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Big Ears' return brings in $36 million for Knoxville's economy

The festival's return brought in quite a bit of money for the local economy and generated more than $2.6 million in new tax revenue for the city, county and state.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The return of one of Knoxville's largest music festivals last March brought in big money for local businesses.

The Big Ears Festival in downtown Knoxville had been on hiatus for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The excitement surrounding the festival's return in late March brought in people from across the country -- and the four-day festival went on in front of sold-out crowds.

The festival's return brought in quite a bit of money for the local economy, with AngelouEconomics estimating a financial boost of more than $36 million for the city and region. 

“The 2022 Big Ears Festival demonstrates a strong appetite for people from outside of Tennessee to spend the weekend in Knoxville, support the arts and spend money on a world-class event,” said Matt Patton, Executive Vice President of AngelouEconomics.

The Austin-based economic research and consulting firm said findings showed the festival supported the equivalent of 377 full-time jobs and more than $2.6 million in new tax revenue for the city, county and state. Some of the biggest winners locally were the food and beverage sector -- bringing in more than $9.1 million over the course of the festival -- followed by the hotel sector at $4.6 million.

“This study from AngelouEconomics offers valuable information for the festival and the Knoxville community and will help inform our next steps,” said Ashley Capps, Founder and Executive Director of Big Ears. “The Big Ears Festival offers a unique and extraordinary opportunity – one with considerable impact now and with even greater potential for the future.”

The festival was estimated to bring in roughly 30,000 people from across the U.S.

 

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