Revised Market Square Event Policy and Calendar

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Revised Market Square Event Policy and Calendar

Posted: 04/15/2009
On Monday, April 6th a public meeting was held to discuss approaches to events on Market Square. One of the suggestions, that a calender be posted for Market Square has been implemented by Mickey Mallonee and her staff in the Office of Special Events.
Below is version 2 draft policy statement reflecting consideration of comments received in the time since the original posting of the first version. There will be another public meeting on Monday, April 20 at 5:30 PM in the Market House room of the Knoxville Chamber at 17 Market Square to review this document and move to a final document for implementation. This discussion will be led by the office of Policy and Communications and the office of Special Events.

Thanks to all who have helped in this endeavor.


Market Square has now become a destination in itself. While special events are important to the success of the Square, we have reached the point where Market Square is a very successful destination in its own right. Therefore the mix of events, and by extension, the vast majority of events, held on the Square should respect the unique sense of place that residents and visitors enjoy. This mix shall reflect complimentary interests of those who operate businesses on Market Square as well as those who enjoy attending events.

Thus the mix of events should minimize disruption, and hopefully enhance the experience for those wishing to enjoy shops and outdoor dining. Events that overwhelm the public space, through intrusive setup and removal, coverage of large parts of the area, or by creating noise at a level sufficient to make conversation difficult, should be minimized.

Market Square, as other public spaces, is for use by the general public. Reservation of such space is at the discretion of the City according to evenly applied conditions that enhance the value of the space for the overall community. During the major portion of the day, residents and visitors should be able to assume that they will be able to enjoy the ambience of the Square. This enjoyment can be enhanced by small events, with minimal or no amplification, that do not physically dominate the area. Exceptions should occur for events supported by the city or otherwise well publicized.

Concerts or concert series such as Sundown in the City represent an appropriate and desirable use of the Square, but Market Square should not be the default location for those wishing to hold outdoor concerts. Other than those concerts supported by the City, concerts are appropriate for Market Square to the degree to which they are not amplified to a point that they overwhelm the ability of the public to converse on patios and public areas. In addition, while Market Square is a desirable place for groups to gather, larger groups are better served in other venues such as the amphitheater or other areas in Worlds Fair Park.

The following policy thus will govern the use of Market Square.

The Farmers Market is an event that should be given priority during its months of operation. Not only was the Square created with such a market in mind; its operation is consistent with this vision.

The Dogwood Arts Festival, Holidays on Ice Skating Rink, and Sundown in the City are either city sponsored or significant community events with a history at Market Square. These events bring large numbers of people to the Square with predictability. They are enjoyed by many residents and visitors.

Otherwise events will be scheduled according the rules and regulations promulgated below if they meet the following criteria. These will be reinforced through a signed agreement, violation of which will lead to event stoppage.

Criteria for Events at Market Square*

Sound should be at a level that would permit a small public address or speaker system. The level of amplification should be such that the average person can carry on a conversation at a nearby restaurant patio. Amplification for press events or rallies should not exceed this level and should be no louder than is necessary to reach those in attendance.

This policy is not in effect for City Priority Events, such as Sundown in the City, when the public has an expectation of a concert atmosphere in the Square. However for these events intrusive sound checks should be no more frequent or loud than is necessary to ensure a successful concert experience.

Public Space Utilization
Normally event-provided seating should be limited at approximately 150 -200 with the array of chairs not reaching beyond the line established by the trees. There should not be an expectation that the Square serve as an assembly hall. There are other more suitable venues for large seated gatherings.

No private ticketed events will be held on Market Square

Sunday Usage
No events will be scheduled on Sunday beginning earlier than 1:30. Likewise setup will not be permitted earlier than 1:30. No events using amplification will be scheduled.

Set Up / Take Down
Event planners should ensure that set-up and take-down is minimally intrusive in regard to parking of vehicles, noise generated, and time of day used. Set up will occur no earlier than 8 AM and no later than 10 PM. Care will be taken to minimize noise and disruption during mealtime hours.

Vehicles should not use the Square other than to the degree that they are essential to support an event. At those times vehicles should make every effort not to block or interfere with businesses and should remain on the Square only when their presence is essential to the task at hand.

Electric Power
No individual or event shall make use of the City's electric power without explicit prior approval. This approval will be conditional on parameters established by the Office of Special Events consistent with this policy.

* Exceptions to this policy are events identified by the city as priority public events. These include but are not limited to Sundown in the City, The Holidays on Ice Skating Rink, and some parts of the Dogwood Arts Festival. They will be noted as such on the calendar. In all cases exceptions are acceptable only to the degree necessary for the efficient operation of the event.