Music

Big Ears Festival Is The Latest Music Fest To Be Canceled In Response To The Coronavirus

Earlier this week, Ultra Music Festival announced that it would be postponed until 2021 as coronavirus concerns mount worldwide. Yesterday, Coachella confirmed it would be pushed back six months for the same reason. These changes of plans seem to be setting a precedent, as other music events are changing their plans as well. The latest is Knoxville, Tennessee’s Big Ears Festival, which has announced that its 2020 edition, which was set to kick off on March 26, has been canceled.

Ashley Capps, Founder and Executive Director of Big Ears Festival, wrote in a statement, “Just 48 hours ago, we were optimistic that there was a path forward; but with events surrounding COVID-19 developing rapidly along with the obvious need for urgent steps to contain its spread, we simply cannot move forward with the festival as scheduled. This has been a tough decision. Not only is the principle that ‘the show must go on’ woven into our DNA, but the impact of this cancellation on the community that makes Big Ears possible — the artists, the festival attendees, our staff and production teams, and the Knoxville community with all of its businesses and workers — cannot be overstated.”

This year’s Big Ears lineup was set to feature Patti Smith, Thundercat, Sudan Archives, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, and others

Read the full statement from Capps below.

“It has become clear that we must cancel Big Ears 2020, scheduled for the weekend of Thursday, March 26 thru Sunday, March 29.

Just 48 hours ago, we were optimistic that there was a path forward; but with events surrounding COVID-19 developing rapidly along with the obvious need for urgent steps to contain its spread, we simply cannot move forward with the festival as scheduled.

This has been a tough decision. Not only is the principle that ‘the show must go on’ woven into our DNA, but the impact of this cancellation on the community that makes Big Ears possible — the artists, the festival attendees, our staff and production teams, and the Knoxville community with all of its businesses and workers — cannot be overstated.

We will be offering refunds to all ticket purchasers (assuming you purchased your tickets from our authorized vendor, Front Gate). Within the next day or two, we will be emailing ticket holders with information about the process for securing your refund.

We are grateful to those of you who have inquired about converting your ticket purchase to a tax-deductible donation. This is indeed possible and we will include details about that option as well.

We are very grateful for the kind words and support that we have received from so many of you. We believe in Albert Ayler’s proclamation that ‘music is the healing force of the universe’ with all of our heart and soul. A mere two weeks ago, The New York Times called Big Ears ‘…one of the world’s greatest music bashes.’ We will be back to live up to that accolade as soon as we possibly can At the moment, it is too early for us to assess if we may be able to reschedule the festival for sometime later in 2020; for now, we need to pause and refocus.

These are difficult times. We urge you to stay healthy and do whatever you can to help one another and to make this a better world. We’re counting on you.
Please stay in touch.”

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