The Future of Big Ears

TWO WEEKENDS: March 18 – 21 and 25 – 28

It’s been a while since we were last in touch. We hope this message finds all of our Big Ears family healthy and managing to find some joy and peace in these strange, tumultuous, and transformative times.

We want to thank all of you for your encouragement and support during this difficult time. Your patience during the process of refunding your ticket purchases for 2020 — and the extraordinary generosity that so many of you showed in donating to Big Ears — has helped us to weather the storm and was deeply appreciated.

We’d hoped to share our plans for Big Ears 2021 several weeks ago. We’ve been planning and strategizing the festival’s future since early April, waiting for clarity on the pandemic and its impact on our ability to turn those plans into action. Unfortunately, this that timeline remains uncertain.

Our primary goal has been to offer TWO Big Ears weekends in 2021 — each with a unique line up and program of its own — combining as much of the programming scheduled for 2020 as possible with many new programs that were already in the works. We’ve discussed this with many of the artists who were scheduled for the 2020 festival — as well as with others who were planning to play Big Ears 2021 — with very positive response. We are hopeful and optimistic.

The two weekends we have in mind are March 18 – 21 and March 25 – 28; however, it will still be several weeks — perhaps until late-August or early-September — before we know for certain if those weekends are actually feasible. The health and safety of everyone who attends Big Ears — and of our community — is our #1 concern. If these dates don’t allow for that, we’ll pivot to weekends later in the year.

In the meantime, we’re exploring new ideas and opportunities to support the work of artists we love and share it with you. We’ll stay in touch as these plans evolve., and we eagerly look forward to the time when we can all come together for another unforgettable Big Ears weekend.

Until then …

Here are a few treats we’ve enjoyed during our lock down:

Rhiannon Giddens (feat. Sxip Shirey_ – ‘Just The Two Of Us’ 
In early May, while we were on a bit of a social media hiatus, Rhiannon Giddens and Sxip Shirey created this beautiful tribute to Bill Withers for a great cause. It’s every bit as beautiful and relevant now as it was then. LINK

Kim Myhr & Tony Buck
Guitarist Kim Myhr joined forces with The NecksTony Buck to create this video performance yesterday for the Jazz Festival Ljubjana and we wanted to give Big Ears’ fans the opportunity hear it as well. Here’s to having both — along with Tony’s band — join us live and in person in 2021. LINK

Matt Wilson Quartet ‘Hug!’
Have a ‘hug’ from the Matt Wilson Quartet, with saxophonist Jeff Lederer, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, and bassist Chris Lightcap + many jazz luminaries. The upcoming album, “Hug!” will be released on Palmetto Records on Aug. 28. LINK

Nikky Finney on Wednesday Night Poetry
Some strong and beautiful words from the great American poet, Nikky FinneyLINK

E N D U R E – (Head in Hands Quarantine Dub Mix)
Music for the moment, from the mysterious, evocative duo of Mimi Goese and Ben Neill, a quarantine remix of “Endure” — John Diliberto host of ‘Echoes’ called their show at the Knoxville Museum of Art at Big Ears 2018 one of his “bowl me over shows” of the festival. Yes, it was. LINK

Knoxville, TN · USA



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