KNOXVILLE FESTIVALS: Happy Holler’s Street Festival

Written By: Nena Potter

The city of Knoxville is said to have 16 neighborhoods (this is according to a very quick Google search by yours truly). While I don’t know if this is necessarily accurate, I can say for certain that one of my favorite neighborhoods around these parts is the Happy Holler Historic District. Yes, you read that right. The Happy Holler. Yee. To. The Haw. (Coincidentally, Yee-Haw Brewing is located in this area. Fitting.) 

If you aren’t familiar, the Happy Holler is in North Knoxville and in the past was known as one of the… scruffier parts of town. In the last decade, however, it has become a sprawling scene of bakeries, bars, breweries, shops, restaurants and even has its own cinema. In addition to the variety of businesses, the Happy Holler just has a certain je ne sais quoi. (I confidently say this after living in the holler myself for several years.) It is a place that while close to downtown is still somehow off the beaten path. It embodies a unique blend of maintaining that bit of scruffiness with a coolness that sets it apart from more polished neighborhoods. 

The vibe is truly authentic with a laid-back, unpretentious attitude. In the same vein, the residents and local businesses that call the Happy Holler home embrace their community’s history and character. With all of this (and wayyyy more than I’ve even scratched the surface on), it’s no surprise that this area is hosting what will probably be the coolest street festival that has ever festivaled in the history of street festivals: Holleroo.

Holleroo is the Happy Holler’s inaugural celebration and street festival and will take place this Saturday, April 13th from 10am – 11pm. Equal parts street fair and music festival, Holleroo promises a jam packed day of fun and entertainment for all ages. During the day, you’ll be able to wander around the open streets checking out local vendors for all kinds of baubles and trinkets, watch an actual Soap Box Derby, and then starting at 5pm, you’ll get the opportunity to check out some amazing local musical talent with the likes of Sarrenna, Dos Fuegos, and Dishwater Blonde. And did I mention all of this is FREE!?! No covers. No wristbands required. Just good ole fashioned free fun.  

I was fortunate enough to see both Sarrenna and Dos Fuegos at the recent local music fest, WayneStock, and both are acts you seriously do not want to miss. Sarrenna is a true gem in the Knoxville music scene. When you see her live you can’t help but immediately be captivated by her voice. She sings with this self-contained power mixed with raw emotion that is spellbinding. You can feel the truth behind every verse and her own songs are imbued with a sense of vulnerability and authenticity that is so flippin’ refreshing it makes me want to cuss. (I won’t because I am a lady of course, but GOSH DANGIT she is good, y’all.)

Then on top of that, you have Dos Fuegos, the local Knoxville rap duo composed of Darrius Vital-Herne and Yattie Westfield, whose stage presence alone is enough to lure any passerby in and then rock their face off. With their electrifying performances and thought-provoking lyrics, they have carved out a distinct niche for themselves and earned the admiration of fans far and wide. Oh, and did I mention Yattie is literally a one man band and musical genius who plays the guitar and drums on stage at the same time (And I thought I was good at multitasking 😅). 

Dishwater Blonde will round out the evening and if I’m being honest, I know nothing about this band besides the fact that their name comes from a line of a lesser known Prince song and they coined themselves as “Knoxville’s Finest, The Southeast’s Funkiest Band”. I can dig that. They’ve added several talented musicians to their line up including one of my favs, Cozmo Holloway, guitarist for The Dirty Guvs and Electric Darling, and I look forward to shakin’ my groove thang to them Saturday night. 

All in all, it’s going to be an amazing time for some hootin’ and hollerin’ in the Happy Holler and I can’t wait to see you there!  

Tips from your Festie Bestie: 

  • Bring cash and grab a tasty treat from The Original Freezo while you’re in the area. This place is an iconic eatery right in the heart of the Happy Holler and has been open since 1942 y’all. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes and plan to stay late as there may or may not be a secret Silent Disco happening after the shows.
  • It goes without saying, but with any festival or event where you are hanging out all day outside and possibly imbibing on the local craft beer selections, drink water and use a ride-share option if possible. Your future self will thank you. 
  • If you DON’T Uber, remember to lock your car as the unofficial tagline for this area for longer than I can remember has been “Love Your Hood, Lock Your Sh*t Up!” 😆

Cheers!
Nena

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