As live music returns to Knoxville, a former favorite for intimate entertainment has announced its new permanent home.
The return of The outpost is great news for viewers who fell in love with Happy Holler Hall in 2018 and 2019. For others, the venue will be a whole new concept when it opens in a new location just off Gay Street in the heart of from downtown Knoxville.
The outpost will be located at 808 State St., just east of First Horizon Plaza, and is expected to open in 2022. The location could accommodate 450 people over 5,000 square feet.
In the spirit of Kent Oglesby, co-owner of Born and raised productions, the name of the place and its history are not what matters.
What matters most, he told Knox News, is booking quality performers in a space small enough to be intimate and large enough to attract hot performers.
âThis is where the magic is,â he said.
Born & Raised has entered into a rental agreement with the owner of the “incredible” space, Oglesby said.
In the meantime, Oglesby and his Born & Raised co-owner Garrett Thomson are inviting musicians to give a series of concerts in a parking lot adjacent to the venue in September and October.
Born & Raised announced the Outpost Outdoors concert series on Tuesday to spark interest in the upcoming venue. Aaron Lee Tasjan and The Foxies are among the artists scheduled for the series.
âThis has been our focus since we started five years ago,â Oglesby said. “We always wanted this (medium capacity) place.”
Finding the right space in downtown Knoxville
The outpost in its old iteration on West Anderson Avenue was always going to be a temporary fleeting place until Abridged Beer Company is ready to open The Oak Room. The venue remained open for about six months, according to a press release.
For years Oglesby and Thomson have sought permanent accommodation for their ideal location.
But every space they looked at had at least one blackout factor. In some cases parking was limited, the part of town wasn’t ideal, or the owners just didn’t think a concert hall was an attractive proposition.
State Street property, however, ticked all the boxes.
âI had no idea such a place existed downtown,â Oglesby said. “First of all, a building the exact size of the location we wanted.”
It is also “among a sea of ââparking lots” – a unique convenience for a downtown location.
The “magic” and “energy” of the place
with the help move to a new space on Broadway, The outpost will be the only location of this size downtown. For comparison, The Mill & Mine can accommodate 1,200 people for concerts.
âIt’s big enough to attract big names,â Oglesby said of The Outpost’s new location. “But once you start to get bigger than that, you lose that kind of intimacy and that energy.”
These big names can also attract different types of fans, he said, as venues with a capacity of 150 or 200 can only serve the hometown market.
âBut you go up a level, you have the potential for people to come from out of town to see things, which is why we are so excited to be downtown,â he said. -he declares.
With hotels, bars and restaurants within walking distance, he believes The Outpost can make downtown Knoxville an even more interesting destination.
âFor entertainment what you have to offer is a full one night out experience,â he said.
Looking for inspiration out of town
Oglesby was inspired by visiting places of similar size in Nashville, including The Basement East. On a recent visit, he found himself staring at the ceiling and catching all the details.
Music will always be the main focus of the venue, Oglesby said. But that doesn’t mean he and Thomson take design details lightly when rehabilitating the building, which is a now vacant brick structure that’s indescribable from the street.
Oglesby said Born & Raised was working with an architect on the design, although construction has not started.
They will strive to find the “fun way” – to create a space that is clean enough for people to feel comfortable, Oglesby said, but not sterile.
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âSo we want to keep that old building character but not feel like we have to take a shower as soon as I get home,â he said.
Attend the outdoor concert series
The Outpost Outdoors series will take place every Friday between September 10 and October 22. Oglesby said the series will provide a music festival experience without a music festival award.
Here is the current list of leading artists in the series:
- Aaron Lee Tasjan – September 10
- Suffering – September 24
- The weeks – October 1
- The Foxies – October 8
- Hi Steve – October 8
The series will also include a Dolly Parton Tribute Night on September 17th and a âWillie Nelson vs. Waylon Jenningsâ presentation on October 22nd. Both performances will include local musicians performing covers.
The artist scheduled for October 15 has not been announced.
âWe’re aiming for something that we know Knoxville loves – that kind of Americana,â Oglesby said. “But we also make sure we bring in things that, at least at the level we operate at, there aren’t many in Knoxville.”
Oglesby said he and Thomson would take the same approach when booking shows for the venue.
Tickets for the outdoor series are $ 15 in advance or $ 20 on the day of the show. Tickets go on sale Friday at theoutpostknox.com, with a $ 50 VIP option and a $ 90 season pass also available.
Food trucks and tailgating games will be on site. A portion of the proceeds from the series will be donated to select nonprofits including Keep Knoxville Beautiful, Dogwood Arts, First Tee of Greater Knoxville, Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Tennessee Tailgating For A Cause.
Like “drinking from the fire hose”
Born & Raised is essentially a two-person operation, which was sufficient during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
âAnd now it’s like drinking from a fire hose,â Oglesby said.
The venue will require a lot of focus, but they still plan to work on events outside of The Outpost. To achieve this, Oglesby said, the business will need to grow rapidly.
Non-concert events, including an occasional wedding, would be part of The Outpost’s business plan. And while the name will remain, a new logo and more information has been revealed at theoutpostknox.com.
Another noticeable difference will be the sound quality, which Oglesby and Thomson struggled to maintain at the old site. A first clap test inside the new space showed promising results.
âWe’ve done it before, it’s had a good response, we already have social media and people already know what it is,â Oglesby said of the venue. “So when it comes back, it’s going to be a similar vibe to what we were offering two years ago – just bigger and better.”