The Marshall Tucker Band headlines Racks by the Tracks

Nick Shepherd • Feb 4, 2016 at 2:14 PM

KINGSPORT — Racks by the Tracks has prided itself on building upon past success, and this year is no different. The nearly decade-old festival has brought in a nationally known southern rock band and expanded its wine tasting event, and, as always, the beer will flow freely and the barbecue will melt on your tongue.

The ninth annual festival will take place on Saturday, May 14, at the Kingsport Farmers Market. It will start at noon and run until 10 p.m. More than 12,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event.

“The amount of support that we’ve received year after year has grown beyond our wildest imagination,” said Kinishka Biddanda, founder of Racks by the Tracks. “The amount of support from volunteers, from local businesses and from our nonprofit partners exceeds what I could have ever imagined.”

The biggest announcement to come out of the press conference held at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce Thursday was the headliner of this year’s concert. The Marshall Tucker Band will take the stage Saturday night to rock the city of Kingsport.

The Marshall Tucker Band was formed in 1971 and has released such hits as “Heard It in a Love Song” and “Can’t You See.” The band has seven gold and three platinum albums. Organizers of the festival have been working for a year and a half to bring the southern rock band to Kingsport.

“They really wanted to play in the region,” Biddanda said. “It was a matter of lining up schedules, negotiating all the details of the contract. ... They’ve been really fantastic. They know that we are here to support our local community through nonprofits.”

Taking the stage along with The Marshall Tucker Band will be Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band. The cover band focuses on performing the music of Bon Jovi so fans can have a true Bon Jovi experience. The band will play such hits as “Runaway,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Wanted Dead or Alive,” among others.

Lance Stinson, a country singer and songwriter, and local country/rock band Acoustifried will round out the musical lineup for the festival.

Concert only tickets are $10 if preordered and $15 the day of the show.

Wine tasting, a new addition to the festival in 2015, was such a hit it will be expanding in 2016. While last year’s wine tasting featured 10 wines from a single winery, Reedy Creek Vineyards and Cellar, this year’s event will feature more than 20 wines not only from Reedy Creek but also from Collier Wine Group, Arrington Vineyards and Stonehaus Winery.

“On the day of the event, we are going to do a special release of a few new wines that we have not even opened yet,” said Sarah Jobe, a representative of Reedy Creek. “We’re going to debut those at Racks by the Tracks this year.”

Reedy Creek will also be hosting another pre-party on Friday, May 13, in its tasting room. Live music, a food truck and free wine tastings will be taking place that day to kick off Racks by the Tracks.

The wine tasting will operate like the beer tasting. Each person will receive a commemorative wine glass, and the event will be located in the same area as the craft beer tasting event.

Only 500 tickets are available for the wine tasting and can only be purchased online. They start at $30 and include access to the all-day concert.

The popular SPF 5K and 10K race/walk will kick off the festivities Saturday morning. Returning for the second year will be the SPF 10K race and the “Boss Hog” challenge, where racers can participate in both the 10K and 5K race. More than 500 runners participated in the races last year and more than 50 take part in the Boss Hog challenge. Runners participating in the challenge will receive a special T-shirt.

The race is considered the fastest course in the Tri-Cities because it is consistently flat. The 10K will begin at 9 a.m. and the 5K will start at 10:30 a.m. Runners can register online and will receive a commemorative shirt and complimentary tickets to the concerts.

Tickets are $35 for the 10K, $25 for the 5K and $50 for the Boss Hog challenge before May 12. After May 12, tickets are $40 for the 10K, $30 for the 5K and $55 for the Boss Hog challenge.

The festival is also a family-friendly event. The Leaping Lizards kids station will be offering plenty of activities for the little ones, including inflatables and face painting.

Attendees are bound to work up an appetite, and Racks by the Tracks has food covered. More than 40 barbecue and food vendors will be set up along the street to serve hungry customers. And every customer will be able to vote in the best barbecue contest.

Maybe the biggest draw of the festival is the craft beer tasting. More than 70 different beers from around the world will be flowing from the tap and into souvenir glasses. Every type of beer will be available, including hot trends like gluten-free beers and ciders.

Returning this year will be High Gravity Beer Tasting. This popular event has a limited number of tickets and sells out quickly. The Libation Station beer tasting will be held both inside and outside the Kingsport Farmers Market.

Tasting starts at 2 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m. Tickets for the beer tasting start at $30 and will be more expensive closer to the festival. High Gravity Beer tasting tickets start at $40 and only 500 are available.

Racks by the Tracks will be donating some of the profits from the event to local nonprofits. Some of this year’s recipients include the Sullivan County Humane Society, Relay for Life, Skin Cancer Foundation, PEAK Young Professionals, the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, Keep Kingsport Beautiful, the Rotary Club and the Kingsport Ballet.

Racks by the Tracks will be offering a hotel package, which includes one or two nights at MeadowView, tickets to the craft tasting events and concert, and free shuttle service all day long. Prices start at $116 for that package.

And for the first time ever, Racks by the Tracks will be holding a 72-hour flash sale on tickets. Starting on Thursday and running through Sunday, anyone who logs onto the website, www.racksbythetracks.com, and purchases tasting tickets will receive an extra $15 off the ticket price.

“We really appreciate the support that is given when people buy their tickets early,” Biddanada said. “It really helps us plan things for the future.”