On Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10, the Bessie Smith Cultural Center will host the Big 9 Roots Festival. On Saturday, April 9 the event will take place from 2:00 pm until 11:00 pm on East ML King Boulevard between Lindsay Street and University Street.
Musical artists will be performing throughout the day on the BlueCross BlueShield of TN Community Foundation Stage located at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. Closing out the night will be Sam Sims & Friends, featuring Kipper Jones. Sam Sims was born and raised in Chattanooga and has been a staple in R & B, Pop, Rock, & Jazz for over 25 years. Known for being one of the most versatile bassists in today’s music, he has worked with musical giants such as Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Backstreet Boys, Whitney Houston, and many more.
All along East MLK will be food and merchandise vendors selling great food, beer, local art, and various products while local musicians perform. The great merchants that are located on what once was known as “The Big 9” will be open and offering their various services and merchandise.
Sunday, April 10 from 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm will be Gospel on the Lawn at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. Local gospel groups, quartets, and choirs will perform on the BlueCross BlueShield of TN Community Foundation Stage. MLK Boulevard will be closed between Lindsay Street and Houston Street and there will be food trucks selling food and drinks. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy some great gospel music on the lawn of the Bessie.
This two-day event is presented by the Bessie Smith Cultural Center and has been developed to highlight and preserve Chattanooga’s rich African American history, and to honor those who have made history and are continuing to make history.
Both days are FREE to attend and are family friendly. The Bessie Smith Cultural Center will have an art gallery on the lawn on Saturday, featuring art from local student who submitted their work for the Bessie Smith Cultural Center Art Contest.
There is still availability to be a sponsor or vendor for the Big 9 Roots Festival. For more information contact the Bessie Smith Cultural Center at (423) 266-8658 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsors for the Big 9 Roots Festival include:
Platinum Sponsors – City of Chattanooga, G93, & Power 94
Elite Sponsor – EPB Fiber Optics, Lyndhurst Foundation, Benwood Foundation, & Coca Cola
Premier Sponsor – Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, Chattanooga Tourism Company, & Mary Walker Historical & Educational Foundation
Gold Sponsor – First Horizon Foundation