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Weekend edition February 17, 2023 | Shannon Smith

News Roundup | Concerts, grants, and mountain updates

Here’s your weekly roundup of business news from throughout the Knoxville region.

Knoxville named Top 50 concert market

Knoxville is officially a Top 50 concert market nationally. This is according to Pollstar’s Concert Market Rankings for 2023.

Knoxville is ranked #41 on this list, moving up the charts from last year’s #97. This 56-spot vault awards Knoxville the single-largest jump in the country. Knoxville’s ticket sales ranking, when compared to its DMA (Destination Market Area) Rank at #62 is particularly impressive, demonstrating how enthusiastically the community supports its live entertainers.

“This national ranking really highlights Knoxville on the map as a live entertainment destination,” said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville. “Music and performances enhance both the visitor experience and the quality of life for local residents, and it’s exciting for us as the [Convention & Visitors Bureau] to work with and promote our incredible partners in the industry.”

$30,000 in grant funding available for East Tennessee teachers

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) is accepting applications for its Education Grants program for 2023, offering $30,000 in grant funding for teachers in five East Tennessee counties.

In addition to the Education Grants program, ORAU annually funds its Extreme Classroom Makeover competition, with $32,500 available for teachers to purchase new technology for their classrooms.

Educators in Anderson, Campbell, Morgan, Roane, and Scott county public schools are invited to submit proposals to fund programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). ORAU’s mission is to advance national priorities and serve the public interest by integrating academic, government, and scientific resources both locally and globally, and the organization is committed to improving educational opportunities throughout the region.

Eligible educators can apply here. Applications are due April 21.

Friends of the Smokies names new president

Friends of the Smokies announces Dana Soehn as the new Executive Director and President of the organization.

After months of reviewing more than 150 highly qualified candidates, Soehn was selected by the Board of Directors and will begin her new role on April 3, 2023. Soehn has worked at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for more than 30 years and is currently Park Spokesperson and Management Assistant in the Superintendent’s Office.

“The Friends of the Smokies and I both share a 30-year investment in this remarkable park that I call home,” said Soehn. “As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the park in 2034, I am excited to grow support and stewardship that helps ensure a healthy future for our park into the next century.”

With offices in Kodak and Asheville, N.C., Friends of the Smokies assists the National Park Service in its mission to preserve and protect Great Smoky Mountains National Park by raising funds and public awareness and providing volunteers for needed projects.

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