For more than 40 years, Fun Fest has been the most celebrated summer festival in Kingsport, Tennessee, where Eastman’s world headquarters are located.
The nine-day affair that was held in July 2023 was no exception. On Eastman’s concert night, country music entertainers Clay Walker, Chris Lane and Brittney Spencer performed for 6,000 jubilant fans from Kingsport and the surrounding area. The estimated economic impact of the Eastman-sponsored event was $2 million in ticket, merchandise and concession sales.
Fun Fest always kicks off with a parade and multifaceted downtown street fair that includes a variety of performers, international exhibits and traditional ethnic food. The wide spectrum of Fun Fest activities include a children’s activity center, scholarship pageants, a hot-air balloon rally and the Crazy 8s 8K road race. All told, the celebration includes more than 100 events in 50 locations across the city.
Eastman’s sponsorship pays for the entertainment, security costs and a large fireworks show for the concert finale. Eastman’s investment also makes the concerts affordable at just $22 per ticket, regardless of the performer. In 2021, Darius Rucker was a huge hit as the headliner, selling out all 10,000 tickets — as was the case with 2022 show featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Fun Fest is an important revenue generator for Kingsport, and higher tax collections have become the norm in mid- to late July and August. The combined economic impact for 2021 and 2022 came to roughly $8 million.
Like any major celebration, Fun Fest planning begins a year in advance. Eastman will again sponsor the concert finale and has already bid on a well-known rock band with a global following.
In 2024, Fun Fest is hoping to capture hotel bookings for the first time with the creation of packages with area hotels for each of the concert nights. Until then, mum’s the word on entertainment as Fun Fest planners always keep the artist a surprise until promotions begin. Look for the reveal in April 2024.