Spiritualized, Mercury Rev, Béla Fleck & More Set For 2019 Big Ears Festival: Exclusive

Juliette Larthe


The Big Ears Festival is celebrating 10 years of musical exploration with a genre-defying lineup for the 2019 event, announced today (Nov. 13). The fest will take place in Knoxville, Tenn. from March 21-24, 2019.

Experimental rockers including Spiritualized, Mercury Rev, and This Is Not This Heat as well as folk artists Béla Fleck, Rhiannon Giddens, Richard Thompson and the Punch Brothers will top the lineup.

The Art Ensemble of Chicago will commemorate their 50th anniversary and Boredoms drummer Yoshimi P-We will jam alongside Susie Ibarra and Robert Aki Aubrey Lowe. Nils Frahm, serpentwithfeet, Avey Tare, Stephen O’Malley’s KTL, Oren Ambarchi, Jerusalem In My Heart, Yves Tumor, Lonnie Holley and Jlin will play their own experimental songs.

The event will combine more than 100 performances, a film festival, workshops, talks, exhibitions and a 12-hour drone concert across twelve diverse venues from historic theaters to galleries and clubs.


The festival will also feature jazz legends including Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Carla Bley, Wadada Leo Smith and Evan Parker. Vijay lyer, Mary Halvorson, Makaya McCraven, Craig Taborn, Shabaka Hutchings’ Sons of Kemet, The Comet is Coming, Mats Gustafsson’s Fire! and Nicole Mitchell’s Artifacts trio are additionally set to hit the stages.

Special programs include Harold Budd's three-day ensemble concerts, Alvin Lucier's resonance and space explorations featuring Europe's Ever Present Orchestra, The National's Bryce Dessner and Roomful of Teeth's tribute to photographer Robert Mapplethorpe -- Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) -- and Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi's Lucy Negro Redux, a collaboration with the Nashville Ballet and poet Caroline Randall Williams.

The festival will also celebrate female contemporary classical performers and composers. Powerhouses Meredith Monk and Joan La will sing, violist Kim Kashkashian as well as cellist Clarice Jensen will perform and Rachel Grimes will present her folk opera The Way ForthIce will collaborate with Carla Kihlstedt for her first classical composition.

Tickets and more information can be found at bigearsfestival.org. View the full lineup below.

Big Ears 2019 Lineup


Alien Flower Sutra

Amirtha Kidambi's Elder Ones

The Art Ensemble of Chicago

Artifacts Trio

Avey Tare

Avishai Cohen Quartet

Béla Fleck

Béla Fleck & Edmar Castañeda

Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan

Bill Frisell and the Mesmerists featuring Tony Scheer, Kenny Wollesen and the films of Bill Morrison

Bill Frisell's Harmony featuring Petra Haden, Hank Roberts & Luke Bergman

Brooklyn Rider

Carl Stone

Carla Bley TRIOS with Andy Sheppard and Steve Swallow

Carla Kihlstedt

Clarice Jensen + Jonathan Turner: For this from that will be filled

Columbia Icefield

The Comet is Coming


David Torn

DeJohnette Coltrane Garrison

Derek Gripper

Dragnet Girl with Live Score by Coupler

Evan Parker / Matt Wright Trance Map+

Ever Present Orchestra


Gabriel Kahane

Harold Budd

Ian Chang

International Contemporary Ensemble

Irreversible Entanglements

Jerusalem In My Heart


Joan La Barbara Performs works by Alvin Lucier

Joan La Barbara: Voice is the Original Instrument

Joep Beving

Kara-Lis Coverdale

Kayhan Kalhor

Kayhan Kalhor & Brooklyn Rider

Kieran Kane & Rayna Gellert

Kim Kashkashian

Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir


Larry Grenadier

Lonnie Holley

Lonnie Holley and The Messthetics

Makaya McCraven

Mary Halvorson's Code Girl

Mathias Eick Quintet

Matt Wilson's Honey & Salt

Mercury Rev

Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble Cellular Songs Concert

The Messthetics

Moor Mother

Mountain Man

Nashville Ballet: Lucy Negro Redux 

            Choreography by Paul Vasterling

            with music by Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi

            and poetry by Caroline Randall Williams

Nate Wooley

Nief Norf

Nik Bärtsch's RONIN

Nils Frahm

Oren Ambarchi

Parker / Schlippenbach / Lytton Trio

Peter Gregson

Punch Brothers

Rachel Grimes: The Way Forth

Rafiq Bhatia: Breaking English

Ralph Towner

Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi

Richard Thompson: Killed in Action

Roomful of Teeth


Shai Maestro Trio

Sons of Kemet


Sun of Goldfinger (David Torn, Tim Berne, Ches Smith)

Theo Bleckmann: Berlin - Song of Love and War, Peace and Exile

Theo Bleckmann: Hello Earth! The Music of Kate Bush

This is Not This Heat


Tim Berne's Snakeoil

TRIPTYCH (Eyes of One on Another) 

            Featuring Roomful of Teeth

            Composed by Bryce Dessner

            Libretto by Korde Arrington Tuttle

            Featuring the work of Patti Smith & Essex Hemphill

            Directed by Daniel Fish

            Produced by Arktype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann

Uncle Earl

Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn

Wadada Leo Smith: Reflections and Meditations on Monk

Wadada Leo Smith’s Nda, Performing “Divine Love” with Bobby Naughton & Dwight Andrews

Yunohana Variations with Susie Ibarra, YoshimiO and Robert Aki Aubrey Lowe

Yves Tumor


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