An Appalachian Celebration
with Yo-Yo Ma & Friends
May 26, 2023
World’s Fair Park Knoxville, TN

Music, food, storytelling, dance, and conversation.

A Unique Gathering

Yo-Yo Ma has partnered with Big Ears to design a week of cultural experiences that lift the myriad voices of Appalachia – Indigenous, European, Latinx, Black, and beyond – and gather local artists, scientists, leaders, and community members in an exploration of our common future, with nature as our guide.

The culmination of this week-long gathering will take place in Knoxville’s World’s Fair Park, where Yo-Yo Ma will be joined by special musical guests including Rhiannon Giddens, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile, along with storytellers, poets, puppets, and dancers in a concert experience like none other. The festival grounds at the World’s Fair Park will be a carefully curated, multi-faceted Appalachian celebration of its own, highlighting some of the region’s very best food and arts and crafts, along with storytelling events, square dancing, music making and more.

These events continue Ma’s multi-year, multi-location project, Our Common Nature, which has brought together communities from Maine to Hawai‘i to explore the many ways in which culture connects us to the natural world and to one another.

Yo-Yo Ma & Friends
Yo-Yo Ma & Friends


Chris Thile

Chris Thile

Thursday, May 25
Bijou Theatre
Doors: 7:00pm
Show: 8:00pm

MacArthur Fellow and Grammy Award-winning mandolinist and singer-songwriter Chris Thile, who the Guardian calls “that rare being: an all-round musician who can settle into any style, from bluegrass to classical,” and NPR calls a “genre-defying musical genius,” is a founding member of the critically acclaimed bands Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek. For four years, Thile hosted public radio favorite Live from Here with Chris Thile (formerly known as A Prairie Home Companion). The virtuoso mandolin player, singer-songwriter, and radio personality will perform a solo concert at the Bijou Theatre (with a few surprises). Tickets for this performance are available now!


Yo-Yo Ma & Friends

Friday, May 26
World’s Fair Park
Doors: 5:00pm
Show: 8:00pm

More than a concert, Ma and guest musicians Rhiannon Giddens, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and regional musicians will perform solos, duos, trios and more – joined by storytellers and dancers – all woven into a rich, multi-layered and utterly unique concert experience. The festival lawn will host an array of entertainment and educational experiences highlighting the cultural traditions and natural beauty of the region: delicious food from area chefs, the work of some of the region’s leading artisans, storytelling villages, square dancing sessions, music making workshops, and more. Tickets for this very special performance are on sale now!

Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon Giddens
with Justin Robinson & Dirk Powell

Saturday, May  27
Bijou Theatre
Doors: 7:00pm
Show: 8:00pm

A MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Giddens co-founded the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. She most recently won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for They’re Calling Me Home, which she made with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi. Giddens is now a two-time winner and eight-time Grammy nominee for her work as a soloist and collaborator. The acclaimed singer-songwriter and artistic director of the Silk Road Ensemble will be joined by fellow Carolina Chocolate Drop Justin Robinson as well as Dirk Powell for a very special performance at the Bijou Theatre. Tickets for this performance are available now!

Concert Passes

Passes to attend Yo-Yo Ma & Friends at the World’s Fair Park in Knoxville, TN will be available to the general public beginning Friday, February 3 at 9:00am ET. Passes for Chris Thile and Rhiannon Giddens at the historic Bijou Theatre will go on-sale at a later date. Patrons who purchase passes to Yo-Yo Ma & Friends will receive access to a special pre-sale for each of the featured Bijou performances. Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates and special notifications regarding all performances taking place as part of Our Common Nature.

There are no physical tickets or passes. All pass types will be delivered via delayed, digital delivery to the email address provided upon purchase approximately 1-2 weeks before the event.

Yo-Yo Ma & Friends at World’s Fair Park

There are multiple options for attending the unique, multi-faceted concert presentation taking place with Yo-Yo Ma and Friends at the World’s Fair Park on Friday, May 26. Each pass will allow access to the event celebrating the rich, vibrant history of the region through music, food, song, and dance.

Yo-Yo Ma & Friends GA – $50.00 + fees

Your General Admission pass allows entry to the concert celebration taking place at World’s Fair Park. Experience Appalachia’s vibrant culture and history through music, food, song and dance.

Yo-Yo Ma & Friends VIP – $135.00 + fees

Celebrate Appalachia in style. Your VIP ticket will include exclusive seating area and other VIP amenities, including private concessions and restrooms, during the event.

Yo-Yo Ma & Friends GA Family Bundle – SOLD OUT!

Bring the whole family to experience Appalachia’s vibrant culture and history. Your 4-pack bundle will allow access to you and your family or three closest friends to experience this one-of-a-kind concert experience.

“Let us use culture to remember that we are part of nature; that the survival of the earth cannot be separated from the health of society; and that to love humanity is to love our planet.”

— Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma

Our Common Nature: An Appalachian Celebration
is made possible by:

Big Ears
The Boyd Foundation
The Boyd Foundation
Visit Knoxville

Our Common Nature is supported in part by federal award number SLFRP5334 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Contact Us

Inquire about the event, partnerships & sponsorships, etc.