With the downtown of Knoxville, TN entering the phase two of a remarkable restoration and revitalization, and under the leadership of a progressive city government, it’s not really all that surprising that a mind-bogglingly diverse music scene should emerge. But that’s what has happened. Big Ears, a festival of the alternative and avant-garde dreamed up by AC Entertainment, made waves March 28-30 with headliners Steve Reich, John Cale, and a host of cutting-edge acts. (Read info from Rolling Stone and the New York Times) This past weekend has seen Rhythm n’ Blooms, a multi-venue festival of roots music.
Next weekend, opera gets its turn in the 13th year of Knoxville Opera’s Rossini Festival. This year’s featured work is Bellini’s Norma, with soprano Rochelle Bard as Norma, tenor Ta’u Pupu’a as Pollione, and mezzo J’nai Bridges as Adalgisa. Elizabeth Bachman directs with KO artistic director Brian Salesky in the pit. The performances are Friday evening at 8 p.m and Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. at the Tennessee Theatre on Gay Street.
Sandwiched in between the two performances on Friday and Sunday is the International Street Fair on Saturday, with food, wine, and artisan ware vendors lining Gay Street (photo above) and adjacent streets. Five stages of entertainment run the gamut from opera to jazz, and a lot in between.