Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) – Knoxville comes alive as the Big Ears festival kicks off and many visitors come to town.

Performers aren’t the only ones enjoying a crowd. Local businesses are expected to see many new faces stopping by their stores and restaurants.

“It’s a great international music festival, and it really brings a lot to Knoxville,” said Michele Hummel, executive director of Downtown Knoxville Alliance. “They expect around 35,000 people to attend with a significant economic impact.”

Hummel said having a big presence in Knoxville is very beneficial. After the challenges of the pandemic, many businesses have taken a hit. The festival has been canceled two years in a row, so getting it back is a plus for local shop and restaurant owners.

“It’s really important for the economic growth of our downtown, but also for Knoxville, it really highlights the creativity that we have in Knoxville, from musicians to artists and creators,” Hummel said.

Pioneer House owner Julie Belcher said she can’t wait to see what the Big Ears festival brings.

“We are very excited,” she said. “We’re doing stuff here in the typography studio for Saturday, hand-printed typography prints celebrating music and love.”

Belcher said that during the festival they have extended their hours and hired new staff to handle the larger than normal crowd they expect.

“Big Ears brings in a lot of people from out of town, musicians and music people, we really have an influx of people into the store.”

More than 25 companies participate in the festival.