It seems like most events in East Tennessee are scheduled so they do not conflict with University of Tennessee football games. One of the biggest festivals in the area goes against that conventional wisdom. The Foothills Fall Festival draws tens of thousands of people to Maryville, or as the t-shirt says, “Mur-vul.” The festival’s biggest musical acts performed while Tennessee and Georgia played a mere 17 miles away in Neyland Stadium.
The Band Perry took the stage about the same time as the Vols took the field. In addition to their hits, they did a medley that included “American Pie,” “Jack & Diane” and “Fat Bottomed Girls.” They also used a little bit of “Love the Way You Lie” as a transition into their song, “You Lie.”
The headliner on Saturday night was Reba McEntire. I accepted press tickets to the show even though I could only name one Reba song. “Why Haven’t I Heard from You” happens to be one of my favorites. I keep an mp3 copy of it on my Walkman. Reba sang two other songs that I recognized, the murder ballad “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” and the Kelly Clarkson song “Because of You.” At one point in the show Kimberly Perry came back onstage to sing a duet of “Does He Love You” with Reba.
When we lived in California, my wife and I shook hands with Reba at the opening of her now-closed Country Star Restaurant. We also were in the studio audience for her sitcom a couple of times. We got tickets for one of the two tapings from KROQ’s Lisa May, who had a small part in the episode. We continued watching the series after we moved to Tennessee. Mark Thompson of KLOS turned up on several episodes playing Reba’s boyfriend Brian.