Breaking News
More () »

Yo-Yo Ma gives surprise performances in Knoxville area ahead of Friday performance

Yo-Yo Ma will headline a new Knoxville festival celebrating Appalachian culture. His performance will be on the World's Fair Park lawn on May 26.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — People at two locations in the Knoxville area were able to listen to a surprise performance from an acclaimed cellist — Yo-Yo Ma.

He stopped at Lakeshore Park and Cades Cove Wednesday afternoon to give audiences a small glance at what his performances would be like on Friday. He is going to headline a new music festival celebrating Appalachian culture, which starts on May 25. It's named Our Common Nature, and Yo-Yo Ma is going to perform at World's Fair Park on May 26 starting at 8 p.m.

The short, surprise performance at Lakeshore Park included Yo-Yo Ma playing a song, joined by a poet and a flutist. At Cades Cove, he performed for bicyclists passing by along the loop.

The music festival was created in partnership with Big Ears and is meant to give people a week of cultural experiences that help make up Appalachian culture, including Indigenous voices, European voices, Latinx voices, Black voices and more.

Yo-Yo Ma will be joined by Rhiannon Giddens, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile during Our Common Nature, along with storytellers, poets, puppets and dancers.

Other concerts scheduled as part of Our Common Nature are listed below.

  • Chris Thile: May 25, 8 p.m. at the Bijou Theatre
  • Rhiannon Giddens with Justin Robinson and Dirk Powell: May 27, 8 p.m at the Bijou Theatre

The event will also include selections of the region's food, arts and crafts. People will also be able to enjoy storytelling events, square dancing, music making and more.

Yo-Yo Ma's performance will be near the craft village and have pre-performance entertainment. Fans who did not get a pass will also be able to watch it on a large screen on the North Festival Lawn, past the World's Fair Park splash pads and near the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial.

The North Festival Lawn is free for everyone and starts at around 5 p.m. A schedule of events on that lawn is available below.

  • 5:00 p.m. North Lawn Craft Village Opens and Live Entertainment Begins (North Lawn)
  • 4:45 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Evie Andrus Music (North Lawn)
  • 5:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. Storytelling with Kelle Jolly (North Lawn)
  • 6 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Community Parade featuring Cattywampus Puppet Council & the Knoxville Honkers & Bangers
  • 6:30 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. Drums Up Guns Down & the Kuumba Watoto Dancers
  • 6:45 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. Raven Rock Dancers
  • 7:15 p.m. - 8 p.m. Rica Chicha
  • 8 p.m. -10 p.m. Yo-Yo Ma & Friends Live Simulcast 

Maps of the lawns and stages are available online.

Before You Leave, Check This Out