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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 Big Ears fills our streets with locals and visitors from around the world.

Big Ears Weekend, March 21—24, 2024

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 these art exhibitions, demonstrations, and music performances throughout the weekend. Plus experience dozens of free Big Ears events, author talks, concerts, and pop-up events. No festival pass needed.

Thanks to downtown businesses 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.

Bistro at the Bijou

Bistro at the Bijou, located in the historic Bijou Theatre, is known for their classic bar, great food—much of it fresh from the garden of owner and chef Martha Boggs—and for their weekly jazz. Enjoy Kenneth Brown on Friday, March 22 and Taber Gable on Saturday, March 23. 8 PM – 10:30 PM.

807 S Gay St (865) 544-0537 Venue Details >
Suttree's High Gravity Tavern

Suttree's Tavern is teaming up with Big Ears and Ableton Live for a weekend of free Workshops and Performances. You can drop in and learn how to make music with your laptop, dance to one of the region’s finest Latin groups, spin a few records, chill out with solo bass saxophonist Jason Thompson, or enjoy their vast collection of vintage pinball and video games. And don't forget...ramen, hot dogs, and an unparalleled beer selection. Check out their socials for updates.

409 S Gay St (865) 934-3814 More Details >
Emporium Center

The Emporium Center is the hub for arts and culture in Downtown Knoxville. This charming building is worth your time where you'll find studios with resident artists specializing in chalk pastel, watercolor, oil, acrylic, fiber, jewelry, photography, and more. Hours for the weekend include Thursday, March 21, 9 AM – 5 PM; Friday, March 22, 9 AM – 7 PM; Saturday, March 23, 10 AM – 1 PM.

Exhibitions on display include:

Smoky Mountain Quilters of Tennessee
More than 30 stunning quilts which illustrate the breadth of hand and machine techniques.

Mac Bartine, George Denninger & Cosima Risolvo-Aryee: The Upstairs Show: An Elevated View

Hannah Hancock: Aging Into Vintage
The show catalogs the artist's experiences and works over the 25 years of her life.

Works by Luis Santiago
Collages influenced by various art styles and forms ranging from abstract expressionism to surrealism to pop art.

100 S Gay St (865) 523-7543 Venue Details >
Knoxville Museum of Art

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

Knoxville Museum of Art provides incredible art to locals and visitors year-round. During the Big Ears' weekend, programming includes Concerts, Conversations and two Special Events: ambient music pioneer Laraaji will lead two laughter and sound release playshops through playful interactions accompanied by music; and percussionist Kenny Wollesen will host his Wolle-Sonic Massage, where audience members lay on yoga mats and are treated to individual, completely unique, totally acoustic, musical performances, performed on handmade musical instruments.

The museum is always free.

1050 Worlds Fair Park Dr (865) 525-6101 Venue Details >
Pilot Light

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 23 years. During the festival weekend, they'll be presenting What For? a micro-festival featuring more than 40 performers free to the public—first come first served. Find details at thepilotlight.com.

106 E Jackson Ave (865) 524-8188 Venue Details >
Nothing Too Fancy

Nothing Too Fancy is the Official Merch Provider of Big Ears 2024! They printed all of this year's apparel at their in-town print shop using all water based inks—but also make sure you check out their retail store on Union Ave. These locally designed and printed apparel purveyors just celebrated 11 years in business and have been providing the official Big Ears merchandise from the very beginning. Focusing on eco-friendly and original t-shirts, it's the perfect spot to pick up a Tennessee or Knoxville souvenir while you're visiting.

435 Union Ave (865) 951-2916 Venue Details >
Pour Taproom

Pour Taproom will have live music by Lucas Pressley Trio on Friday, March 22 from 9 PM – midnight. Then catch Renée Maggart + Michael Bates on Saturday, March 23 from 9 PM – midnight. On Sunday, March 24 starting at 2 PM, there will be Jazz Jam and live visual artists, followed by Open Mic at 7 PM. Plus, works by featured artist Melanie Fetterolf on display throughout the weekend. It gets better....60+ rotating taps of craft beer, wines, ciders, meads, and cocktails; pay by the ounce–not the glass; tasty snacks and great outdoor seating.

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

It's a full weekend at the brewery! On Thursday, March 21, they're one of only 23 breweries/bars in the United States invited to participate in Tipopils Day, the first time the event has been held in the US. They'll have Tipopils—the OG Italian Pils on draft—along with a super special, limited Tipopils that you won't be able to find anywhere else in the state! And throughout the weekend, you'll find DJ Crispyboi spinning vinyl to (mostly) match the vibe of Big Ears, including records from bands who have previously performed at the festival. Thursday, March 21 from 3 PM - 10 PM, Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23 from noon - midnight.

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

Stop in at Pretentious Glass Co for stunning works of art in the gallery and live glassblowing workshops and demonstrations all weekend. The gallery will exhibit sculptures and one of a kind Founders Series glasses from Owner and Master Glassblower Matthew Cummings. Thursday and Friday will feature Make Your Own Workshops from 10 AM - 3 PM, and Saturday from 1 PM - 9 PM. Sign up at PretentiousGlassCo.com. Friday will also include a live Sculptural Glass Demo with Matthew from 6 PM - 9 PM. So stop in during the Big Ears Weekend, grab a beer from Pretentious Beer Co next door, and check out everything Pretentious has to offer.

133 S Central St (865) 249-8677 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 Chris and Robin Rohwer will be actively painting some relevant musical subjects, and they look forward to meeting you! Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 AM - 6 PM.

418 S Gay St Venue Details >
Krutch Park - 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 280 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 >
Maker Exchange

From coffee mugs to the art and fine crafts on display, and even much of the furniture, every detail of Maker Exchange is sourced to immerse you in the celebration of Knoxville as the Maker City.

More than 100 Local Artists currently have work on display in the Curio at Maker Exchange. The collection is shoppable 24-7 using an easy online system with QR codes to select the piece you desire, make your purchase via the website, and choose the method of delivery – pickup the next business day or have shipped to your desired location.

During Big Ears weekend, don't miss an exhibition of murals designed and painted by six local artists during the recent Dogwood Arts Mural Workshop led by muralist Megan Lingerfelt. Artists include Dustin Avilla, Orel Brodt, Laney Haskell, Whitney Herrington, Gared Luquet, and Allison Meriwether. 

710 Clinch Ave (865) 637-4561 Venue Details >
Awaken Coffee

Awaken is a charming coffee shop in the Old City with seasonal lattes and spacious seating to enjoy your morning cup of joe. Throughout the weekend, you'll find an exhibition by local artist Keerthana Duddu, reflecting the importance of capturing the everyday moments in a creative way.

125 W Jackson Ave (865) 951-0427 Venue Details >
Spice & Tea Exchange

The Spice & Tea Exchange willl be showcasing a variety of specialties throughout the weekend with samples and recipe cards. Be sure to see the Chalkboard Art Display in their back sitting area which overlooks the Gay St alley and the 100 ft long mural by artists Ilana Lilienthal and Orel Brodt. The mural, titled "The Imperial Alley," was inspired by the Imperial Hotel which was destroyed by fire in 1917 and rebuilt two years later as the Hotel Farragut, now the Hyatt Place Hotel.

522 S Gay St Venue Details >
Status Serigraph

Status Serigraph is the graphic design and illustration studio of artist Justin Helton. The studio specializes in limited-edition concert posters and designs for the music industry with clients including the Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, Phish, Dave Matthews Band, and more. And in 2024, the Official Big Ears Limited-Edition Poster. You'll find it at the merch stands.

Stop by the studio on Jackson Ave and check out Justin’s work on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM. Shops like this are what make Downtown Knoxville so special.

514 W Jackson Ave (865) 591-6522 Venue Details >
Merchants of Beer

Merchants of Beer is a unique dog-loving beer garden with a rotating wall of 50 taps, a fan-favorite outdoor patio, and a full weekend of plans! On Thursday, March 21 from 2 PM - 7 PM, they’ll be hosting the Knoxville Vintage Market, a specialty small market of vintage items and clothing from local small retailers. On Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23, Knoxville's premier tintype photographer Kelsey Tiara will be on the patio making authentic tintype portraits. Check @kelseytiaraphoto for details and to claim a spot. Unclaimed times will be available for walk up. And then…Sunday, March 24 is the annual Peter Cotton Paws fundraising event from 1 PM - 4 PM. Bring your furry friend for pictures with the Easter Bunny! All proceeds as well as partial bar sales go to ChainFree Knoxville.

137 S Central St (865) 247-5503 More 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 21 and Friday, March 22, weather dependent). 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 >
The Holistic Connection

It's Comedy Night at The Holistic Connection on Saturday, March 22 from 7 PM - 9 PM. $10 cover. Plus, the cannabis dispensary and dab bar on Gay Street will be running happy hour deals every night from 8 PM - close. Drop by! 21+ establishment.

716 S Gay St Venue Details >
Bliss & Tori Mason Shoes

Bliss & Tori Mason Shoes is a women's clothing, shoes, and gift boutique located on Gay Street. They'll be featuring work by two local jewelry artists for the weekend—Sweet Tree and FancyTay! Sweet Tree makes lightweight clay earrings that are great statement pieces. FancyTay offers acrylic pop culture earrings that bring smiles and endless joy. Drop by all weekend to shop these fun collections!

445 S Gay St (865) 329-8868 Venue Details >
Knoxville Visitors Center

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

Throughout the weekend, the Visitors Center will host several artist Conversations and special Big Ears editions of the WDVX Blue Plate Special. Plus, don’t miss Lee Gardner and Matt Byars returning to Big Ears to record new episodes of the Podcast Essential Tremors in front of a live audience.

301 S Gay St (865) 523-7263 Venue Details >
Bethie Lou's

At Bethie Lou’s Fabulous Gifts you’ll find eclectic, artistically minded gifts - including some music-themed books and apparel. They'll be playing some great play lists all weekend with extended hours on Thursday, March 21 until 8 PM, and Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23 until 9 PM. Sunday, March 24 they'll be open from 11 AM to 5 PM. Complimentary beverages each evening and a guitar case full of music-themed treats and favors. Drop by and enjoy this Fabulously Fun little gift store.

110 S Central St (865) 312-5003 Venue Details >
Dogwood Gallery

Visit the gallery at Dogwood Arts for Black & Gifted: A Cultural Expression. The exhibition, curated by Lakesha Lee in collaboration with The Bottom Knoxville, features 10 talented local Black artist. Plus, a Bookshop Pop-Up. Wednesday, March 20 and Thursday, March 21 from 10 AM – 7 PM. Friday, March 22 from 10 AM – 5 PM.

123 W Jackson Ave (865) 637-4561 Venue Details >

Rala stands for regional and local artisans, and this store represents some of the best! During Big Ears weekend, in additional to a curated collection from local artisans, you’ll find Abstracts & Fantasies, an exhibition by Knoxville artist Victoria May. 

112 W Jackson Ave (865) 525-7888 Venue Details >
ACF Jewelry

ACF Jewelry will be hosting a Street Level Pop Up throughout the weekend—Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

111 E Jackson Ave (865) 236-1147 More Details >