MUSIC CITY FESTIVALS
Throughout the year, Music City is highlighted with various festivals celebrating songwriters, music, authors, arts and crafts, food and wine, dance, and holidays. Many of these festivals have received national media attention and attract large and diverse audiences. With so many options, there’s something for everyone in Music City. Check out the most up-to-date event listings online at visitmusiccity.com and click on “Events Calendar.”
Nashville Auto Fest
This event features a swap meet, car show, car corral, and a Sunday church service sponsored by the Christian Hot Rod Association. Trophies and prizes of more than $2,500 in cash are awarded to car show entries.
Nashville Restaurant Week
Sponsored by Nashville Originals, a group of Nashville independent restaurants, Nashville Restaurant Week includes dozens of restaurants offering discounted menus to showcase their unique style and flavors. Restaurants participating offer three- and four-course dinners as well as specials on lunches, breakfasts, and even coffee.
Stellar Gospel Music Awards
Now in its 28th year, the Stellar Awards has become the premier gospel event that recognizes and honors gospel and continues to showcase top gospel artists.
Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville
The Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville brings together nationally and internationally renowned experts and exhibitors in the fields of antiques, decorative arts and landscape design. The Antiques and Garden Show features 150 antique and horticultural booths and 10 innovative landscaped gardens. In addition, experts on the cutting edge of home and garden style offer special lectures.
Heart of Country Antiques Show
Located at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, the Heart of Country Antiques Show has more than 200 dealers. See American master furniture, art, porcelain, quilts, wood, and glass. Seminars, book signings, and free personal appraisals are offered throughout the event.
Music City Soul Series
Scheduled in conjunction with Black History Month, the Music City Soul Series brings out some of Nashville’s best musicians to rock the month of February. The series takes place at Jazz & Jokes on Thursday nights in February.
Nashville Lawn & Garden Show
The 24th annual Nashville Lawn & Garden Show is one of the largest garden showings in the South. Find an acre of live gardens, 250 exhibit booths, series of free lectures and a floral gallery. The Lawn & Garden Show is held at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.
Music City celebrates the month of April with Awesome April, a musical tribute to the city that promises a major event each weekend. Throughout the month, visitors have the opportunity to be in the audience of a star-packed concert, take in a potential Oscar-nominated documentary, run a marathon or relax to the sounds of acoustic guitars.
St. Jude Country Music Marathon & 1/2 Marathon
Fifty bands play live on 27 entertainment stages throughout the course while hundreds of high school cheerleaders cheer on participants. More music awaits at the post-race concert in downtown’s Bridgestone Arena. Past performers include Brad Paisley, Martina McBride, Jo Dee Messina, Diamond Rio, and Rodney Atkins. A twoday expo precedes race day with over 60 exhibits featuring free samples, the latest running shoes, sports apparel, and health and nutrition products.
Music City Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony
The Music City Walk of Fame on Nashville’s Music Mile is a landmark tribute to those from all genres of music who have contributed to the world through song or other industry collaboration and made a significant contribution to the music industry with connection to Music City. Induction ceremonies typically take place in April and November.
Nashville Film Festival
Founded in 1969 as the Sinking Creek Film Celebration, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the longest-running film festivals in the country and has been named one of the Top 5 film festivals in the U.S. by Brooks Institute. Each year, the Film Festival receives submissions of nearly 1,500 features, documentaries, shorts, animated works, children’s, and experimental films from all over the world. After pre-screening and deliberating, more than 200 top entries from all genres are selected for the competition.
Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival
Presented by the Nashville Songwriters Association International, Tin Pan South is a weeklong celebration, spotlighting Nashville as the world capital of songwriting, through the variety of songwriters who live and work here today. Club show performances are the highlight of Tin Pan South with more than 80 shows at venues all over Music City throughout the week. Night after night, fans find the best songwriters in the world performing “in-theround” in small intimate clubs. Past Tin Pan South performers include Art Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot, Donna Summer, Loretta Lynn, Carole King, Garth Brooks, Janis Ian, Kenny Loggins, Peter Frampton, and many more.
Ragin’ Cajun Crawfish Boil
An annual charity event organized by the Nashville Junior Chamber each spring at Riverfront Park, this event welcomes over 2,000 event-goers to experience the area’s most unique crawfish boil, complete with New Orleans-style food and 4,000 pounds of fresh crawfish for attendees.
Rites of Spring
Sponsored by Vanderbilt University, Rites of Springs is a two-day festival that continually provides a lineup of the freshest artists in modern music to the Nashville community. Past performances include Dave Matthews Band, Nelly, My Morning Jacket, Kid Cudi, Gloriana, and Wiz Khalifa.
Goodguys 8th Nashville Nationals
The giant car show features more than 1,500 hot rods, customs, classics, muscle cars and trick trucks. Shop at hundreds of vendor/exhibitor booths or take a trip to the Swap Meet and Cars for Sale Corral. There’s a Street Challenge AutoCross. The Super Sunday Get-Together invites you to see or bring your late model American-made or -powered car to show off to the masses.Running of the Iroquois Steeplechase
Bring a picnic or tailgate to the nation’s oldest, continuously-run, weight-for-age steeplechase. The stylish event, a seven-race card with the featured Iroquois Memorial, benefits Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
TACA Spring Crafts Fair
The Tennessee Association of Craft Artists (TACA) is best known for its free, juried craft fairs. The May annual crafts fair in Centennial Park has served not only as a market for fine crafts, but as a conduit for demonstration programs, hands-on opportunities and the chance to meet and talk with professional craft artists. The three-day crafts festival attracts more than 45,000 people to view the craftsmanship of more than 200 exhibitors.
Tennessee Renaissance Festival
Travel back to a time when the music of harps and lyres filled the air. Open every weekend in May, the annual Tennessee Renaissance Festival relives a time when jousting and jesters ruled the castle. The Tennessee Renaissance Festival is the only festival in the country that is held on the grounds of a castle residence. Castle Gwynn, a full-size replica of a twelfthcentury border castle, is the centerpiece of the festivities. Tours of the castle and its displays of medieval weaponry are included in admission.
Nashville Pride Festival
Nashville celebrates the GLBT community at Riverfront Park every June. The three-day event starts with a pre-party on Friday, equality walk on Saturday and live music on Sunday.
fEASTival Nashville is an annual festival in the East Nashville area at East Park. It is a concept that brings together groundbreaking national musicians and artists and combines them with Nashville’s most respected local musicians, artists and restaurants. Activities include a fashion show hosted by Fashion Bytes and other local designers, local deejays, dancing, food, and art.
American Artisan Festival
Some 160 artists from around the country are carefully selected to represent their areas of expertise which include wood, blown glass, photography, metal, quilts, stained glass, jewelry, and more.
Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman
Every Thursday night from June through July, the Ryman Auditorium celebrates the sounds of Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs with the ever-popular Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman. Each week a different bluegrass artist or group takes center stage for two hours of banjos, mandolins, fiddles and guitars. Past performers include Vince Gill, Alison Krauss & Union Station and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder.
CMA Music Festival
The CMA Music Festival, formerly known as Fan Fair, is a four-day musical event in downtown Nashville. Throughout the week more than 160,000 fans converge in Music City to hear approximately 200 artists perform more than 40 hours of live music. Daytime concerts are held on the Riverfront Park stage while evening concerts are held across the river at LP Field. Daytime events include autograph signings, fishing and archery tournaments and artist Q&A sessions.
CMT Music Awards
As country music’s first fan-voted awards show, the CMT Music Awards honors the best country music videos of the year. The awards show continues to increase in popularity among fans and in prominence among critics. The awards show airs live from Music City each year.
Jefferson Street Jazz Festival
Jefferson Street comes alive when local jazz and blues musicians take over for a twoday block party celebrating the impact jazz and blues has had on Music City.
Taste of Music City
Located on the beautiful Gateway Bridge, Taste of Music City provides an opportunity to enjoy food and wine from some of the area’s best restaurants. It has been Nashville’s largest food/drink festival for the past 10 years. Taste of Music City also features live jazz music from local musicians.
Music City July 4th: Let Freedom Sing!
Each year, the city of Nashville opens its downtown Riverfront Park on the 4th of July to spectators wanting to enjoy free entertainment and fireworks for Nashville’s biggest one-day event (drawing crowds in excess of 100,000). Country music artists perform while accompanied by the Grammy-winning Nashville Symphony.
Music City Brewer’s Festival
Celebrate American Beer Month in Nashville at the 11th Annual Music City Brewers Festival at Hilton Park. More than 35 breweries from across the United States will be on hand to offer samples that range from crisp lagers to light wheat brews. Live music and a sampling of cuisine from local restaurants will also be featured.
Immerse: GMA’s Music Training Experience
Features seminars, workshops and concerts designed to enrich gospel music industry professionals, artists and songwriters. Presented by the Gospel Music Association.
Music City Festival & BBQ Championship
The Music City Festival & BBQ Championship is a multi-day festival at Riverfront Park where more than 100 BBQ cook teams compete for cash and prizes in a Tennessee State Champion event sanctioned by the Memphis BBQ Network and the Kansas City BBQ Society. Other events include a “Peoples Choice Award”, where guests can sample the teams’ fare, a Viking Cooking demonstration, a mini brew fest, a Kid Fun Zone, and live music.
Tomato Art Festival
Put on by the owners of the Art and Invention Gallery, the Tomato Art Festival is an art show celebrating the tomato in the late summer. The festival is free and takes place in East Nashville’s Five Points area.
African Street Festival
This is a three-day annual event embracing the culture of Africa. The festival features exotic food and daily stage shows showcasing poetry, rap, reggae, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, and drama.
Americana Music Festival & Conference
The AMA Festival & Conference brings more than 1,000 executives, professionals, and artists together from all over the world, representing all facets of our industry. The festival features over 100 live performances at 5 music venues from both established and emerging artists.
Next Big Nashville Presents SoundLand
SoundLand showcases the best of the thriving Nashville music scene and artistic community with this four-day music festival featuring over 100 bands performing at several venues throughout the city. Past performances include Foster The People, Alabama Shakes, and JEFF the Brotherhood.
Live on the Green
Live On The Green is a free six-week concert series that takes place at Public Square Park near City Hall. The stage is set up on the steps of the Plaza and the crowd gathers in the grassy area of Public Square Park to watch performances from local, regional, and national artists. Each night consists of 4 performances with the first starting around 5 p.m. and the headliner wrapping up around 11 p.m.
This favorite family event has been a tradition at historic Belle Meade Plantation for years. Fall Fest features fine antiques, art, crafts, live music, food and children’s activities.
Experience Greek dance, music, food and culture at the annual Greek Festival at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. Tours of the cathedral are included in the admission cost.
John Merritt Classic
The John Merritt Classic, an annual Labor Day weekend event, sees more than 20,000 fans gather for football and fun. Weekend-long festivities include Tennessee State University’s season opening football game, a charity golf tournament, concerts and special activities. The Classic is named in honor of legendary former TSU collegiate Hall of Fame coach John Ayers Merritt.
TACA Fall Crafts Fair
The Tennessee Association of Craft Artists (TACA) is best known for its free, juried craft fairs. The annual crafts fair in Centennial Park has served not only as a market for fine crafts, but as a conduit for demonstration programs, hands-on opportunities and the chance to meet and talk with professional craft artists. The three-day crafts festival attracts more than 45,000 people to view the craftsmanship of 200 exhibitors.
Wine on the River
Wine on the River is an outdoor wine festival with live jazz music. Located on the downtown Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge overlooking the Cumberland River, the festival features more than 300 domestic and international wine selections for tasting.
Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival
Each year the grounds of Centennial Park are filled with food, art, and fun from representatives of more than 50 cultures. Activities include music, dance, crafts, and ethnic art.
Grand Ole Opry Birthday Bash
Thousands of Grand Ole Opry fans help celebrate the Opry’s birthday each October. The signature event of the Opry features autograph and picture sessions with Opry members, Grand Ole Opry Birthday Bash shows, tours of the Opry House and more.
Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue
Each year more than 50 domestic and 18 international championship cook-off teams vie for the Jack Daniel’s title of Grand Champion, and more than 25,000 people descend upon Lynchburg to bask in the aroma of award-winning barbecue and celebrate one of America’s favorite pastimes.
NAIA Pow Wow
The NAIA Tennessee State Pow Wow brings together Native Americans from across the nation and Canada. Highlights of the festival include competitive dancing, storytelling, demonstrations, fine art displays, and food booths with traditional dishes from different tribes.
Oktoberfest, Nashville’s Original German Festival
Live German music, authentic polka dancing, strolling accordion players and authentic German food and beverages bring the historic Germantown neighborhood to life. Enjoy four stages of free entertainment.
Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival
Located at the Municipal Auditorium this festival is full of good food, drinks, and live music. Admission buys you a sampling glass with an unlimited tasting of over 60 beers and 40 types of bourbon. The festival also offers designated driver tickets with free parking.
Christmas at Belmont
November through December, Belmont Mansion decorates for the holidays with yards of garland, fruit, dried flowers and traditional tussie-mussies. It’s a beautiful time of year to take a tour.
The annual event at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds showcases holiday arts and crafts from more than 260 merchants. The fair benefits the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center.
CMA Music Awards
”Country Music’s Biggest Night” represents the pinnacle of achievement for country music artists, musicians, producers, publishers, songwriters, video directors, and industry executives who work in America’s most popular music genre. The CMA Awards Show takes place in November each year.
A Country Christmas
Gaylord Opryland Resort’s 30th annual A Country Christmas includes more than 2 million lights and more than a dozen shows and attractions, including an interactive, bigger-than-life ice attraction, ICE!TM featuring Frosty the Snowman; the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes®; Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas Dinner & ShowTM; “A Not So Silent Night” Concert Series, and much more. It’s everything Christmas and all at the Gaylord Opryland.
There’s something for everyone during the holiday season. From costumed docents reenacting holiday life in the 1800s to stage performances bringing out the holiday spirit. Celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Posada Navidad, and more. Enjoy history, arts, crafts, theater, dance, and song in Music City during the holidays.
Each November through January, Travellers Rest Plantation decorates the plantation home in the style and tradition of an 1830s Christmas.
Season of Celebration
November through December, guests enjoy the traditions of many cultures during Season of Celebration at Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art. Share the magic of the season with fabulous holiday decorations, Christmas trees and multicultural exhibits.
Victorian Holiday Tours
See the 1853 Belle Meade Plantation lavishly adorned in Victorian splendor and learn about the family’s traditions. Featured on “Southern Living Presents” on Turner South in 2005.
Annual Tribute to African Americans in the Battle of Nashville
Tour the significant battle sites including Fort Negley and Shy’s Hill. Pay tribute to the African Americans who fought in battle with a wreath-laying at the National Cemetery.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Be a part of the excitement for the annual post-season college football game at LP Field. The bowl pits an SEC school against an ACC rival in a game broadcast nationwide on ESPN.
Music City New Year’s Eve Bash on Broadway
Ring in the new year and rock out the old with thousands of your closest friends at Nashville’s New Year’s Eve party on Lower Broadway. This free event has a big outdoor concert as well as a countdown to the fireworks and the midnight Music Drop.
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