More than 'Big Ears' make music festival unique to region

Terry Riley will be artist-in-residence for the 2010 Big Ears festival.

Special to the News Sentinel

Terry Riley will be artist-in-residence for the 2010 Big Ears festival.

Terry Riley will be artist-in-residence for the 2010 Big Ears festival.

Special to the News Sentinel

Terry Riley will be artist-in-residence for the 2010 Big Ears festival.

Knoxvillians need not venture to Manchester, Tenn., or Austin, Texas, to experience a first-rate music and film festival. It's happening in their own backyard, or downtown Knoxville to be more precise, March 26-28.

The second annual Big Ears Festival promises the city a look and listen to upcoming or otherwise non-mainstream artists in intimate settings like the Tennessee Theatre, the Bijou Theatre, the Square Room, the Pilot Light and the Knoxville Museum of Art.

Performers set to take the stage include Sufjan Stevens, Andrew W.K., The xx, The Ex, The National, and Joanna Newsom, and that just begins the list. But it isn't all about music. The festival also offers attendees unique opportunities to interact with the artists and each other through Q&A sessions, film screenings and after-hours events. Here's a roundup of what's being said about Big Ears:

Blank Newspaper: Andrew W.K. wears a lot of hats. He produces other artists' records. He gives self-help speeches. He writes books. He works on TV shows. And oh yeah, he's a pretty darn good musician. But after a single conversation, it's easy to realize that more than anything, W.K. is an easy going, fun-loving and credit-distributing entertainer. He started playing piano when he was four and a half. By thirteen, he had picked up the bass, drums and guitar. The term genre-bending is a far overused term within critical music reviews. W.K.'s catalogue is of the few that actually warrant that phrase. Blank was able to catch up with the composer/party rocker for a few questions about his performance at BIG EARS and how he has made a name for himself.

Big Ears Festival 2010 expands its lineup | ReadJunk.com: The Big Ears Festival also marks a couple of other exciting "firsts": * It will be the first time the Dutch punk anarchists The Ex have ever performed south of the Mason Dixon line in their 30 year history 26and the festival finale will feature the long-awaited return of the National, who will debut new material from their much anticipated new album to be released in May.

Big Ears Festival Lineup 2010 | Stereogum: Rather than focus on Clear Channel caliber headliners or obscure up-and-comers, Big Ears has created a slate of some of your favorites, engaging in unique performances and intriguing collaborative projects. Yes there are big (in our world) names: Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, the National, Vampire Weekend, St. Vincent. And yes the hype cycle gets a spin: jj, Liturgy, and the xx get play.

Big Ears Fest Finalizes Lineup With Sufjan Stevens, Adrian Belew, Liturgy, More :: Music :: News :: Paste: The event promises to see a lot of intra-band collaboration and, in addition to music, the festival has art installations, a film program, workshops, lectures, interactive experiences and more. Fans can get tickets to individual concerts or buy one of a limited number of all-access passes for the entire weekend on the festival's website.

Big Ears Festival Preview Special On Demand | The Futurist: The Big Ears Festival in Knoxville is getting closer and closer. The event takes place March 26-28 and if you have not already thrown your hat into the ring for our contest, you should do that now. We are pretty excited about the festival and wanted to give you a proper preview of some of the artists playing this year. So, in case you missed it, you can now stream our hour long special on demand! The show features music from the likes of Joanna Newsom, St. Vincent, The National, Clogs, Dirty Projectors and more, all of whom are playing Big Ears this year.

About Big Ears Festival 2010: "You could say that Big Ears was for people who like hearing nuanced music in excellent theaters, in a small town with no hassle 26at times, it was heaven." -The New York Times

Concertwire | 15 New Artists 22 More Big Ears Shows Added: We're thrilled to welcome the following artists to Big Ears 2010: The amazing singer/sorceress/shapeshifter SHELLEY HIRSH will perform at Big Ears in collaboration with our good friends and neighbors, those ole timey avant-gardists from Chattanooga, the SHAKING RAY LEVIS, in what is certain to be one of the most unforgettable experiences of this year's festival. They will perform in a program with Ben Frost & Tim Hecker late Sunday afternoon.

Ashley Capps Introduces the Music of Big Ears at the Square Room : Eye on the Scene : Metro Pulse: The Big Ears listening party held at the Square Room on Thursday, Feb. 25, was heavy on the listening and light on the party, as AC Entertainment's Ashley Capps held court from the stage to play-and discuss-music by key performers at the Big Ears festival, scheduled for downtown Knoxville on March 26-28.

Miami to Minehead, playing your song - The Boston Globe: Big Ears Festival: The idea was to create a hassle-free festival where music lovers could enjoy bands in small venues without having to shove (hello, South by Southwest) or camp outside in the mud (this means you, Bonnaroo). As a result, Big Ears, which debuted last year to rave reviews, features a more subdued lineup of artists - with the exception of Andrew W.K., of course. Other acts this year include Vampire Weekend, Dirty Projectors, Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, and the National. Individual tickets are available, as well as a limited number of festival passes for $250. www.bigearsfestival.com

Road Trip to Knoxville: Big Ears Festival 2010 - Nashville Music - Nashville Scene - Nashville Cream: A festival you may not be aware of, however, is Knoxville's Big Ears Fest. A mere two weeks away, this East Tennessee carnival of ear candy features a diverse lineup of artists ranging from distinguished guitarist (and Nashville resident) Adrian Belew to motivational party-rocker Andrew W.K.; from English indie-pop darlings The xx to legendary Dutch anarcho-punks The Ex. In between are artists the likes of The National, Dirty Projectors, St. Vincent, my "faves" Vampire Weekend, Abe Vigoda, Gang Gang Dance, Terry Riley, Joanna Newsom, Nosaj Thing, Warband, Sufjan Stevens, our very own William Tyler's Paper Hats, The Bang on a Can All-Stars covering Brian Eno's Music for Airports and more.

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