BIG EARS FESTIVAL
PARADE & STREET PARTY
At the 2022 festival, Big Ears partnered with Knoxville’s Cattywampus Puppet Council to forge Krewe du Cattywampus, the festival’s inaugural parade, pairing giant puppets made by East Tennessee youth with musicians representing New Orleans’ and Haiti’s second line, rara, and kanaval traditions.
Led by Preservation Hall Jazz Band and joined by an assembly of musicians from New Orleans and Haiti, over 1,000 community members and festival-goers paraded together, filling the streets of Knoxville’s Old City with art, dancing, music, joy, and revelry. The parade concluded with an afternoon street party at the Southern Railway Station featuring family-friendly activities, food trucks, and performances by festival and local musicians including 79rs Gang, Sporty’s Brass Band, Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses, Good Guy Collective, Drums Up Guns Down, and more.
In the months leading up to the festival, Cattywampus teaching artists led 8-week artistic residencies at 8 different East Tennessee youth program sites including Centro Hispano, Boys & Girls Club, Canvas Can Do Miracles, Pond Gap Elementary, and the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Center. Over 150 youth participated in these residencies, designing and creating their own original, giant puppets and art and forming their own parade crews to share these creations with the community. Additionly, Cattywampus led 3 open studio days at St. James Episcopal for community members of all ages to make their own art, as well as help construct larger puppets to showcase during the parade.