Reese proposes downtown music, arts and songwriting festival for 2022 | Local News

Downtown business owner Asa Reese wants music and art to fill the streets of Crossville. He believes a downtown arts and music festival could draw thousands to the city.

“Music, songwriting and the arts are a good fit for Crossville,” Reese told Crossville City Council last month.

Reese owns Grinder House Coffee on Main Street, which hosts a popular live music singer-songwriter each week and broadcasts the show worldwide.

As events are just beginning to return after the global pandemic shutdown, Reese has set October 2022 for the first event. There would be seven live music venues with six genres of music represented, 300 art booths, merchandise booths, food trucks and more over three days of music. Reese thinks 10,000 or more people could attend.

But it will take a lot of community effort to make it a success, he said.

At the moment, he is working on setting up a board of directors and developing a detailed festival plan.

He proposed naming the festival “Crossroads” in a nod to the city’s past and staging it along Main Street downtown.

“That’s how Crossville grew,” Reese said. “Trade and commerce was part of it from the very beginning. Our small intersection of two-stage roads became the town we know and love today.

Crossville is also along several scenic corridors and state tourist trails, including stops on the Pie in the Sky and Promised Land trails. Cumberland County and Crossville also have four markers on the Tennessee Music Trails: Cumberland County Theater, Palace Theater, Grinder House Coffeehouse, and Cumberland County Courthouse, noting Crossville as the hometown by country music artist Mandy Barnett.

“We have a lot of assets in Cumberland County,” Reese told the board.

The arts generate $1.2 billion in economic activity each year in Tennessee, Reese said, supporting 38,000 jobs.

“Music and the arts – this low hanging fruit is something we can capitalize on with an annual festival,” he said.

Reese emphasized that he was not looking to create a Bonnaroo-type festival in Cumberland County. Instead, he envisions a boutique festival experience.

“Across the country, arts and music festivals are a $30 billion industry,” Reese said.

Of these, 22% are music festivals, 19% are art fairs and 14% are multidisciplinary festivals.

“A lot of small urban communities use heritage and the arts for economic development,” Reese said.

Reese described a three-day festival of music and songwriting with a juried fine arts fair. The proceedings would also be streamed. There would be songwriting workshops and instrumental playing clinics.

“The reason I bring up songwriting is that there’s an educational component to it,” he said.

The festival would also tie into the state’s Soundtrack of America tourism promotion and help the festival qualify for state and federal grant opportunities.

Reese would like to bundle festival tickets with packages for golf, theater, outdoor activities and more.

“Expand just beyond the city center and show the strengths we have,” he said.

Alice P. Darby