For the last couple of weeks, we've been speculating about the schedule and dates for the next Big Ears, AC Entertainment's nationally renowned festival of avant-garde music and indie rock that's been one of Knoxville's best early spring events the last two years. It turns out that all that guessing has been pointless; organizers announced earlier this week that the festival won't happen until at least summer 2011, due to scheduling conflicts.
"Before too much more time passes, we want to end the suspense," reads a press release credited to "the Big Ears Team." "Big Ears 2011 will not be taking place during the first half of 2011. The reason is simple. While we have many exciting things in the works, they were not quite coming together on the timeline we had hoped. So, rather than force things and fall short of the festival that we've imagined for 2011, we've decided to push the pause button for a moment. We'll be making an announcement with more details early in 2011. We can't wait to tell you about what's in store."
A few notable acts—Dutch post-punk collective the Ex, who played Big Ears in 2010, and reunited post-rock activists Godspeed You! Black Emperor—have announced tour dates that might line up with a stop in Knoxville in February or March, when the first two Big Ears were held. And Swiss pianist/composer Nik Bartsch, who performed in Knoxville in 2008, is scheduled to appear at the Bijou Theatre with his backing band Ronin in late February, according to his label, ECM. Bartsch's 2008 show was the first of an informal series of AC Entertainment concerts that year under the Big Ears banner, before the name was applied to a full weekend festival.
By this time last year, AC Entertainment had already announced most of the lineup for Big Ears 2010, which featured Terry Riley, the National, Vampire Weekend, Dirty Projectors, Joanna Newsom, and dozens of other artists, and tickets were already on sale.
CORRECTION: Nik Bartsch was originally identified as Swedish; he is Swiss.