On the heels of its triumphant tenth-year celebration, the Big Ears Festival returns March 21 – 24, 2024, transforming Knoxville, TN’s historic downtown into an exhilarating, kaleidoscopic feast of music and imagination. 

Jazz icon Herbie Hancock; Led Zeppelin visionary John Paul Jones; performance art pioneer Laurie Anderson; guitar wizard Fred Frith; post-hardcore heroes Unwound; Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker; Grammy Award-winning bluegrass picker Molly Tuttle; hip-hop legends Digable Planets; multidisciplinary artist Samora Pinderhughes; Malian chanteuse Fatoumata Diawara; and Mexico’s irresistible Son Rompe Pera highlight a rich and diverse lineup. 

2023 Pulitzer Prize-winner Rhiannon Giddens will be in residence performing several different programs; the legacy of NEA Jazz Master and 2016 Pulitzer recipient Henry Threadgill will be celebrated by four of his bands; and a 70th birthday celebration for guitarist Marc Ribot will feature his Ceramic Dog along with a myriad of surprises. 

The 2024 Big Ears adventure expands further as electronica pioneer King Britt curates a fourteen-artist, four-day Blacktronika program with legendary artists and young visionaries, joining a full-fledged roster of hip-hop influencers and innovators like Armand Hammer, MAVI, Roc Marciano, and others. 

The iconic and influential Nonesuch Records’ 60th anniversary will be celebrated with performances by Brad Mehldau, Caroline Shaw, Darcy James Argue, Mary Halvorson, Davóne Tines, Sam Amidon, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Yasmin Williams; the aforementioned Rhiannon Giddens, Laurie Anderson and Molly Tuttle; and a rare live performance by Robin Holcomb, among others.

The jazz of luminaries like Charles Lloyd, Jason Moran, and Dave Holland; Trio Mediæval singing Hildegard von Bingen; the unclassifiable, multi-dimensional work of JG Thirlwell, Elliot Sharp, Sally Gates, Kassa Overall, Jlin, and Ash Fure contribute to the dynamic schedule of nearly 200 performances throughout downtown Knoxville’s historic theaters, churches, performance spaces, nightclubs, and galleries. “Big Ears is conceived as an adventure,” says Founder and Artistic Director Ashley Capps. “It’s an opportunity to hear the world’s most exciting musical creators as well as to open up to new ideas and experiences. It spurs the imagination and nourishes the soul. That’s the real magic of Big Ears.” 

The full line up of artists and programs can be found at bigearsfestival.org with new additions and details found each week in the festival’s newsletter.

Big Ears passes go on sale Thursday, September 14, at 9 a.m. ET at bigearsfestival.org/passes