lemons.’ So whether you had a ticket or not last year, you can come see Aaron Tippin for free.”
Saturday, May 18, will offer a day full of activities from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The craft beer and wine tastings will run from 2 to 7 p.m. The beer tasting will feature 80 different beers and ciders from over 30 local and national breweries. There will also be a chance to meet and chat with 35 brewers from around the country. The wine tasting event has been expanded this year, with 10 wineries and over 20 different wines offered for sampling. The tastings will be offered indoors and outdoors, with one-of-a-kind beers brewed just for Racks being offered. The barbecue competition is also back this year, with over 20 barbecue and other food vendors.
The concerts have also changed a little this year, with two headliners. The concerts will begin at 12:30 p.m. with the Jake Quillen Band, followed by rock group Doctor Ocular at 3 p.m. The Ultimate Garth Brooks Tribute Band, the No. 1 rated Garth Brooks tribute band, will take the stage at 6 p.m. The concerts will close out with the longest running, most recognized ‘80’s tribute band in the U.S., The Breakfast Club, at 8 p.m.
The SPF 5K and 10K races are also back this year, sponsored by Powell Valley National Bank. It is considered the fastest course in the Tri-Cities, and has a grown in participants in past years, with over 700 runners last year. The races can be run separately, or runners can take the Boss Hog Challenge: run both races back-to-back. Those who take the challenge will get an SPF shirt and a Boss Hog Challenge shirt. To register, visit fastestrace.com.
A kid’s station will also be available at the playground outside the Kingsport Carousel. The carousel will also be open during the festival for the first time.
Macado’s in downtown Kingsport will be hosting an after party each evening with live music and food and drink specials.
Racks by the Tracks is presented by Food City, and has generated over $100,000 for local non profits in its 12 years. Tickets can be purchased at racksbythetracks.com, at any Food City or in the ticket line on Saturday.
“I think it’s the biggest year ever because, one, we went to two days,” Phillips said, “and almost every event that we have, we have expanded. … We provide a little something for everybody.”