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Make. Art. Music.

Downtown is the heart of Knoxville’s creative community year-round. And there’s no better time to showcase our local artists, makers, and musicians than when the Big Ears Festival fills our streets with locals and visitors from around the world.

Big Ears Weekend, March 24–27

Dozens of downtown businesses will be hosting free events to add to the festival experience. If you’re from out of town or a Knoxville local, come enjoy art exhibitions, demonstrations, and live music performances throughout the weekend. Plus experience dozens of free Big Ears events including concerts, a Saturday afternoon parade and street party, author talks, and pop-up concerts. No festival pass needed.

Look for colorful sidewalk graphics at participating galleries and businesses. Check details below for dates and times.

Thanks to downtown businesses, The Maker City, and the local artists, makers, and musicians of our community for helping add to the energy and excitement of this magical weekend. And thanks to Big Ears for bringing this internationally renowned festival to Knoxville.

Events at these locations.

Able Trade

Located in Downtown Knoxville's Jackson Terminal, Able Trade is a fully-equipped maker co-working space focused on woodwork, metalwork, and industrial craftsmanship. Meet the makers and see their projects March 26-27, 5 – 7 pm.

203 W Jackson Ave (865) 296-0832 Venue Details >
Awaken Coffee

At Awaken Coffee, you'll find an exhibit by Kimberlee Rose Smith, a landscape artist capturing the beauty of East Tennessee in her realistic paintings of misty mountains, babbling brooks, and grassy hillsides. Awaken Coffee is a charming coffee shop in the Old City with seasonal lattes and spacious seating to enjoy your daily cup of joe.

125 W Jackson Ave (865) 951-0427 Venue Details >
Bistro at the Bijou

Bistro at the Bijou is located in the historic Bijou Theatre, which turned 113 on March 8, 2022. Owner and chef Martha Boggs grows many of the vegetables served in her dishes, like okra, tomatoes, and eggplants. Enjoy live jazz by Will Boyd on Friday, March 25 and Mark Boling Trio Saturday, March 26. Both nights from 8 – 10:30 pm.

807 S Gay St (865) 544-0537 Venue Details >
Boyd's Jig & Reel

OFFICIAL BIG EARS VENUE - festival wristband required for concerts
Click Here for Festival Lineup

As an official Big Ears Venue, Boyd's Jig & Reel has a jam-packed schedule with concerts all-day, everyday from March 24 – 27. Enjoy Irish fare and lively music from the like of Preservation Brass, Alex Leach Band, Circus No. 9, and more!

101 S Central St (865) 247-7066 Venue Details >
Christopher Robin Arts

See art in action when you pop in Christopher Robin Arts on Gay Street. Owners and husband-and-wife duo will be actively painting, and they look forward to meeting you! Open times: March 24 – 25, 1 – 6 pm; March 26, 11 am – 6 pm; March 27, 1 – 4 pm.

418 S Gay St Venue Details >
Downtown Wine + Spirits

Downtown Wine + Spirits will have art on display by local artist Adam Pernell Deal. Deal is an illustrator, surrealist painter, and self-proclaimed jokemaster who specializes in esoteric art. Downtown Wine has been sourcing unique beverages for Knoxvillians since 2007.

407 S Gay St (865) 525-7575 Venue Details >
Embassy Suites Lobby

Embassy Suites' lobby is a destination in-and-of itself with K Brew Coffee & Bagels, TOPGOLF Swing Suite, Wake Foot Sanctuary, and art exhibits too! Stop in to see fun displays by Beth Meadows and Ryan Blair that represent the experimental spirit of Big Ears. Meadows' style is modern meets folk art, while Blair's is colorful and eclectic.

507 S Gay St (865) 544-8502 Venue Details >
Emporium Center

The Emporium Center is the hub for arts and culture in Downtown Knoxville, featuring works from many local artists. One artist you'll see is Robert Felker, displaying mixed-media collages of music icons like the Queen of East Tennessee, Dolly Parton. Open times for the weekend: March 24, 9 am – 5 pm; March 25, 9 am – 7 pm; March 26, 10 am – 1 pm. This charming building is worth your time.

100 S Gay St (865) 523-7543 Venue Details >
Five Thirty Lounge

Performance by award winning composer overlooking views of the Smoky Mountains. That’s what you’ll find at Five Thirty Lounge on Saturday, March 26 at 4 pm. William Wright, Knoxville-native and award-winning composer of concert music and film scores, along with a trio of gifted East Tennessee musicians, will perform a selection of Wright's contemporary works, including multiple premieres and internationally acclaimed works. The entire showcase will consist of pieces that have never been performed in the United States.

530 S Gay St (865) 544-9977 Venue Details >

It's a busy weekend at Honeymouth in the Old City. Owner and artist Georgia Vogel will host an open workshop and provide free custom leather stamping on Friday, March 25 from 5 pm – 8 pm. Saturday, March 26 they'll host a reception for artist Lauren Adams from 5 pm – 8pm, whose work will be on display all weekend. And then there's Sunday Social, a fun outdoor market featuring local artists and makers on Kaizen's patio, plus live poetry by Sarah Vance! Sunday's events are from 11 am – 3pm.

125 S Central St (865) 240-3956 Venue Details >
Knoxville Museum of Art

OFFICIAL BIG EARS VENUE - open to the public
Click Here for Festival Lineup

Knoxville Museum of Art is a free museum that provides incredible art to locals and visitors year-round. During Big Ears weekend, the museum will fill with the choruses of Ensemble Dal Niente on Saturday, March 26 from 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday, March 27 from 1 – 5 pm. Sets begin on the hour.

They'll also have a special exhibit of Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art called Global Asias.

1050 Worlds Fair Park Dr (865) 525-6101 Venue Details >
Knoxville Soap Candle & Gifts

Knoxville Soap Candle & Gifts isn't just any gift shop; owner Jodi works with local makers to provide authentic pieces for those who visit her shop. Over 50 artists are represented. On Saturday, March 26 from 2 – 4 pm, the shop is hosting a candle making class with Knoxville-based 865 Candle Company.

714 S Gay St (865) 689-6545 Venue Details >
Krutch Park - Art in Public Places Sculpture Exhibition
Dogwood Arts brings art outside, adding character and beauty to our city streets and spaces through their annual Art in Public Places Sculpture Exhibition. Enjoy larger-than-life works of art as you stroll through Krutch Park, where the majority of this year's exhibition resides. Since 2007, the Art in Public Places sculpture program has curated and installed over 240 works of art in Knoxville and gained national recognition as a platform for exhibiting world-class sculptors.
Between Gay St and Market Square Venue Details >
Maple Room

View the peaceful acrylic paintings by LEWA Studio, on display throughout the weekend at the Maple Room. She paints beautiful landscapes and portraits of wildlife, florals, fruits, and Knoxville icons. Maple Room is a trendy lounge serving up craft cocktails alongside vintage board games; it's one of the coolest spots in Downtown Knoxville.

414 S Gay St. (865) 249-8454 Venue Details >
Merchants of Beer

Merchants of Beer, lovingly known as M.O.B., is an art deco bar in the Old City with 50 taps of local and regional craft beer. Plus, a large outdoor lawn with patio tables, a food truck, games and more. Friday, March 25 from 4pm – 6pm, local maker and owner of Mighty Mud, Barron Hall, will be live-throwing pottery.

137 S Central St (865) 247-5503 Venue Details >
Old City Sports Bar

Free live music at Old City Sports Bar! Wasted Major is a Tennessee-based country/rock band focused on diverse, original songwriting. Their set also features popular covers to keep the crowd singing along. Join in Sunday, March 27 from 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm. Sports fan? It's Sweet 16 weekend, so lots of basketball on their 18 TVs.

106 S Central St Venue Details >
Phoenix Building

“Faces and Places” will be on display in the hallway of the historic Phoenix Building on Gay Street. Downtown business owners Nolan Sherrill (Phoenix Pharmacy & Fountain) and Chris Rohwer (Christopher Robin Arts) are showcasing portraits of people they've photographed from around the world. Stop in to see their work any time during the weekend.

418 S Gay St (865) 692-1603 Venue Details >
Pilot Light

OFFICIAL BIG EARS VENUE - open to the public
Click Here for Festival Lineup

Don't expect a big, flashy sign telling you where the Pilot Light is. The indiscreet venue in the Old City has been a local favorite for creative, independent, and experimental music and performance for more than 21 years. As an official Big Ears venue, they'll have 25+ acts throughout the weekend. March 24, 6 pm – 1:30 am, March 25, noon – 2 am, and March 26, noon – 2 am.

106 E Jackson Ave (865) 524-8188 Venue Details >
Pioneer House

Pioneer House was hand-picked by Vogue Magazine as one of Vogue World's Top 100 Creative Influencers of 2019. It's an artsy vintage western clothing store and letterpress studio that's truly one-of-a-kind. During Big Ears weekend, they'll host art and demos in their studio/gallery. You don't want to miss it!

413 S Gay St (865) 200-8084 Venue Details >
PostModern Spirits

KLockmiller Art's stunning portraits combine art + music effortlessly. She paints musicians based on what she sees when she listens to their music, and her colorful paintings are a tribute to their artistic genius. These portraits will grace the walls of PostModern Spirits – where they've perfected the art of cocktails.

205 W Jackson Ave (865) 437-3190 Venue Details >
Pour Taproom

Pour Taproom will have live music by Brent Hyder on Friday, March 25 from 9 pm – midnight. Hyder is a one-man-band performing groovy covers, original music, and on-the-fly live looping jams. Then catch Steph Cabell, a multi-instrument musician with a soulful voice, on Saturday, March 26 from 9 pm – midnight. At Pour Taproom, you pay by the ounce, not the glass.

207 W Jackson Ave (865) 337-5726 Venue Details >
Pretentious Beer Co

Pretentious Beer Co boasts a unique group of creative, local makers that know how to make fun. Along with a kitchen pop-up all weekend long, they'll have a seltzer bar takeover with 10 curated taps on Friday (this is the first of its kind in Knoxville) and a sour beer takeover on Saturday. End the weekend with Beermosas & Beery Marys on Sunday.

131 S Central St (865) 851-7693 Venue Details >
Pretentious Glass Co

Pretentious Glass Co will display original works by owner Matthew Cummings titled "On Perceptions" throughout the weekend. The working glass studio will also have improv glass-blowing demos, a sound and sculpture interpretive with Atlanta-based Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, and a full weekend of art! Times/dates of demos: March 24-25, 6 pm – 9 pm; March 26, 8 pm – 10 pm; March 27, 1 pm – 4 pm.

133 S Central St (865) 249-8677 Venue Details >
Radius Rooftop Lounge

At the top of Downtown Knoxville's tallest building, Radius Rooftop Lounge boasts panoramic city and mountain views. Inside, a portrait photography series “How Did We Get Here?” by Jalynn Baker will be on display. The series explores the various journeys of people who have come to live in the United States, illuminating some of the common hopes, dreams, fears, and vulnerabilities that we share as a human race. 

507 S Gay St (865) 770-5989 Venue Details >

Rala stands for regional and local artisans, and this store represents some of the best! During Big Ears weekend, you can have your very own tintype portrait made by photographer Kelsey Dillow. Tintype photographs were popular in the 1800s; now the vintage style is making a comeback. Dillow will be onsite March 24-26, 11:30am – 5:30 pm and March 27, 11:30am – 5:00 pm. Check the artist's website for pricing and frequently asked questions. Plus, KLockmiller Art will have musician portraits on display throughout the weekend.

112 W Jackson Ave (865) 525-7888 Venue Details >
Social Dove

Social Dove is a causal outdoor courtyard with specialty cocktails and small bites from Chef Tim Love's Lonesome Dove. They'll have music on stage during Big Ears weekend including Eli Fox, an Americana artist on Friday, March 25, and Tennessee Stifflegs, a country act performing high-energy swing classics on Saturday, March 26. Both nights 6 pm – 10 pm.

100 N Central St (865) 999-5251 Venue Details >
Status Serigraph

Status Serigraph is a fascinating gallery that designs and sells limited-edition concert posters and apparel for famous artists like Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band, and Phish. Stop by to say hey and check out Justin Helton's work on Thursday and Friday from 10 am – 4 pm. Shops like these are what make Downtown Knoxville so special.

514 W Jackson Ave (865) 591-6522 Venue Details >
Strong Alley

Visit the heart of Knoxville's street art scene to watch artist Megan Lingerfelt transform the seasonal Downtown Knoxville mural from Winter to Spring (Thursday, March 24 and Friday, March 25). Strong Alley is one of the most photographed places in town thanks to creative muralists decorating it with new artwork each year, as well as reinventing old favorites. Located between Gay Street and Market Square, it's a great place to snap a pic!

Strong Alley at Union Ave Venue Details >
Tennessee Amphitheater

OFFICIAL BIG EARS VENUE - open to the public
Click Here for Festival Lineup

In the heart of World's Fair Park, the Tennessee Amphitheater is an amazing venue to enjoy live music! As an official Big Ears Venue, they will host the following free events.

Thursday March 24
4 pm – Kronos Quartet
4:30 pm – Sō Percussion + Special Guests ‘Amid the Nose’
6 pm – Dos Santos
7:30 pm – Damon Locks’ Black Monument Ensemble
9 pm – Lido Pimienta

Friday March 25
3:30 pm – Aurora Nealand & The Royal Roses (NOLA)
4:45 pm – 79RS Gang (NOLA)
6 pm – Lakou Mizik (Haiti)
7:30 pm – RAM (Haiti)
9 pm – Preservation Hall Jazz Band (NOLA)

World's Fair Park Venue Details >