News Column

City to charge for up-close Boomsday tickets

February 27, 2014

By Tony Hernandez, The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.

Feb. 28--If you want access to the vendors, live music and other activities at this year's Boomsday celebration, get ready to pay for it.

Kim Bumpas, president of Visit Knoxville, said organizers will be selling "premium tickets" for the first time for admittance to the Labor Day celebration at Neyland Drive between the University of Tennessee's G10 parking garage and Calhoun's on the River restaurant. Officials haven't said how much the tickets will cost.

"For the premium viewing ticket, it's not that we're just saying that you now have to vest a little money to come into this area," Bumpas said. "We're really going to give something in return. We're going to enhance people's experience, and you kind of have to take this step when you look to grow an event like this to the next level. That's what we're trying to do."

Bumpas said more details could be released within 30 days about who will perform and what types of activities will available.

By gating the space for premium tickets, organizers will be able to research where people are coming from and why they chose Knoxville to celebrate, Bumpas said.

"From a tracking mechanism, we're going to be able to do research and say who's coming and going," she said. "Where are they coming from? Are they out of town? Are they local? We welcome everyone."

Knoxville Deputy Mayor Bill Lyons, vice chairman of the Visit Knoxville Board of Directors, said the new vision is a good concept to explore. There will still be plenty of places for people to see the fireworks who don't want to pay, he said.

"It gives us a better sense who our visitors are and provides a little different visitor experience for a lot of people," Lyons said, "and retains the existing experience for those who want that."

Fireworks will be shot again from the Henley Bridge this year, this time without setting up on the beds of trailer trucks, Bumpas said.

Spectators will be able to tune into synchronized music from local radio stations. The fireworks display is in its 27th year.


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Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)

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