"Support local music."
How many times have we seen this phrase slapped across stickers, T-shirts and Facebook statuses?
Sometimes we may take a moment to appreciate our personal music taste for indulging in one or two local bands, bands that have members we went to high school with. Sometimes, we scoff at the idea that local music could be any good and turn up our favorite Vampire Weekend or Beyoncé song.
However, more often than not, we ignore the call.
I won't deny it. I am often in the last category. Honestly, I find myself to be rather stuck in my music tastes, rarely wanting to change.
However, a weekend at Rhythm N' Blooms was the reminder I needed to be willing to encompass more artists into my musical sphere.
While I had already listened to the weekend's headliners, Shovels & Rope, The Black Lillies and Brett Dennen, I was pretty unfamiliar with majority of the other bands playing at the Americana festival, give or take a couple songs here and there.
After spending my weekend trekking up and down the two streets that are Old City, drinking too many iced dirty chais from Remedy Coffee and being rewarded with blisters on my feet, I came to a couple realizations.
Knoxville has a booming music scene. Tennessee has a flourishing music scene. The South has a thriving music scene.
I saw local high school folk band Subtle Clutch play a show in the parking lot. They sang and stomped and jumped and completely mesmerized me. I saw quiet singer-songwriter Sam Lewis captivate the patrons at Boyd's Jig & Reel with his honest and melancholy lyrics and acoustic guitar. I saw rock-folk band Langhorne Slim & the Law scream and thrash on stage.
I think there is this idea that all music stems from New York or California except for the country stars of Nashville, when in reality, Knoxville is a hotbed of inspirational sounds. Cereus Bright has spread its modern folk across the region and further out into the country. The Black Lillies have appeared at Nashville's historic Opry 30 times. And both these bands are from Knoxville.
Further, having a music festival such as Rhythm N' Blooms in our own city is an opportunity to get up close and personal with the musicians that frequent it. Almost every musician could be seen walking down Jackson Avenue this weekend. David Mayfield Parade casually sat in Remedy talking with fans and drinking lattes, and Ben Sollee led a bike tour to the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and wandered around after. I talked to him for a minute and when I hugged him for a picture, he held my hand and told me my sweater was soft.
These casual encounters are the joys of local festivals. By supporting local music and giving yourself the chance to explore the landscape that Rhythm N' Blooms and other intimate festivals offer, you are allowing yourself to experience the music beyond what's on the radio.
You have the chance to delve into the artists themselves.
Jenna Butz is a freshman in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.