Big Ears Festival Tennessee announces full 2019 lineup


Today, Big Ears is thrilled to announce the complete lineup for its 2019 edition, marking ten years of Big Ears in Knoxville. If you’re getting this newsletter, you’ve likely been following along through the phases of our lineup, which already runs the gamut from ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO to YVES TUMOR, ALVIN LUCIER TO SPIRITUALIZED, MEREDITH MONK to WADADA LEO SMITH, NILS FRAHM to VIJAY IYER.  And now, there’s more: British post-punk renegades THIS IS NOT THIS HEAT, Animal Collective leader AVEY TARE, wickedly experimental soul singer SERPENTWITHFEET, and the powerful vocalist MOOR MOTHER are just a sample of what we have added to Big Ears 2019. And the not often seen improvised trio of YOSHIMIO, SUSIE IBARRA AND ROBERT AIKI AUBREY LOWE will make an appearance at this year’s festival.

A compelling core of contemporary Appalachian music also returns to Big Ears in March, anchored by the joyous chemistry of the PUNCH BROTHERS, the reunion of the revolutionary string band UNCLE EARL, and two appearances by modern banjo master BÉLA FLECK. The luminous harmonies of MOUNTAIN MAN, the North Carolina trio that just issued their second album on Nonesuch, will be on hand, as will RAYNA GELLERT and KIERAN KANE, a magnetic new folk duo for the ages. And though pianist GABRIEL KAHANE is typically associated with the current vanguard of classical music, his recent album, Book of Travelers, is a poignant attempt to express the anxieties and hopes of post-millennial America in the form of folk songs. 

The jazz programming has expanded, too, by continuing to put a class of modern innovators in conversation with veteran masters. Boundary-shattering New York bandleader AMIRTHA KIDAMBI brings her Elder Ones from New York to Knoxville. Incredible drummer MAKAYA MCCRAVEN, whose Universal Beings is one of the year’s best records, leads his band at Big Ears. Trumpet master NATE WOOLEY plays solo as well as with his new quartet COLUMBIA ICEFIELD, featuring SUSAN ALCORN, MARY HALVORSON, and RYAN SAWYER. And BILL FRISELL leads his own new quartet with singer PETRA HADEN, Harmony, in addition to his two previously announced festival appearances.

Big Ears Festival 2019 Tennessee poster