Big Ears – A Choose Your Own Adventure Music Festival (Part 4) By: Niki Kaos

Written by on April 22, 2022

Sunday is the last day of our Big Ears adventure. I’m amazed that they have music happening pretty late into the night, because that seems daunting to me, but hey – who am I to say when the party stops? Bob and I have plans to go check out Bill Frisell at the Mill and Mine for our last show of the festival. We intentionally keep it a light day because we have to travel home soon.

Old hands at the downtown shuffle by now, we head into town only to find a line around the building that is too long for us to bother with. Our big ears have heard plenty, and we set our sights on relaxing and reminiscing with some cocktails at the Tern Club. The bar looks unassuming from the street, but inside is a cute tropical vibe. Recommended to us by several other restaurant staff and festival goers as well, we decided to check it out.

While we were there for the amazing music, the Knoxville restaurant and art scene was absolutely outstanding! Such a walkable downtown, and really friendly people everywhere you went. The biggest challenge was perhaps the March winds, which could be a bit brutal around certain corners! But aside from that, everything was just so chill. I bet Knoxville would be amazing to visit in the summer because there are a lot of outdoor activities including parks, hiking trails and the Great Smoky Mountains nearby. Dolly Parton fans should note that Knoxville is pretty close to Pigeon Forge and Dollywood! In addition to all of these natural resources, the diverse array of music venues makes it easy to understand why Big Ears keeps coming back to this town.

Speaking of those music venues – I missed many of them! Of the 14 different places to see music, hear lectures or spoken work, watch film installments or enjoy performances of all varieties, I only got to six. But that is the beauty of this festival; it didn’t matter, because everything I saw was just perfect for me. When I come back next year, I’ll probably adopt a different strategy and try to see more musicians unknown to me. But this year, my star-studded festival experience created memories of a lifetime! Big Ears has won a die hard fan for sure, and I can’t wait to see who will be on the lineup for 2023.

Current track