It was a stunningly beautiful evening last week at Lakeshore Park when the Big Ears Festival presented “Suttree’s Knoxville,” a silent film accompanied by live music. The film chronicled Knoxville during the four years in the 1950s which provided the setting of Cormac McCarthy’s novel “Suttree.”
Knoxville’s first poet laureate, R.B. Morris, read excerpts from the 1979 book and Morris, along with fellow musicians Greg Horne, Daniel Kimbro, Will Boyd, Kelle Jolly, Jake Xerxes Fussell and others, performed on a stage beside the 40-foot screen.
Ashley Capps, executive director of Big Ears, estimated the crowd at more than 1,000, a number which exceeded expectations and caused a quick sellout of the beer and wine offered in the refreshment tent.
I’m not sure why, since the novel is so bleak, but the mood at Lakeshore Park was absolutely joyous. Maybe it was just the fun of getting out in groups again or running into old friends and acquaintances. Or the showstopping setting which included dramatic clouds at sunset.
Here’s a sample of the Smoky Mountain shots near the end of the film: