The following is from the 2018 Year in Preview in the Weekend Section of The Daily Times on Thursday, January 18th by Steve Wildsmith
Find the full article here- http://www.thedailytimes.com/entertainment/the-year-in-preview-entertainment-opportunities-abound-in-blount-and/article_ce226586-2a27-5966-9887-1a6671bafabb.html
And before the folks at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson on West Lamar Alexander Parkway throw themselves into the planning and organizing of the regional H.O.G. Rally, they’ll throw open the doors for the 2018 concert season, which kicks off April 7. There’s still live music at The Shed during the colder months — singer-songwriters Nikki Lane and Becca Mancari perform an indoor show Friday night in the “Smokin’ Monkey Lounge” — and there are three shows scheduled for February and one for March before the AC/DC tribute band Big Gun kicks off the outdoor concert series.
“One of the biggest things for us is that we’ve finally got a staff that has been together as a team now for multiple years,” said Josh Formont, entertainment director for The Shed. “That’s incredibly difficult to keep together; a lot of times, sound and lighting guys tend to jump from band to band and crew to crew, but we’ve got a team that’s been together for three years now and moves like a well-oiled machine. That makes a huge difference for the bands that play here every year, like the Kentucky Headhunters, because they don’t have to worry about going through their sound and light spiel with a whole new group of guys.”
In preparation for last season, Formont and his team updated the lighting at The Shed; this year, the plans are to capitalize on all of the overhead upgrades and put on a season that’s a mix of roots-rock originals and cover bands that play the classics.
“The trick is finding the right mix of talent that people want to see,” Formont said. “If we just had all tribute acts, it would be a terrible idea; and as cool as it would be if we just had all local bands, it just wouldn’t work. The trick is finding the right mix of national touring acts, paired with local bands, and mixing it in with the rising Americana scene we stay super-devoted to. It’s just finding the balance between all the different things we do, and we do a little bit of everything, with the exception of hip-hop, which we have nothing against, but we just haven’t been able to make it work.”
But hip-hop — along the lines of Yelawolf or country-rap acts — isn’t out of the question for coming seasons. Already, Formont is working on lining up dates for the 2019 season, and last month the venue rolled out the dates for the first month: Big Gun on April 7; Wrecking Crue, a Motley Crue tribute band, on April 14; the Red Not Chili Peppers tribute band on April 21; and Tuesday’s Gone, a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute act, on April 28. The next weekend kicks off with an outlaw country bang, as David Allan Coe returns to The Shed on May 5; the following weekend, the “Black Dragon Breakdown” will feature a lineup of local acts, including Kevin Abernathy, Handsome and the Humbles, Andrew Leahey and The Homestead and the Barstool Romeos.
For Memorial Day, the rock band Black Stone Cherry will headline, and in June, three acts are on the books — Sister Hazel, Unknown Hinson and Ray Wylie Hubbard. The Kentucky Headhunters will return for their annual Labor Day weekend gig, and the Southern rock outfit Whiskey Myers also has a date on the season’s schedule, along with a number of other events.
“Pulling in some of the non-music events like our Bike Nights or the Valor Fights has made a huge difference,” Formont said. “Stuff like that is really starting to bring people in that wouldn’t be as interested in music, but they see the atmosphere and think, ‘Those tickets are inexpensive; I think I’ll check one of these shows out.”
Tickets for these shows go on sale FRIDAY, JANUARY 19th, at 10AM
(Tickets for Whiskey Myers and The Kentucky Headhunters will go on sale at a later date)