Big Ears Festival makes return to Knoxville

This weekend, some of the most influential artists from the worlds of rock, jazz and classical music will take the stage in downtown Knoxville for the Big Ears music festival.

The event, which has been heralded by national publications like the New York Times, will be coming back to East Tennessee after a four year break.

Organizer Ashley Capps, who's also behind other musical festivals like Bonnaroo, said scheduling conflicts led to the hiatus.

But, he said he is excited to bring the festival back.

"I've been waiting four years for this," Capps said.

Jonny Greenwood, Kim Gordon and John Cale are just a few of the artists who will be performing at Big Ears. They played with the bands Radiohead, Sonic Youth, and the Velvet Underground respectively.

Capps said about 2,000 people will attend the festival from places all over the world, including Japan, Germany and Great Britain.The event will show off some of Knoxville's most iconic music venues too. The Bijou and Tennessee Theater are just a few of the locations on Big Ears' lineup.

"We're always looking for opportunities to showcase the theaters in this city," he said.

Capps said Big Ears is perfect for Knoxville too.

Official Website: Big Ears Festival

He believes the music will stand out more here, because these types of acts don't come around often. He said it's also easier to walk around in Knoxville, from venue to venue, which gives festival-goers more of a shared purpose.

"Which I think is very essential to feeling like you're at a festival," he said.

Visit Knoxville president Kim Bumpas said the Big Ears Festival will also have a big business impact.

"It's going to be hundreds of people over three days, so if you pop that into our economic impact formula, that would be right around a half-a-million dollars in economic impact," she said.

Big Ears will also offer free workshops and performances at the Knoxville Museum of Art and make charitable contributions to the Joy of Music School and the Community School of the Arts.

Tickets are still available.


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