by Jordan Achs
Probably the most buzzed about topic at Big Ears 2016 was the grand opening of a new venue in downtown Knoxville – The Mill & Mine.
One year later, The M&M features a trendy industrial-style interior, a state of the art sound and lighting system, and a large outdoor patio.
“The Mill & Mine has a lot to offer, and more and more people are discovering that,” said Margaret Stolfi, General Manager of the Mill and Mine. “As a concert venue, it complements the Bijou and Tennessee by providing a good size room for acts better suited for an open space versus theater seating.”
Located in the heart of the Old City, it’s within walking distance of many popular bars and restaurants for pre-show dinner and drinks. The industrial aesthetic to the building mirrors the “scruffy” downtown atmosphere Knoxville is embracing, which makes the venue already feel like a staple.
Sam Shankle, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, went to Phantogram’s show in October on a date. He said it was a much nicer than most other places he goes to for live music, and added, “They were really quick serving drinks, and they do a great job of scheduling quality artists. … I really liked the outdoor space for fresh air in between sets.”
Some of the acts that performed during Big Ears 2016 included jazz saxophonist and Kendrick Lamar collaborator Kamasi Washington, Chilean music producer and DJ Nicolas Jaar and popular indie rock band Yo La Tengo. Since then, their inaugural year was packed with heavyweight shows such as M83 in October, Sylvan Esso in September and HAIM in June.
“In February of this year alone we had 4 sold out shows,” Stolfi said. “And we had lots of fun with Moon Taxi just a couple weeks ago as they celebrated their 10th anniversary.”
With a capacity of 1,200 people, the venue is large enough to accommodate a variety of events. Stolfi said they’ve hosted weddings, corporate events, fundraisers and conferences.
“We want the venue to enhance the neighborhood, which has been underutilized for years,” Stolfi said. “Ideally, the Mill & Mine is part of downtown Knoxville’s growth as a whole. There are still more developments to come in and around the venue itself. Stay tuned — we are just getting started.”
Mill & Mine has shows booked throughout the spring and summer, including rock band Spoon, experimental pop-band Animal Collective and rapper Machine Gun Kelly.
It’s also one of the main venues for Big Ears 2017, which marks the venue’s one-year anniversary.