Two weekends, counting Fridays. Two weekdays. Seven days of celebration, from June 2 through June 10, mostly at A. K. Bissell Park. And admission to all events is free of charge.
The new Secret City Festival, brought to you by Celebrate Oak Ridge, will be bookended by two special weekends. The first weekend will celebrate Oak Ridge and World War II history. A free family movie will be shown on Tuesday, June 6; the arts will be celebrated on Wednesday, June 7; and music and art are the focus of the second weekend, June 9-10.
On Friday, June 2, tours of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with shuttles running to and from the American Museum of Science and Energy and New Hope Center. U.S. citizenship and pre-registration are required for tours. Graphite Reactor tours at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will also be held then on a first-come, first-served basis, with departure on buses from AMSE.
Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch will officially open the festival, and the crew of the U.S.S. Oak Ridge will present and ring the U.S.S. Oak Ridge bell at 8:30 p.m. At 9 p.m., the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” will be shown free of charge.
Overnight, approximately 200 re-enactors will be setting up an overnight encampment with World War II-era tents in Bissell Park.
On Saturday, June 3, the theme is “Celebrate our Heroes.” At 7 a.m., when registration opens for re-enactors in Bissell Park, exhibits will open for the public. They include the CAF Redtails (Tuskegee Airmen), U.S. Air Force Refueling Simulator, a vet bunker, World War II Code Talkers, and the Secret City Radio Amateur Special Event Station.
At 9 a.m., historic exhibits from the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association, Green McAdoo Cultural Center, and Scarboro will open at the Midtown Community Center of the Wildcat Den, which is at 102 Robertsville Road.
The World War II re-enactments will take place at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the west side of Bissell Park. They will feature tactical events involving simulated combat operations.
Throughout the day on the Main Stage of the pavilion in the park, you can hear speakers who served during World War II (1939-45) or in the 1950s.
Among the speakers will be Eileen Neiler, who volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps on her 21st birthday in 1943; Edgar Harrell, a survivor of the torpedoed USS Indianapolis in 1945; Clinton Riddle, who was awarded the Purple Heart and six Bronze service stars for his service during World War II, and Henry Fribourg, a Jewish refugee from France who ultimately served in the U.S. Army in the 1950s.
Children’s activities will take place throughout the day.
To cap off the evening, Vintage Rhythm Room of Chattanooga will give swing dance lessons at 5:15 p.m., with a USO-style show by Megan and her Goody Goodies at 6 p.m.
On Sunday, June 4, an Interfaith Celebration of Music & Dance will be held at the Pavilion at A.K. Bissell Park. The various faith groups that will demonstrate how they worship through song and dance are the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church Band, 5 p.m.; Jewish Congregation of Oak Ridge Dance Group, 5:20 p.m.; Grace Covenant Church Choir, 5:40 p.m.; Udari Jayasiri, soloist, 6 p.m.; First United Methodist Church Choir, 6:20 p.m.; and Ready for Rain Band, 6:40 p.m.
On Tuesday, June 6, “Oak Ridge after Dark” is the theme and the place is Blankenship Field. Children’s activities will begin at 6 p.m. The family movie “Sing!” will be shown at dusk.
On Wednesday, June 7, “Celebrate the Arts” is the theme of events planned for the pavilion at A.K. Bissell Park in partnership with the United Way of Anderson County. Come and enjoy performances, demonstrations, and exhibitions by the following youth, community, and professional arts groups from Oak Ridge and Anderson County: Secret City Winds (wind ensemble), 5:30-6 p.m.; the Oak Ridge Civic Ballet Association Dance Group; Jubal (Band); Robyn James Ensemble (string ensemble), 6:00-6:30, and Adam Austin (solo artist), 7:30-8 p.m.
On Friday, June 9, and Saturday, June 10, the Secret City Festival will wrap up at A.K. Bissell Park, the Pavilion, and the Oak Ridge Civic Center. From 2 to 10 p.m., Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, there will be a full schedule of entertainment on two stages, arts and crafts vendors (including a juried selection of artists presented by TN Creates), food vendors, puppet parades, and more.
For those who love fine crafts and miss the Foothills Craft Show that used to be held very fall, the Civic Center gym is the place to be this weekend. TN Creates, a juried arts and crafts fair, showcases some of the fine art and craft forms being practiced in our region. The show will feature more than 40 of the area’s finest artists and crafts people. They will create or sell their work and conduct continuous demonstrations of oil and watercolor painting, block printing, as well as pottery-making and jewelry-making techniques. Raku pottery firings will occur at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day. TN Creates runs until 7 p.m. each day. A variety of additional arts and crafts vendors will be present outside in the park.
The Main Stage entertainment on Friday afternoon will feature a range of music to satisfy any taste. J-25 Jazz Quartet of Oak Ridge will perform at 2 p.m. At 3:15 p.m. Teen Spirit will present their tribute to songs from the 1990s. At 4:45 p.m., pop songstress Hudson K will perform (www.hudsonkmusic.com/media/), as will Cereus Bright (http://cereusbright.com), who will bring a fresh approach to folk rock at 6:15 p.m.
Headliner Concerts for Children: A Children’s Stage will be programmed throughout both days with performances by Shana Banana, Michael Messing Magic, Cattywampus Puppet Council, and headliners each evening. Friday’s headliner concert will be presented by Grammy nominee Dave Eggar, who will bring world karate champions and a Chinese Lion Dog dancer to perform choreographed karate, kung fu, and dance to his music. On Saturday evening, Tim Kubart, Sprout host and Grammy winner for Best Children’s Album, will be the headliner performer.
Friday Evening Headliner Concert: The evening of June 9 concludes with headliners The Black Lillies (www.theblacklillies.com) at 8 p.m. in Bissell Park.
The Black Lillies have the distinction of being the first independent group of artists invited to play at the Grand Ol’ Opry. The band has since returned to that legendary stage more than 40 times. Its latest album “Hard to Please” was an immediate critical and radio success, hitting number one on the Roots Music Report and number four on the Americana radio charts, as well as debuting at number 12 on Billboard Heatseekers and number 30 on Billboard’s Top 200 Country Albums.
American Songwriter called The Black Lillies’ music “a soulful mix of upbeat Americana and tender ballads,” while Vanity Fair noted that “their sound continues to cross generations and musical genres—country, folk, blues—and add in a touch of the Dead, for good measure.”
And the bar had already been set high by their previous releases. “Runaway Freeway Blues” of 2013, which conquered the Billboard Top 200 country charts, was selected for dozens of “Best of” lists, catching the attention of NPR, CMT, Wall Street Journal, Guitar World, and Garden & Gun for what Entertainment Weekly calls “strong roots-folk songwriting, sweet harmonies and charismatic indie spirit.” Their “100 Miles of Wreckage,” released in 2011, won the Independent Music Award for Americana Album of the Year.
Their raucous live show has earned The Black Lillies festival slots and enthralled audiences at venues ranging from Bonnaroo, New Orleans Jazz Fest, and Stagecoach to the legendary Ryman Auditorium. The music is breakneck, brazen, and beautiful; sultry soul, honky-tonk heartache, winding jams and flat-out rock’n’roll, tied together with soaring harmonies that “bring back echoes of practically every great male/female duo of the past several decades…(the sound is) one for the ages, and, one suspects, ages yet to come,” according to Glide Magazine.
Musical Entertainment on Saturday, June 10: The following musicians will provide entertainment on the Main Stage:
- 10:15 a.m., Kathy Hill & The Deltas—old school rhythm and blues and beach music from graduates of the Oak Ridge High School class of ’65;
- 12 p.m., Natti Lovejoys (https://www.reverbnation.com/nattilovejoys), reggae for a new age;
- 1 p.m., Dave Eggar (http://www.daveeggarmusic.com), a cello virtuoso who first played Carnegie Hall at only seven years old and is in demand as a collaborator with artists Coldplay, Nora Jones, Robert Redford, and others;
- 2:30 p.m., The Accidentals (http://www.moreaccidentals.com), classically trained musicians with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude;
- 4:15 p.m., Nora Jane Struthers (http://www.norajanestruthers.com/videos/), country and bluegrass darling;
- 6 p.m., Electric Darling (http://www.electricdarling.com/video/), the new project from members of previous festival headliners The Dirty Guv’nahs, now with a funk and soul vibe.
Saturday Night Headliner Concert: At 8 p.m., Dr. Dog (https://soundcloud.com/dr-dog) will perform. Hailed as “America’s next great band” by Relix Magazine, psychedelic indie rockers Dr. Dog are part of a long tradition of D.I.Y. pop oddballs who blend unapologetic ’60s pop worship with lo-fi recording techniques and an apparent disregard for current trends. The origins of Dr. Dog trace back to when guitarist Toby Leaman and drummer Scott McMicken first played music together as eighth-graders. The two wrote and played all their music. They recorded the casual, sprawling, 35-track set “The Psychedelic Swamp” in a basement rehearsal space, finally self-releasing it in 2001.
When My Morning Jacket’s Jim James hand-picked Dr. Dog to open an East Coast tour, the band’s national profile began to rise. They drew the praise of the New York Times and other critics, and they were signed to Park the Van Records. Since that time, the band has released nine albums, signed a new deal with ANTI- Records, toured relentlessly and defied easy categorization.
At times, their harmonies and pop hooks draw comparisons to the music of The Beach Boys and the Beatles, but they are just as much at home with fresh, indie, even electronic sounds and screaming psychedelic guitars. A favorite at festivals ranging from Newport Folk to Lollapalooza, the band has a seriously independent ethos, a highly energetic live show, and a tremendous national following.
This press release was submitted by Carolyn H. Krause.
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