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Big Ears unveils 2023 lineup

The experimental music festival returns to Knoxville for its 10th iteration next year.

September 13, 2022
Big Ears unveils 2023 lineup Big Ears 2023 logo.   Courtesy of the festival

Big Ears will touch down in Tennessee for the 10th time next year. The beloved experimental music festival will be held over the weekend of March 30 across a variety of venues and converted spaces in Knoxville’s historic downtown. On Monday, its organizers revealed next year’s stacked lineup, featuring a raft of artists from across the spectrum of sound.

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2023’s top-billed acts are legendary Malian rock duo Amadou & Mariam, jazz fusion quartet The Bad Plus, freewheeling folk singer Devendra Banhart, violin-wielding avant-pop vocalist Andrew Bird, Latin/American indie group Calexico, ambient icon Grouper, and France’s first fraternal twins of Afro-Cuban R&B, Ibeyi.

The true joy of Big Ears, however, lies in its expansive undercard and its encouragement of extra-curricular, intra-lineup (musical) intercourse, facilitating the feeling that any sound combination could occur at any moment in time. FADER favorites lower down on the bill include Arooj Aftab, 700 Bliss, Kevin Morby, Steve Gunn, The Mountain Goats, and Blake Mills with Pino Palladino.

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Tzadik founder and experimental sound luminary John Zorn always makes his presence known at Big Ears, but this year, in honor of his 70th anniversary, he’s pulling out all the stops for eight concerts celebrating distinct pieces of his massive catalog. More rare collaborations include the Bill Frissell Trio’s North American premiere of new music with a full orchestra, Aftab in trio with Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily, and the incomparable banjoist Béla Fleck with secret special guests.

View Big Ears 2023’s newly released (abridged) lineup poster and its full roster in alphabetical order below.

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Big Ears unveils 2023 lineup Big Ears 2023 lineup poster   Courtesy of the festival
Big Ears 2023 full lineup

700 Bliss
Adia Victoria
Allison Russell
Amadou & Mariam
Andrew Bird
Antonio Sanchez & Bad Hombre
Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, & Shahzad Ismaily: Love in Exile
Ava Mendoza w/ SUE-C
Bela Fleck: My Bluegrass Heart w/ Bela Fleck, Michael Cleveland, Sierra Hull, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz, & Bryan Sutton
Bill Frisell Four w/ Jonathan Blake, Gerald Clayton, & Gregory Tardy
Bill Frisell Trio and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (North American Premier)
Bill Orcutt Guitar Quartet (Bill Orcutt, Shane Parish, Ava Mendoza, and Wendy Eisenberg)
Bonny Light Horseman
Calexico
Carl Stone with Ned Rothenberg & Soo Yeon Lyuh
Caroline
Caterina Barbieri
Cecile McLorin Salvant
Charles Lloyd Chapel Trio with Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan
Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Popul
Christian McBride’s New Jawn w/ Christian McBride, Marcus Strickland, Josh Evans, & Nasheet Waits
David Moore
Devendra Banhart
Edgar Meyer Trios w/ Tessa Lark & Joshua Roman
Fuji||||||||||ta
Gatos do Sul
Grouper
Ibeyi
Ichiko Aoba
Iron & Wine
JACK Quartet plays Catherine Lamb’s divisio spiralis
James “Blood” Ulmer
Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry featuring Marilyn Crispell & Carmen Castaldi
Josephine Foster
Kali Malone
Kevin Morby
Los Lobos
Maeve Gilchrist: The Harpweaver w/ Aizuri Quaret
Makaya McCraven: In These Times
Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos
Mary Halvorson Amaryllis
Mary Halvorson Belladonna w/ Mivos Quartet
Mayan Space Station (William Parker w/ Ava Mendoza & Gerald Cleaver)
Nate Smith + Kinfolk
Orrin Evans Tarbaby (w/ David Murray)
Pino Palladino and Blake Mills with Sam Gendel and Abe Rounds
Rafiq Bhatia
Reid Anderson
Rich Ruth
Rickie Lee Jones
Sam Gendel & Sam Wilkes
Sam Gendel Concert Group with Gabe Noel & Phil Melanson
Sierra Ferrel
Sierra Hull
Son Lux
Sona Jobarteh
Steve Gunn
Steve Reich’s Complete String Quartets performed by Mivos Quartet
Tarta Relena
Terry Allen & the Panhandle Mystery Band
The Bad Plus
The Jazz-Bins
The Mountain Goats
The Music of Annea Lockwood performed Nate Wooley & Yarn/Wire
The Music of Eliane Radigue performed by Nate Wooley & Carol Robinson
The Weather Station
Tyshawn Sorey Trio with Joe Lovano & Bill Frisell
Vijay Iyer Trio (Vijay Iyer, Linda May Han Oh, & Tyshawn Sorey)
Vinicius Cantuaria
William Parker In Order to Survive
Xylouris White
Zoh Amba w/ Tyshawn Sorey & Thomas Morgan

John Zorn 70th Birthday Celebration
Nove Cantici
Bill Frisell, Julian Lage, & Gyan Riley
Bagatelles Pt. 1
Brian Marsella Trio (Brian Marsella, Trevor Dunn, & Kenny Wollesen) & John Medeski Trio (John Medeski, Dave Fluczyski, & G. Calvin Weston)
Bagatelles Pt. 2
Mary Halvorson Quartet (Mary Halvorson, Miles Okazaki, Drew Gress, Tomas Fujiwara) Trigger (Will Greene, Simon Hayes, & Aaron Edgcomb)
Gnostic Trio
Bill Frisell, Kenny Wollesen, & Carol Emanuel
Painkiller
John Zorn, Bill Laswell, & Dave Lombardo
Chamber Music
Jack Quartet (Christoper Otto, Austin Wulliman, John Pickford Richards, & Jay Campbell) plus Yura Lee, Michael Nicolas, & Sae Hashimoto)
Cobra
Bill Frisell, Mary Halvorson, Will Greene, Brian Marsella, John Medeski, Mike Nicolas, Trevor Dunn, Simon Hanes, Sae Hashimoto, Dave Lombardo, Aaron Edgcomb, & Kenny Wollesen
John Zorn: A Capella Vocal
Kirsten Sollek, Eliza Bagg, Elizabeth Bates, Sarah Brailey, & Rachel Calloway

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Big Ears unveils 2023 lineup