Racks by the Tracks offers beer, barbecue, running, rock

Nick Shepherd • May 12, 2016 at 7:56 AM

KINGSPORT — Lovers of craft beer, barbecue and classic rock are looking forward to Saturday with immense anticipation. The reason? Racks by the Tracks, of course.

The ninth annual festival kicks off at the Kingsport Farmers Market at noon and will run until 10 p.m. More than 12,000 people are expected to attend.

But if you have not secured your tickets yet, no worries. There are still plenty available.

“We have sold more tickets already than any other year before,” said Kinishka Biddanda, founder of Racks by the Tracks. “While the high gravity beer tasting tickets are sold out, there are still low gravity beer tasting and wine tickets available, and they will be available on Saturday as well.”

Low gravity craft beer tasting and concert tickets are $45, wine tasting and concert tickets are $45 and concert only tickets are $10.

And this year’s headlining act, the Marshall Tucker Band, is sure to bring out people in droves. The band is looking forward to entertaining all its fans.

“We’re going to have a great time and have a lot of fun,” said Doug Gray, the lead singer. “We’ve been to Kingsport before. I think we’ve played three or four shows over the years.”

Gray said because of movies and television that the band is just as popular now as when it hit it big in the 1970s. He said even if people have seen the band before, Saturday’s performance would be a unique experience because the group does a different show every night.

He said he had no idea the band would last this long, but it is good for the guys in Marshall Tucker to have fun. After all, the reason the band was started was so the guys could have fun and drink beer on the weekends.

Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band, local favorites Acoustifried and country singer Lance Stinson round out the musical lineup for the day.

If you’re not into classic rock, drinking beer or tasting barbecue and running is more your thing, Racks by the Tracks has you covered. Before the official event kicks off, runners will get to try their feet at the SPF 10K/5K road race.

“Word has gotten out about how flat and fast the SPF 10K/5K course is, so we have some of the top runners in the South (even ones who competed in this year’s Olympic trials) registered to run,” said Biddanda. “The SPF 10K/5K is the perfect course for beginners or serious runners.”

People interested in signing up for the race can do so at Fastestrace.com.

Biddanda said tickets will be available the day of the festival and to avoid long lines, people should arrive around noon or 1 p.m. because the biggest crowds show up around 2 p.m. He also encourages everyone to purchase tickets online.

No matter what you are into, there is a little something for everyone at this festival.

“A legendary southern rock band, a fun Bon Jovi tribute band, plus the region’s best barbecue, and tasting award-winning beer and wine selections from across the country ... add in beautiful forecasted weather, and many will describe this Saturday as one of the most enjoyable days of the year in the Tri-Cities,” Biddanda said. “I hope as many people as possible get to experience this year’s Racks by the Tracks festival.”