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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 30—April 2, 2023

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 including a Saturday afternoon parade and two-day street party, author talks, concerts, and pop-up events. No festival pass needed.

Look for colorful sidewalk graphics at participating galleries and businesses throughout the weekend. CHECK BACK as venues, dates, and times are updated.

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.

Check back for additional venues, dates, and times.

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. And this weekend is all about music!

Saturday, April 1 from 2-4 PM, they'll be featuring local guitar maker Paul Sherry of Sherry Guitars. Paul will talk about making electric guitars including a demonstration of guitars he has built.

Sunday, April 2 from 2-4 PM, LOCI Robotics will demonstrate their large 3D printing robot and talk about their business in the 3D printing world. Plus Tony Cheatham of Artifact Custom will demonstrate a drum set he built with LOCI.

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

Awaken is a charming coffee shop in the Old City with seasonal lattes and spacious seating to enjoy your daily cup of joe. Throughout the weekend, you'll find an exhibition by local artist Elizabeth Osborne. And Elizabeth will be live painting on Saturday, April 1 at 1 PM.

125 W Jackson Ave (865) 951-0427 Venue Details >
Bethie Lou's

At Bethie Lou’s Fabulous Gifts you’ll find eclectic, artistically minded gifts - including some music-theme items. They'll be playing some great play lists all weekend with extended hours on Thursday, March 30 until 8 PM, and Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 until 9 PM. Sunday, April 2 they'll be open from 11 AM to 5 PM.

On Friday, March 31 they’ll be hosting local stained-glass artist, Kelly @sunkissed_stained_glass displaying her gorgeous wares. And on Saturday, April 1, get ready for an ABBA-themed Disco Night complete with Disco Ball. Bring your boogie shoes and prepare to dance. 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 >
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 the Larry Vincent Trio on Friday, March 31. 8 PM – 10:30 PM.

807 S Gay St (865) 544-0537 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 local artist, Beth Meadows. Beth's newest collection features hand-painted leather goods as well as postcards of her artwork and small wooden cutouts. She describes her newest collection as folksy, whimsical, and fun. Drop by all weekend to see Beth's newest collection! 

445 S Gay St (865) 329-8868 Venue Details >
Casa HoLa

HoLa Hora Latina honors the legacy and artistic works of Mexican-American artist, Astrid Galindo, through the Astrid Galindo Artistic Scholarship & Competition. Students ages 15 - 21 showcase their artwork to the community through the annual competition. Casa HoLa is located inside the Emporium.

100 S Gay St (865) 335-3358 Venue Details >
Chalk Walk

The weekend also includes the 15th annual Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk—a live art competition in Market Square! On Saturday, April 1, over 300 artists and collaborative teams will be working on-site from 8 AM – 5 PM. The street painting festival turns sidewalks into a seemingly infinite canvas for the region’s most talented professional and student artists. Award ceremony is at 7 PM on the Market Square Stage.

Center of Downtown Knoxville More 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, and they look forward to meeting you! Open times: Thursday, March 30, noon - 5 PM; Friday, March 31, 10 AM – 7 PM; Saturday, April 1, 10 AM - 7 PM; Sunday, April 2, noon – 5 PM.

418 S Gay St Venue Details >
Doctor Jane Health & Wellness

Doctor Jane Health & Wellness is bringing big things to tiny spaces! The shop—which focuses on locally produced hemp based CBD products ranging from Delta 8 and Delta 9 seltzers to gummies and locally grown flowers—has added a tiny stage in their well stocked little shoppe. During Big Ears weekend, Live at the Tiny Stoop has a full line up of local talent. 

Friday, March 31 – Starting at 3:45 PM, there's a local musician performing every hour wrapping up around 10 PM.

Saturday, April 1 – They're hosting 10 different local musicians. Music starts at 11:15 AM and continues throughout the day until around 10 PM.  

Sunday, April 2 – It's a full line up of women artists from 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM.

That's 20 different artists over the three-day weekend. Find the full line up @thetinystoop on Instagram. Stop by for the inaugural run of the Tiny Stoop, plenty of samples, and plenty of great music.

111 N Central St (865) 455-1750 Venue Details >
Dogwood Arts

Visit Dogwood Arts for Converge: Coming Together, Embracing Balance. Converge is a multimedia group exhibition exploring the concept of balance featuring artwork by 25 local immigrant and refugee artists. The exhibition aims to reveal the beauty of community when many people and cultures come together. The choice of media in the selected artworks varies as much as the artists’ individual stories, experiences, and cultures. Thursday, March 30 and Friday, March 31. Both days from 10 AM – 5 PM.

123 W Jackson Ave (865) 637-4561 Venue 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 or the weekend include Thursday, March 30, 9 AM – 5 PM; Friday, March 31, 9 AM – 7 PM; Saturday, April 1, 10 AM – 1 PM.

Exhibitions on display:

Beauvais Lyons: Circus Orbis - See to Believe
This exhibition offers a window into a little-known part of Tennessee history. Founded in 1908 by Thaddeus Evergood, Circus Orbis was a regional circus based in Jacksboro, Tennessee that performed in the American South and Midwest for more than 20 years. Curated by Beauvais Lyons, the exhibition includes a selection of lithographs, printed ephemera (including pop-up books and a paper puppet theatre), as well as facsimiles of painted banners. To provide a historic context for the circus, the exhibition includes a series of historic photographs made by Adam Hartstone-Rose from the 1920s and a sampling of circus music. 

Modern Quilt Guild: Quilt Show 2023
This new exhibition features a curated collection of quilts from members of Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild and showcases modern elements such as bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work.

Fluid Art by Farhad Naimy
This new exhibition features contemporary and modern painting using different techniques of letting the movement of paints create every piece. All works are presented on gesso wood panels with acrylic paint and finished with resin to enhance the colors.

Bruce Bunting: Paper Frames
Bruce Bunting is a retired automotive engineer and self-taught artist. When he retired and began devoting more time to art, he settled on papermaking because it represents a juxtaposition of equipment, materials, chemistry and art. 

Shelia Chesanow: Long Term Parking 
When driving down the road in the countryside in Tennessee, it is common to see abandoned beauties on the properties of people who never had the time to keep up with the maintenance of their vehicles. Automotive enthusiasts will be reduced to crying bittersweet tears at the sight of Chesanow's photography of these rusting beauties.

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

Jazz standards and original music overlooking views of the Smoky Mountains. That’s what you’ll find at Five Thirty Lounge when the Mark Boling Trio LIFE perform on Saturday, April 1 from 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM. The trio—all University of Tennessee jazz faculty members— perform many styles including New Orleans, blues, rock, funk, free, fusion, bop, and big band. Their wealth of shared performance and teaching experience influences their ongoing musical conversation.

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

Owner and artist Georgia Vogel will host a variety of exhibits, events, and special releases throughout the weekend at Honeymouth in the Old City.

Thursday, March 30 through Saturday, April 1 – Extended hours from 11 AM to 8 PM featuring exhibit by artist Eleanor Aldrich.

Friday, March 31 – It’s Vinyl Night with a limited-edition release of leather turntable mats, live DJ, open painting and customization night with a special featured artist. Open until 9 PM.

Saturday, April 1 – Artist's reception with Eleanor Aldrich from 5 PM to 7 PM

Sunday, April 2 – There’s Sunday Social, a fun outdoor market on Kaizen’s patio featuring 15 local artists and vendors. 11 AM to 4 PM.

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

Jacks is a cute little spot on the 100 block of Gay Street where you'll find great coffees, pastries, adorable plants, and a love of local. They're hosting an art show featuring local artist Gulya Elhan starting Friday, March 31. And will host musician Kenan Matthew on Saturday, April 1 at 6 PM. Stop buy during the weekend - they'll be open to 8 PM each night.

133 S Gay St (865) 394-6352 Venue Details >
Jackson Terminal

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

The Jackson Terminal is the Big Ears 2023 Festival Hub. Here you'll find the festival box office and the official merchandise shop as well as a full slate of free-to-the-public concerts throughout the weekend. Full schedule available at bigearsfestival.org/2023-schedule.

213 W Jackson Ave (865) 521-1300 Venue Details >
Knoxville Museum of Art

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

Knoxville Museum of Art provides incredible art to locals and visitors year-round. During the Big Ears' weekend—as an official festival venue that is free and open to the public—the museum will be filled with music on Friday, March 31 from 2 PM – 8 PM and Saturday, April 1 from 1 PM – 7 PM. 

In addition to music and KMA's regular exhibition, the museum is featuring:

The inaugural Tennessee Triennial RE-PAIR, a unified multi-site, multi-city exhibition that promotes contemporary visual art. KMA’s Triennial presentation features a thought-provoking selection of objects created by a diverse, intergenerational slate of 13 international artists.

Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of one of the country’s most renowned printers-publishers. Landfall Press: Five Decades of Printmaking is a groundbreaking collaboration with a host of distinguished international artists discovering new creative avenues within the vast array of printmaking.

The museum is always free.

1050 Worlds Fair Park Dr (865) 525-6101 Venue Details >
Knoxville Visitors Center

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

The Visit Knoxville Visitors Center is your first stop for maps, tour information, entertainment, locally made art and gifts. The Visitors Center will host a series of Conversations with 2023 Big Ears Festival artists. These talks and panels are free and open to the public. View the full schedule here.

301 S Gay St (865) 523-7263 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 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 a recent Mural Workshop led by muralist Megan Lingerfelt. Artists include Sarah O’Leary, Kate Buuck, Gabrielle Barnhart, Sara Wieland, Nkem Warner, and Carolina Lebar. 

710 Clinch Ave (865) 637-4561 Venue Details >
Maple Hall Bowling Lanes

Maple Hall is an underground bowling spot in a historic, trendy setting with good food and even better cocktails. It’s fun for all ages, from family night to date night (turns 21+ after 9 PM). They're turning up the spirited bowling experience during Big Ears weekend with a Punk Rock show featuring Day & Age and Horcerer. Friday, March 31 from 8 PM to 11 PM.

414 S Gay St (865) 249-8454 Venue Details >
Museum of East Tennessee History

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

Located directly across the street from the Tennessee Theatre and just blocks from other historic attractions, the East Tennessee History Center holds the key to Knoxville’s past. ETHS is the venue for a series of Conversations with 2023 Big Ears Festival artists. These talks and panels are free and open to the public. View the full schedule here.

601 S Gay St (865) 215-8830 Venue Details >
Nothing Too Fancy

Nothing Too Fancy is the Official Merch Provider of Big Ears 2023! They'll be on site providing all your festival merchandise needs—but also make sure you check out their retail store on Union Ave. These locally designed and printed apparel purveyors just celebrated 10 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 >
Pilot Light

OFFICIAL BIG EARS VENUE - open to the public
Click Here for Updated 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 (free and open to the public), they'll have 18+ shows throughout the weekend.

Thursday, March 30, 5 PM - midnight
Friday, March 31, 3 PM – 1 AM
Saturday, April 1, 2 PM – 1 AM

106 E Jackson Ave (865) 524-8188 Venue Details >
PostModern Spirits

PostModern Spirits creates a broad range of unique and seasonal spirits you can enjoy in a well-crafted cocktail on their Old City patio or in their tasting room. Or take a distillery tour and explore the inner workings of this craft distillery producing award winning gins, whiskeys & liqueurs. It’s art + chemistry!

During the Big Ears weekend, they’ll be featuring the works from local artist and photographer Rachel Wanyoike. Rachel is an artist, activist, and advocate whose career has led her across the country, abroad and into a wide variety of artistic practice and media. 

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

Pour Taproom will have live music by JP Baldwin on Friday, March 31 from 9 PM – midnight. Then catch Jake Pearce on Saturday, April 1 from 9 PM – midnight. Plus 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 Glass Co

The gallery at Pretentious Glass Co always has a beautiful display of original works by owner Matthew Cummings and the Pretentious Team. And the working glass studio has a full schedule of events for Big Ears weekend. On Thursday, March 30 from 1 PM - 9 PM, you can sign up for a Make-Your-Own Workshop (check Instagram for details and pricing). On Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1, photographer Kelsey Dillow will be onsite doing tintype portraits from 10 AM - 5 PM both days (check Instagram for details and pricing). Plus, there's a free Sculptural Glass Demo led by Matthew Cummings on Friday from 6 PM - 9 PM and a free Exquisite Corpse Cups Demo with the Pretentious Team on Saturday from 6 PM - 9 PM. It's a full weekend of pretentious art!

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

Rala stands for regional and local artisans, and this store represents some of the best! During Big Ears weekend, they'll be hosting local author George Scott on Friday, March 31 from 6 PM - 8 PM and Saturday, April 1 from 11 AM - 6 PM. 

In additional to a curated collection from local artisans, you’ll find "People, Plants, and Other Myths,” an exhibition by Knoxville artist Annie Rochelle, as she continues her exploration of the intersection of culture and the environment. Plus works by Esther Sitver, a Knoxville based illustrator who merges vintage aesthetics with contemporary progressive ideas. Her "Art Shoe" is a show of, well, shoes! All hand-painted, along with handbags and other leather goods. Rala is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 AM to 6 PM, and Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM.

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 three-piece rock band The Shaydes on Friday, March 31, and vocalist Lauren Arp on Saturday, April 1. Both nights music from 7 PM - 10 PM. Venue opens at 6 PM. 

Plus, the art of Back Dough. At the side door on Central St, you'll find fresh late-nigh doughnuts. 8 PM to 12:30 AM, or until sold out. The flavors are top secret until release each evening, but have varied from Creme' Brulee, Buffalo Chicken, and Bourbon Pecan Cheesecake. 

100 N Central St (865) 999-5251 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 >
Square Ramp

You'll find art all around downtown for Big Ears weekend—including a Pop Up tucked away on Jackson Ave ramps just west of Gay Street on your way to The Standard. You'll find a fun collection featuring textile, metal, and leather work by Melissa Everett, Brigid Ko, Coral Grace Turner, and Joanna Warren. Thursday, March 30 through Sunday, April 2, noon - 6 PM each day.

310 W Jackson Ave Venue Details >
Status Serigraph

Status Serigraph is the graphic design and illustration work of artist Justin Helton. The studio specializes in limited-edition concert posters and design for the music industry with clients including the Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, Phish, and Dave Matthews Band. Stop by and say hey and check out Justin’s work on Thursday and Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Shops like this 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 30 and Friday, March 31, 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

During BIg Ears weekend, The Holistic Connection will have Open Jam Sessions going on for anyone who wants to play instruments or sing all four days plus live music featuring Brent Hyder on Friday, March 31 at 8 PM and J.Bu$h featuring AYA on Saturday, April 1 at 8 PM. Plus lots of fun like tie dying t-shirts, bracelet-making, bubbles, and grilled cheeses! Drop by the cannabis dispensary and dab bar on Gay Street!

716 S Gay St Venue Details >
Tomato Head

A Market Square restaurant the New York Times called “the nexus for all things hip and happening in town,” Tomatoe Head is well-known for their vegan and vegetarian fare. Don't worry - carnivores are covered, too. You'll find an inventive, eclectic menu offering pizzas, calzones, salads, and sandwiches along with craft cocktails and local draft beer.

Plus, the restaurant serves as a gallery for local artists and is currently featuring the art of Megan Lang. Megan is an artist and painter from New York City. With previous solo shows in both NY and LA, and group shows reviewed in the New York Times, this is her first solo show in Knoxville where she now lives. She is a multi-disciplinary artist, and with this series of work she explores the intersection and overlap of painting and drawing using subjects taken from her own experiences and imagination.

As part of the show, there’s also a collaborative T-shirt with proceeds going to Ritta Elementary School’s art department in northeast Knox County. They’re super cool, so get one while supplies last!

12 Market Square (865) 637-4067 Venue Details >