Venue Review: The Shed in Maryville, TN

A shot of The Shed at dusk in Maryville, TN
A look at The Shed in Maryville, Tennessee.
Folks outside of the southeast, please bear with me on this one.

I'm guessing you won't find yourself at The Shed, a music venue tied to the Harley Davidson distributor in Maryville, Tennessee anytime soon. We had a chance to see Jason Isbell there and while I was trying to figure out details about the venue, I wasn't able to find much info online.

So, I figured I write up a little bit about what folks can expect if they're heading there and happen to stumble upon this post.

The Venue

A look under the Pavilion at The Shed in Maryville
A look from the back-end of the pavilion to the stage

The Shed is a weird concept in a lot of ways. Connected to a huge Harley Davidson retailer, "The Shed" is really just a covered a pavilion that's located a few miles west of Maryville, Tennessee. (Which is about 15 miles south of Knoxville, Tennessee).

When we arrived about an hour before the opening act went on stage, there were tons of lawn chairs set-up all around the outside of The Shed itself. (Signs indicated you can't set up chairs under the covered portion of the venue). We didn't have a great spot but it wasn't awful either, I'll have more on this later.

There were several smaller, portable type bars set-up all over the place and a big Harley Davidson merchandise tent if you're into that thing.

It's a small-town feel. I'm guessing there was parking nearby for about 400 vehicles and if forced to estimate, I'd guess there were 600-700 people at the show. (These are my unofficial figures).

Further proof of that small-town feel, the main act's tour bus pulled up right next to the stage. There didn't appear to be a green room or any sort of dressing room available. Before the show, we spotted Jason Isbell just standing outside the bus, seemingly to get some fresh air. I wasn't around for a lot of the old-school Buddy Holly style tours but from how Hollywood portrays that era in movies, it reminded me of that sort of environment.

Amenities & Food

Image of The Smokehouse and Juke Joint
A view of the area near The Smokehouse.
It's definitely a unique set-up. There is an indoor bar and restaurant area, known as The Smokehouse. We didn't eat so I can't attest to the quality of the barbecue but it smelled great.

The nice part about the venue is that most things were relatively cheap. The tickets to the concert itself were $20 each, which included parking in lots right next to The Shed. At the bars set-up, we had a couple of beers that ran $4 each, which isn't like grocery store prices but since they had us in the middle of nowhere, it definitely was ripe for fleecing --- which they didn't take advantage of to our delight.

Beer at the Shed
Checking out the local beer, Bluetick Brewery.

Restrooms were an odd situation as well. There is an indoor, permanent style restroom that was incredibly hot and fit the motif of a "shed" well. The sinks inside were large metal tubs like you'd expect to see at a farm. I had to do a double take, at first I thought that was the urinal... which probably wouldn't have been the best place to wash my hands. For the concert, there were about a half dozen portable toilets on-site. I'm guessing these disappear on nights there isn't a live performance.

The Performance

So, we were a bit spoiled in this regard the last time we saw Jason Isbell as he performed at the Tennessee Theatre --- an awesome venue that is gorgeous inside and has fantastic acoustics, in my non-expert opinion.

The Shed wasn't bad. It was an outdoor show so you never know what you'll get in terms of sounds bouncing off things and hitting you awkwardly. In this regard, it definitely passed with flying colors.

The viewing situation was pretty bad, however.

I mentioned earlier that lawn chairs were set-up around the outside. We had a couple in the trunk of the car so we set-up in line with everybody else. We were probably 60-yards from the stage and had a clear view of just about everything.

Then the concert started.

A look at the stage from where we set up

People flooded to the front and blocked out our view. For much of the concert, I couldn't see much other than Jason Isbell's face, when he swayed to the microphone. Even while standing, it was tough to see much --- which was a bit frustrating.

There were several older folks who got up and left out of frustration. We didn't leave as we're a little accustomed to this sort of thing at concerts but it was sad to see those folks who got there, set-up properly where they were supposed to and thought they had a nice relaxing evening ahead leave feeling upset.

Also, as you might expect, Harleys make a lot of noise. There were several times where we heard the crackle of a bike starting during a quiet portion of a song. It's not an ideal situation in that regard and felt a little bit rude of the bike owner --- but what are they supposed to do? Wait until the concert is over in order to go home?

If You Go...

The Shed's primary sign

If you're heading to The Shed for a concert, be sure to pack a couple lawn chairs with you. Even if you're not planning to sit for the show, you'll want them for in-between sets. 

If we could do it again, we'd have set-up our chairs and then stood under the pavilion. You can essentially reserve a seated spot by setting up your chairs and walking away.

Also, plan your night and meals accordingly. 

The concert was set for 6 p.m. according to our tickets --- which was nowhere near accurate. Jason Isbell didn't take the stage until 9 p.m. and Anderson East, the opening act didn't take the stage until somewhere around 7:45 p.m. It seemed like they wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to shop, buy food and spend money on beer before the concert.

Finally, Isbell was great. We wished he would have mixed up his set list a little more from when he played at the Tennessee Theatre a few months back but it was still a great performance. It's easy to see how he sold out four consecutive nights at The Ryman over in Nashville later this year.

If you're unfamiliar, here is a look at Jason Isbell playing The Shed from a few years back:


  1. Thanks. This is exactly what i needed to know before I commit to tickets.


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