The time has nearly come: Big Ears 2019—our tenth anniversary and the most exploratory and audacious edition yet of the festival The New York Times recently called “a point of pilgrimage for all sorts of experimental listeners”—starts in exactly one week.
Low ticket alert! We are down to the last batch of VIP Sonic Explorer passes for the full weekend, as well as Premier Sunday day passes. General Admission weekend and daily passes remain in limited quantity, along with a handful of Premier Thursday day passes. Click “Get Tickets” below to learn more about remaining passes.
Today we are excited to share details about late night jam sessions at the Jig & Reel with Big Ears guests, surprise artists on the beloved WDVX Blue Plate radio hour, our annual Beer Exchange and more…
We still have plenty of surprises between now and next Thursday, stay tuned!
WDVX Blue Plate Specials feat. Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi, Giri & Uma Peters
First, WDVX 89.9 FM will again broadcast two live episodes during Big Ears. On Thursday, March 21, at noon, WDVX will host one of its long-running Blue Plate Specials inside the downtown Visit Knoxville Center with special guests Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi. To attend, simply show up early and grab yourself a seat or a corner at what is sure to be a standing-room-only performance.
And then, on Friday at noon, WDVX broadcasts its Big Plate Special from Barley’s Taproom in Knoxville. They’ll host two spoken-word poets from the Big Ears Poetry Expo, Black Atticusand Queen Sheba, and stunning South African guitarist Derek Gripper. They’ll also be joined by two new additions to Big Ears 2019—a young Indian-American folk duo from Nashville, Giri & Uma Peters. At age 11, Uma is an astounding banjo talent, now under the tutelage of Rhiannon Giddens, who invited her to perform as a special guest at Giddens’ Friday set at the United Methodist Church. Giri & Uma will also perform their own set at the Jig & Reel at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday night. We’re delighted to have these rising stars and hope you get to see them at least once.
Late Night Jam Sessions with members of Uncle Earl & Hawktail
Speaking of special guests and Southern traditions, Jig & Reel will host plenty of that at Big Ears 2019. On Thursday, March 21, at 9 p.m., Knoxville historian, musician, and teacher Matt Morelock will host an out-bound, avant-garde jam centered around traditional songs of the Appalachians. He will provide chord charts and sheet music; participants should provide their instruments and a willingness to get weird with old tunes. On Friday at 9 p.m., the members of Uncle Earl (Abigail Washburn, KC Groves, Kristin Andreassen) will invite their friends onstage for an old-time jam at Jig & Reel, with the great Hawktail with Brittany Haas (Live From Here), Paul Kowart (Punch Brothers) and Jordan Tice taking over lead duties on Saturday night at 9:30 p.m.
We’ll announce more information about shows, additional panels, and a trolley service in the coming days. In the meantime, get your tickets before your option of choice is gone.
And a popular Big Ears tradition since our debut in 2009 returns: During Ampient Brunch, a collective of local musicians explores their shared interest in ambient music at Old City Java, one of Knoxville’s essential coffee outposts. From 10 a.m. until noon on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, these musicians will share some mellow sounds as you sip your caffeine. These performances are free and open to the public.