BIG EARS FESTIVAL EMPLOYS A FULL-TIME STAFF DEDICATED TO ORGANIZING AND PRODUCING ITS MARQUEE, ANNUAL FESTIVAL AS WELL AS A BEVY OF OTHER EVENTS AND COMMUNITY PROGRAMS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
ASHLEY CAPPS // EXECUTIVE AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Ashley Capps is one of the foremost concert promoters and festival producers in the United States. He began promoting concerts in 1979 while finishing his major at the University of Tennessee. In 1991, Capps founded AC Entertainment which began promoting concerts in the southeast and would eventually go on to found the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and other signature events throughout the United States. In 2009, Capps launched the multi-faceted, genre-defying Big Ears Festival which takes place every spring in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. Big Ears became a 501(c)3 in 2016 and Capps currently serves as both its Executive and Artistic Director.
TOM WELSH // MANAGING DIRECTOR
Prior to Big Ears, Tom Welsh worked for 15 years at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Before that, Welsh lived and worked in San Francisco, where he managed the award-winning contemporary classical music record company, New Albion; was a principal in Elision Fields Artist Management, whose clients included the legendary composer (and two-time Big Ears alum) Terry Riley; and founded and directed The Northwest Passage Festival. Joining the staff at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2007, Welsh booked and produced the CMA’s acclaimed performing arts series, work that included commissioning new pieces and presenting numerous premieres by many of the world’s finest musicians.
CASEY FOX // DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Casey Fox plans, organizes, and directs Big Ears’ fundraising activities and VIP festival experiences. Prior to joining Big Ears, Fox served as Director of Advancement for the University of Tennessee Libraries and Fund Development Manager for the Knox County Public Library system. She was managing director for the 2016 Knoxville Stomp Festival of Lost Music. Fox serves on the board of the Knoxville History Project and the Knoxville Historic Zoning Commission and is a grant review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and United Way of Greater Knoxville.
RACHEL MILFORD // COMMUNITY ARTS DIRECTOR
Rachel Milford is a Knoxville-based artist and cultural organizer, as well as the Executive & Artistic Director of local arts nonprofit Cattywampus Puppet Council which organized and anchored the 2022 Big Ears Festival parade. Rachel brings over twenty years of experience in visual art, theater, storytelling, community organizing, and youth education. She’s worked as a teaching and performing artist with organizations throughout the region, including the Knoxville Museum of Art, Community School of the Arts, Knox County Schools, Alternate Roots, Johnson City Public Art, and the Highlander Research and Education Center.
BRYAN CROW // OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
Bryan Crow has over a decade of experience in the live music and event industry and has worked in various capacities for Big Ears since 2014. Before joining the Big Ears team full time in 2021, Crow worked for concert and festival promoters AC Entertainment and Live Nation where he served as Project Manager and Executive Assistant to founder and president, Ashley Capps. During his tenure at AC / Live Nation, Crow produced the 2018 MusicNOW Festival and assisted in production and operations of events such as Bonnaroo, Forecastle, and High Water festivals, and served as interim General Manager of Knoxville concert and event venue, The Mill & Mine, during the first 9 months of operation.