KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Big Ears, the nationally acclaimed eclectic festival held in multiple venues in downtown Knoxville over a four-day span in late March, is “hoping for the best” amid the public’s health safety concerns about coronavirus.

On Monday, festival officials said they were “monitoring the situation closely,” and “will make prudent and thoughtful decisions as the situation develops.”

The statement released Monday also noted that none of the festival attendees, according to ticketing data, are traveling from countries where there are travel restrictions in place.

On Friday, March 6, festival promoters had released a statement about coronavirus concerns:

“We are certainly monitoring the situation, but with the festival still three weeks away, we are in full planning mode and assuming that the festival will take place as scheduled,” said Ashley Capps of promoter A.C. Entertainment, which puts on the festival.

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The festival, which features music, film and “words,” is scheduled for March 26-29. Among the artists coming to Knoxville is Patti Smith, called the “punk poet laureate” and who won a National Book Award in 2010 for her memoir.

“Certainly, as events unfold, we will be assessing any necessary changes and following the guidelines of public officials and health professionals,” Capps said. “We are also working with our event professional partners throughout the country in implementing best practices.

“We will certainly be letting everyone know should anything change. We’re of course, like everyone, hoping for the best.”

In 2016, the Big Ears Festival was called by the New York Times “the widest-angle music festival in the country, bridging the spaces between the classical tradition, improvised music, electronics and guitars,” and Alex Ross of The New Yorker called it “the most open-minded music gathering in the country.”

The festival was founded in 2009 by Capps and its website describes it as “a singular festival experience that explores connections between musicians and artists, effortlessly crossing the boundaries of musical genres as well as artistic disciplines.”

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