It’s pretty amazing that a festival which will happen over five months (March 23 – 26) from now is greeted with so much excitement. But then, Big Ears is a pretty extraordinary festival presenting music from all over the world and all over the genre map, from the most experimental to the most traditional. The thread that connects it all is virtuosity and the willingness to take risks. And the world comes to Knoxville; artists, guests and press. It’s the only time of year we know Rolling Stone and the New Yorker will be in our mid-sized city.
This year’s festival will expand to four days, which both makes sense given its sprawling nature and simultaneously makes me want to cry. The three days nearly killed me last year, so four should officially get it done. Interactive experiences, film, concerts and random pairings of artists will make every day an interesting experience, no doubt.
The artists are listed below, and is typically the case for me, I know only a handful of the names. That’s a large part of the appeal. I will hear artists I’ve never heard before. For that matter, I’ll hear sounds I’ve never heard before. It’s a mind-bending experience that forces me to re-evaluate my preconceptions and sometimes even my musical tastes. I always find something I want to explore further – and I do.
So, you can see the list. I can’t really expound on so many of the artists. The most mainstream happens to be one of my favorites: Jeff Tweedy and Wilco. I’ve seen them before – and both times surrounded by other great artists. The first time was on the World’s Fair Park with Sheryl Crow for Hot Summer Nights and the other show included Bob Weir, My Morning Jacket and Bob Dylan. Here they will be surrounded by luminaries in other genres.
Since I can offer much in the way of discussing the various artists, I selected the videos you see included here to help you start your exploration. Don’t spend too much time exploring before you head over to the site to pick up your tickets. They will go quickly. Below you’ll find the entire list. Have fun – it’s just a winter away!
And here’s your big news: YOU CAN WIN TWO TICKETS! To enter to win the two tickets, click the link to the right (or go directly) to the Inside of Knoxville FB Page and 1) “Like” it if you haven’t already and 2) Share the post about the giveaway to your FB page. I’ll pick a winner soon!
American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Blonde Redhead featuring American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Carla Bley Trio with Steve Swallow and Andy Sheppard
Carla Bley with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra
Colin Stetson presents Sorrow: A Reimagining of Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony
Dave Harrington Group
Frode Haltli: The Border Woods
Gavin Bryars Ensemble
Henry Threadgill’s Zooid
Jace Clayton presents Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner
Julius Eastman Memory Depot
Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Drone Mass featuring American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge | Aoife O’Donovan
Junun featuring Shye Ben Tzur and The Rajasthan Express
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Knoxville Jazz Orchestra
Matmos perform Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives (Private Parts)
Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble: The Soul’s Messenger
Musica Elettronica Viva (Alvin Curran, Richard Teitelbaum, & Frederic Rzewski)
My Brightest Diamond
Nils Økland Band
Rachel Grimes “The Way Forth” Featuring Joan Shelley and Nathan Salsburg