"Put simply, Big Ears is an alternate universe, one where form-and-structure-defying acts can draw standing-room crowds, and erudite, serious listeners from around the globe can compare notes. … For these musicians, it’s not a stop on tour — it’s the destination."
— Rolling Stone
“The Big Ears Festival, which unfolds each spring in Knoxville, Tennessee, might be the most open-minded music gathering in the country. Housed in an array of vintage theatres and industrial spaces, the festival unites elements of classical composition, jazz, rock, folk, and electronica.”
— The New Yorker
“Contained within a walkable radius of historic downtown Knoxville ... it creates its own atmospheric climate, along with a center of gravity. From its first iteration in 2009, the festival has been a locus of expedition, defined more by a go-anywhere ethos than by any style or genre allegiance.”
— National Public Radio
“Music liberated from the confines of category and overt commercialism.”