(installation plus performances programmed by Laurie Anderson)

Knoxville, TN – Declared one of The Guardian’s “Critics Picks” for 2016 – calling Big Ears “America’s most thrillingly diverse festival” – the Big Ears Festival continues to expand its stunning array of offerings with the announcement of two extraordinary sound installations for attendees to experience during the festival.  
 2014 Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Luther Adams’ Veils and Vesper, a series of distinct but related electronic pieces written by Adams in 2005, are extraordinarily beautiful works meant to be heard successively or concurrently.  When installed together, the listener is able to create their own “mix” by moving through the space, basking in the harmonic colors of each individual piece or to taking in the more oceanic experience of the infinite whole.  Slowly unfolding and spanning six hours in total, Veils and Vesper creates an immersive environment, which the listener can enjoy for however long they might choose.  Set in  the Sanctuary of the former First Christian Church of Knoxville, this space will once again be transformed into a place of contemplation and meditation: an oasis in the middle of the city and in the midst of the ebb and flow of the Big Ears Festival itself.   The installation will run for its six-hour duration once each day – Thursday through Sunday – during Big Ears, complemented by handful of select musical performances in the space, details of which will be announced later.
In addition to the installation of Veils and Vesper, John Luther Adams – who is composer-in-residence at the 2016 Big Ears Festival – will have other works performed during the festival weekend, including his extraordinary orchestral piece, Become Ocean.  More details about others performances of Adams’ work will be announced soon.
In a separate space at Big Ears, audiences will have the remarkable opportunity to explore the visceral, emotional, and spiritual experience of Lou Reed’s DRONES.  Designed by Lou Reed and originating from 6 of his electric guitars and amplifiers – and operated by Reed’s long-serving guitar tech, Stuart Hurwood – Big Ears festivalgoers will experience DRONES as both sound installation – lasting 3-5 hours or more – as well as performance piece, with Laurie Anderson curating a program of musicians performing live with the Drones.
As Anderson herself describes it:  “Playing with the drones is a transcendental experience…I’ve never felt more free as a musician – chasing melody, listening to harmonics, immersed in an ever shifting subtle and powerful sound field.”
Hailed by The New Yorker as “…a cool, dark, hypnotically enveloping environment,” Lou Reed’s DRONES revisits the work of Reed’s ambient, industrial masterpiece, Metal Machine Music, as well as the powerful influential backbone of the early Velvet Underground, continues to influence generation after generation of young musicians.  Audiences will have the opportunity to experience DRONES for several hours each day on Friday and Saturday of Big Ears.  The schedule of musical guests performing with the installation will be announced at a later date.
The announcement of these two installations continues to build upon the extraordinary programming offered by the 2016 Big Ears Festival.  More news – including additional artists’ performances, an expanded film program, panels, discussions, surprise shows and more – will be continue to be announced in the coming weeks.
Weekend passes, individual day passes, and reserved seat tickets for Tennessee Theatre performances, are all on sale now. VIP weekend passes are sold out.
Full details on the Big Ears lineup – including the full schedule including installations – as well as all ticketing information can be found at Interactive experiences, panels, discussions, and undoubtedly a few surprises will be revealed leading into the festival. All this and more information can be found at, by “liking” Big Ears Festival on Facebook, by following @BigEarsFestival on Twitter, and by joining the newsletter.
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Praised as “the classiest, most diverse festival in the country” by Rolling Stone, the Big Ears Festival is a dynamic, interactive experience that explores connections between musicians and artists, crossing all musical genres while interfacing with film, performance and the visual arts. Since 2009, Big Ears has hosted many of the leading composers and performers of our time, including Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, Laurie Anderson, Terry Riley, and Steve Reich, along with a new generation following in their footsteps such as Nico Muhly, The National’s Bryce Dessner, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood; ensembles such as the Bang on a Can, Ensemble Signal, The Bad Plus, So Percussion, and The Wordless Music Orchestra; leading alternative rock artists like The National, Swans, tUnE-yArDs, The xx, Joanna Newsom, St. Vincent, Vampire Weekend, and The Dirty Projectors; icons like Television, John Cale, and Silver Apples; and countless visionaries such as Pauline Oliveros, Tanya Tagaq, Jon Hassell, Antony & the Johnsons, Fennesz, Tim Hecker, Marc Ribot and My Brightest Diamond who continue to push boundaries and defy convention. The Big Ears Festival is a weekend of world-class musical performances in beautiful historic theaters, clubs, galleries, and museums, combined with talks and discussions, interactive workshops, installations, exhibitions, film screenings, surprise collaborations and unexpected connections. It celebrates the never-ending adventure of artistic creation and exploration.
Big Ears is created and produced by AC Entertainment, recognized as one of the foremost independent promoters in the United States. Founded in 1991 by Ashley Capps, the company books, markets and presents over 1,000 events per year. In addition to Big Ears, AC Entertainment is the force behind internationally renowned events including Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival® and Forecastle Festival. For more information on AC Entertainment, visit