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Big Ears Expands 2023 Festival Lineup

Big Ears Expands 2023 Festival Lineup

Today, Big Ears, the beloved music festival based in Knoxville, Tenn., has expanded its lineup to include additional artists and interactive programming. The upcoming weekend event is slated for March 30 through April 2. This year’s festival also marks the tenth anniversary of the musical occasion in Marble City. 

Among the news shared today, Big Ears revealed a partnership with The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, which will offer two nights of programming. Moreover, The Blue Hour, a collaborative song cycle by Rachel Grimes, Angélica Negrón, Shara Nova, Caroline Shaw and Sarah Kirkland Snider, will debut alongside the ensemble. 

In continuation of symphonic collaborations, Michael Schachter’s Cycle of Life has been commissioned to celebrate glass artist Richard Jolley’s installation at the Knoxville Art Museum. While, guitarist Bill Frisell and his Trio are also slated to perform the North American premiere of his symphonic collaboration during the forthcoming event. 

Also billed for Big Ears is an appearance by legendary poet and Knoxville native Nikki Giovanni who will be joined by saxophonist Javon Jackson for a powerful and moving program, dubbed The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni.

One of the festival’s most intriguing and unique offerings for 2023 will be a performance of the late composer Robert Ashley’s spoken-word “opera for television” Perfect Lives, re-imagined by the Varispeed Collective as a site-specific event. In total, they will screen seven 30-minute episodes every two hours over the course of an entire day.

Other new additions include the return of the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra and performances by Beth Orton, Margaret Glaspy, Morton Subotnick, Lesley Flanigan, Kae Tempest, Bassekou Kouyate, Danielle Ponder as well as groups such as Algiers and Lucius. The final addition to the program is two added events for John Zorn’s 70th birthday celebrations. 

The new announcement comes as the annual event continues to experience a record-breaking response from fans. “We are fortunate to have a devoted fan base that is growing steadily year after year, mostly by word-of-mouth,” says founder and Ddrector Ashley Capps. “Last year, after a 3-year Covid hiatus, we had a big leap in attendance – around 35% – which was a tremendous boost of support and affirmation. This year has continued that trend, leaving 2022’s records in the dust. It really inspires – and challenges – us as we plan the festival.”

Visit their official website to learn more about attending the forthcoming Big Ears event. 

For more information about the initial artist lineup, read more.