Contained within a walkable radius of historic downtown Knoxville — in a range of ornate landmark theaters, refurbished industrial spaces, art galleries, churches, and clubs — it creates its own atmospheric climate, along with a center of gravity. From its first iteration in 2009, the festival has been a locus of expedition, defined more by a go-anywhere ethos than by any style or genre allegiance. For a few years, the event honored vanguardist classical composers like Terry Riley and Steve Reich. It has skipped some years over the last decade. This was its seventh edition — and my first, despite the best of intentions and the deepest of affinities.