André 3000 Announced For Big Ears Festival

andre 3000 photo credit dexter navy
André 3000 (Dexter Navy)

Big Ears Festival has just announced the addition of André 3000 (nee André Benjamin) who will perform five times during the Knoxville, TN’s festival’s four day run (March 21-24) in separately ticketed events. Th OutKast member will play songs from his all-instrumental flute album New Blue Sun, with a band that also includes percussion legend and producer Carlos Ninos. 

Also just announced for Big Ears is the addition of artist Steve Keene, a prolific painter who may be best known for his album covers (including Pavement’s Wowee Zowee, Apples in Stereo’s (Fun Trick Noisemaker, and Silver Jews The Arizona Record) and his immense painting output which is estimated at 300,000 pieces of painted work which he sells for $20. “The punk rock Picasso,” as he is known , will have a pop-up studio at the RED Gallery in Knoxville’s historic Old City.

“The element of surprise is part of the heart and soul of Big Ears and we’re thrilled to announce these very different residencies by André 3000 and Steve Keene,” said Founder/Director Ashley Capps in a statement. “These follow on the heels of recent announcements of Sonic Youth founder  Thurston Moore’s upcoming collaboration with Led Zeppelin legend John Paul Jones and Joe Henry surprise set backed by the Julian Lage Trio. Each year builds momentum as new ideas emerge and take root. This year is certainly no exception.”

Started in 2009, Big Ears is now in its fifteenth year and attracts some 8,000 fans over the course of four nights to some dozen venues located primarily in Knoxville’s downtown area. The festival, which itself is a non-profit foundation, is known for booking  eclectic and critically acclaimed artists many of whom lie outside the mainstream music.

This year’s wildly impressive line-up includes: Herbie Hancock, Rhiannon Giddens, .Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Brad Mehldau, Beth Orton,. Carl Craig. Chocolate Genius, Inc. Christian McBride, Colin Stetson, John Paul Jones, Thurston Moore, Tyondai Braxton, Hermanos Gutiérrez, Cyro Baptista, Elliott Sharp & Eric Mingus: Songs From a Rogue State, Henry Threadgill, Vijay Iyer, & Dafnis Prieto; Kurt Vile & the Violators; Hurray for the Riff Raff, Jon Batiste ; King Britt; Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog , Mary Halvorson, Shabaka, Jason Moran & the Harlem Hellfighters, Fred Frith and far more (full line-up here).

Big Ears has also announced the detailed daily schedule for 2024, along with the Big Ears app. For more information on this year’s fest, schedule and ticketing go to the fest’s website here.