Next week, SXSW will kick off the 2010 festival season, which will reach critical mass in the U.S. with Middle Tennessee's very own Bonnaroo festival in June. Of course, you already know of those happenings. 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.
The Regal Entertainment-sponsored festival is a multi-venue shindig, spread across spaces such as The Bijou Theater, The Tennessee Theater, The Pilot Light, The Square Room and The Cox Auditorium. It all goes down March 26-28. Tickets can be purchased for individual shows, and three-day passes range from $100-$250. For more info take a look at their site. Seeing The Ex is probably worth the trip in and of itself. Easily one of the best live bands I've ever seen. Just sayin'.