The Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival will have Downtown Knoxville buzzing this weekend.Come Friday afternoon, music lovers across the Southeast should be flocking to Knoxville.With its rich musical history and integral role in East Tennessee’s establishment as the cradle of country music, Knoxville now celebrates its heritage each year with the Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival.Set amidst the historic buildings of Knoxville’s downtown, six stages and lots and lots of bands — including The Decemberists, Drive-By Truckers, Delta Spirit, The Dirty Guv’nahs, J.D. McPherson, The Apache Relay, The Suffers, Alanna Royale, and Humming House, amongst a host of others — will have Scruffy City rocking all weekend long.I recently caught up with Cruz Contreras of The Black Lillies, one of Knoxville’s favorite bands, to chat about this weekend’s festivities.BRO – What does a festival like this mean to Knoxville?CC – Rhythm & Blooms is such a great opportunity to showcase what makes Knoxville so special. We have a rich and diverse musical culture, an energetic community, and a thriving and accessible downtown. Put all these ingredients together, add some dogwood blossoms and good spirits, and it’s always a weekend to remember.BRO – Your favorite Rhythm & Blooms memory?CC – My favorite Rhythm & Blooms moment was getting to sing “Tennessee Jed” with Amos Lee at the Botanical Gardens. It doesn’t get any better than being an artist and a fan at your hometown festival.BRO – Tell me about the Midnight Merry-Go-Round.CC – The Midnight Merry-Go-Round will be a late night tribute to Knoxville and East Tennessee’s rich musical heritage. We’ll be performing Saturday night at the Standard and will feature a variety of artists, including Scott Miller, Jill Andrews, Chuck Mead, Amythyst Kiah, Cereus Bright, Subtle Clutch, Josh Oliver, Margo Price, and Mike McGill, and we’ll also have an all-star backing band. It’s one of those shows where I can’t really tell you what will happen, because I don’t know. But the energy ought to be through the roof, and I suspect it will be a night people talk about for a long time.BRO – Any particular band you are looking forward to seeing this year?CC – Rhythm & Blooms is one of those festivals where I don’t even look at the schedule. I know if I walk around from stage to stage, I’ll see nothing but amazing and inspired performances. Make sure you’ve got some good walkin’ shoes and try to catch them all!BRO – What’s one spot in Knoxville that someone in town for the festival should visit?CC – That’s a tough question. I live downtown and there are so many exceptional restaurants, bars, and stores. When I’m home, I will usually make a loop from the 100 block to the Old City, Gay Street, and Market Square. Be sure to check out Status Serigraph for some world class show posters, and if you need some funky duds or a guitar, be sure to check out The Parlor. In general, just follow your nose. You can’t go wrong.Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival kicks off around 5:30 on Friday afternoon. With six stages that will be going strong until the wee hours of Sunday night, there is a ton of great music for you to check out all weekend long. Trail Mix wants to help you do just that. If you are interested in a pair of Saturday passes to this year’s Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival, please shoot an email with RHYTHM & BLOOMS in the subject line to [email protected] A lucky winner of two Saturday passes will be chosen from all of the emails received by 5:00 P.M. on Thursday, April 9th.For more information on the Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival, including the complete line up, schedule, and tickets, please check out the festival’s website.