We want to hear what you think about Big Ears 2010. Are you going? What are you looking forward to? If you're not going, why not? In the meantime, here's another guest post from our friend that we will now refer to as Wild Bill of Knoxpatch.
As you know, today, Knoxville becomes the meeting place for multiple influential artists during the second Big Ears Festival. The entertainment kicks off at 5 p.m. tonight!
Big Ears Festival is the brainchild of Ashley Capps, the owner of AC Entertainment (who also books shows all over, as well as Bonnaroo). Last year's was a resounding success. Big Ears is a festival that celebrates diversity and collaboration. The goal of the festival is: "...to offer an exciting and dynamic platform of musical and artistic discovery by artists possessed of singular and unique visions that stand apart from the mainstream.”
The way the festival is organized is a lot like South By Southwest in Austin. Venues all over downtown are incorporated so that multiple shows can take place simultaneously. The venues this year are: The Bijou, Tennessee Theatre, The Knoxville Museum of Art, The Square Room, The Pilot Light, a place called The Big Ears Annex (Catalyst/Blue Cat’s), and one show at the Cox Auditorium.
This year’s festival is being co-curated by the Godfather of Minimalism Terry Riley as well as one of the busiest musicians around Bryce Dessner (The National, Clogs). Some of the other artists include: The National, Andrew W. K., Clogs (a band that features Sufjan Stevens), Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, Matt Beringer, and Bryce Dessner),The Ex, The XX, and Vampire Weekend. There are many more bands playing that will blow you away. The festival also features workshops, lectures, and more collaborations between artists than you can shake a stick at.
There are multiple ways to attend. Individual tickets are on sale for all of the shows, or you could go the more thorough route and get either the Inner Ear pass or the Outer Ear pass. The Inner Ear pass allows you to have priority access to all Big Ears events for $250. The Outer Ear pass allows you into most of the shows for $100. At this point in time I know that there are still a few Inner Ear passes floating around but I know that they are going fast. More info here.
What is it about Knoxville that makes AC Entertainment want to host an experimental music festival here? I would propose that there is just no place like Knoxville. It is a weird and wonderful place that no one can really pin down. There are so many influences crammed into a relatively small space. You have Appalachian culture, a large university, a history of industry, and the suburbs all within a few miles. It somehow created an environment that encourages experimental music. The music scene in Knoxville is unlike anywhere else, all of these influences meld together and make a really interesting music scene. This is definitely helped along by people like Jason Boardman (owner of the Pilot Light) who actively seeks to promote experimental music in Knoxville. Somehow it just fits that this festival should be here. It is comfortable place with all of the venues within a half-mile.
I hope that more locals attend this year, so in conclusion, come out and join me this weekend in the madness because it will be a blast.
-Wild Bill, Knoxpatch