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Big Ears Festival brings thousands from across the world to Knoxville

The event is sold out, but guests can still find free concerts.
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 7:12 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Spring is here and some Scruffy City fan favorite festivals are in full bloom like the Bike Boat Brew and Bark, the Dogwood Arts Festival and the Big Bears Festival.

The Big Ears Festival is back for the first time since COVID-19 cancelled its 2020 event. Founder Ashley Capps told WVLT News he’s expecting some 30,000 music and art lovers from around the world to flood downtown streets. The non-profit festival brings four days of live bands, films and performances inside the Tennessee Theatre and art showcased around the city.

Artists and authors from Knoxville’s very own Nicki Giovanni to Headliner Patti Smith will be in town. NPR has called the festival “a locus of expedition.”

Capps and Visit Knoxville expects the event to bring record festival visitors and revenue to the city. Some hotels only have a few rooms up for grabs this weekend with some artists already here spending time in some Knox County students and organizations.

“The Cattywampus Puppet Council is one of our partners and children in schools have been making puppets going back to January. There’s going to be a big parade for the community on Saturday afternoon,” Capps said.

The event is sold out, but guests can still find free concerts and events.

The free Krewe Du Cattywampus Parade will run through the old city Saturday at 1 p.m. The studio will be open for volunteers who’d like to work on the oversized puppets at St. James Church Tuesday evening from 4 to 7 p.m.

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