Big Ears Festival 2024

Big Ears Festival 2024

MARCH 21-24, 2024


In the words of folk artist Rhiannon Giddens, this genre-bending festival “dances over the graves” of musical and artistic boundaries.

“Big Ears” might sound like a whimsical name for a feature-length Disney film about an outcast rabbit. But no – it’s music industry lingo for someone who listens broadly and deeply across genres. This is the ethos that defines the Big Ears Festival, a four-day event held in downtown Knoxville with performances from a wide range of musical artists and writers, plus film screenings, talks and workshops. 

The venues are just as eclectic as the sounds: expect bars, historic theaters, churches, galleries and industrial spaces. Headliners this year include jazz legend Herbie Hancock (part of the groundbreaking Miles Davis quintet), pianist and composer Jason Moran, plus folk heroines Molly Tuttle and Rhiannon Giddens. And if you’re feeling auditory overwhelm, join the avant-garde horde cocooned in the sonic blanket that is the 12-hour drone: a multi-artist mosaic of art and electric and acoustic music where you are invited to sway, sit, meditate or sleep for any portion of the 12 hours. Big ears, indeed. 

The Specs

  • Over 16,000 music lovers attend the Big Ears Festival each year. 
  • Four-Day GA Passes are $400 plus fees.  Single-Day GA Passes are also available, and start at $115.
  • For easy access to the festival schedule and map, download the Big Ears app.
  • Looking for other things to do in Tennessee? Check out Fifty Grande’s guide here.


What is the closest airport to the Big Ears Festival?

Fly into McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS, 12 miles south). Then, take a rideshare or taxi to downtown Knoxville. 

Where is the Big Ears Festival held?

In various venues across downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. Everything is within a one-mile radius, so you don’t need access to a car. 

Is the festival ADA accessible?

Yes, all venues are wheelchair and ADA accessible. The city will also run free extra trolleys during the festival, if you need help getting between venues. 

Which artists are on the Big Ears 2024 lineup?

Headliners include: Herbie Hancock, Jon Batiste, Rhiannon Giddens, Adrianne Lenker, Laurie Anderson, Sons of Chipotle (John Paul Jones & Anssi Karttunen), Henry Threadgill, Digable Planets, Brad Mehldau, Charles Lloyd, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, Shabaka, Christian McBride, Mary Halvorson, Mavi, Medski, Russo, Ribot, Aoife O’Donovan, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, Fred Frith, Jason Moran and the Harlem Hellfighters, Chocolate Genius, Inc., Egar Meyer, Kurt Vile & the Violators, Beth Orton, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Roc Marciano, Unwound, Julian Lage and The Speak To Me Band, Silkroad Ensemble with Rhiannon Giddens, The Harvest Time Project: A Tribute to Pharoah Sanders. 

2024 Poster



BY Katherine James