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Big Ears Festival

Live Music

Declared “one of the most quietly earth-shattering, subtly luminous festivals the world over” by The Oxford American Magazine, the Big Ears Festival is a dynamic, interactive experience that explores connections between musicians and artists, crossing all musical genres while interfacing with film, performance and the visual arts.

Named for someone who is capable of discerning and perceptive listening, who has the ability to use the ears as a creative tool or who hears things many may miss, the Big Ears Festival is a weekend of world-class musical performances in beautiful historic theaters, clubs, galleries, and museums, combined with talks and discussions, interactive workshops, installations, exhibitions, film screenings, surprise collaborations and unexpected connections. It celebrates the never-ending adventure of artistic creation and exploration.

Since its 2009 debut, Big Ears has hosted many of the leading composers and performers of our time, from ground breaking classical composers like Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, Laurie Anderson, Terry Riley, and Steve Reich along with a new generation following in their footsteps such as Nico Muhly, The National’s Bryce Dessner, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood; ensembles such as the Bang on a Can, Ensemble Signal, The Bad Plus, So Percussion, and The Wordless Music Orchestra; leading alternative rock artists like The National, Swans, tUnE-yArDs, The xx, Joanna Newsom, St. Vincent, Vampire Weekend, and The Dirty Projectors; icons like Television, John Cale, and Silver Apples; and countless visionaries such as Pauline Oliveros, Tanya Tagaq, Jon Hassell, Antony & the Johnsons, Fennesz, Tim Hecker, Marc Ribot and My Brightest Diamond who continue to push boundaries and defy convention.

Big Ears is proud to be making its return in 2020 for another weekend of visionary music, exploratory art, and southern hospitality March 26-29 in historic downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.

Big Ears is created and produced by AC Entertainment, recognized as one of the foremost independent promoters in the United States. Founded in 1991 by Ashley Capps, the company books, markets and presents over 1,000 events per year. In addition to Big Ears, AC Entertainment is the force behind internationally renowned events including Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival® and The Forecastle Festival. For more information on AC Entertainment, visit