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.
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
nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com 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 two day 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.
East Nashville Beer Festival
The annual East Nashville Beer Festival held at East Park welcomes guests to taste craft breweries from all over. Nashville food trucks and East Nashville restaurants set up, offering food to soak up the brew.
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
For more than 72 years, the Iroquois Steeplechase has captivated thousands of spectators with its traditions, pageantry and energy of the sport. As 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 12th border castle, is the centerpiece of the festivities. Tours of the castle and its displays of medieval weaponry are included in admission.
Southern Women's Show
The Southern Women’s Show offers four days of fashion, cooking, career information, health and education, hundreds of exhibits, shops, and celebrity appearances. The event takes place at the Music City Center.
Brew at the Zoo
Sample brews from dozens of craft breweries while strolling through the Nashville Zoo during the annual Brew at the Zoo. The event includes an animal show, live music and food from local food trucks.
Full Moon Pickin' Parties
A must-experience for bluegrass players and lovers, Friends of Percy Warner Full Moon Pickin' Parties feature bluegrass music including jam circles and main acts on a stage. The event series runs from May to October on Fridays at the Percy Warner Equestrian Center. Performances are scheduled for Friday nights that will have a full moon. Visit their website for dates.
The summer schedule of Musicians Corner takes place each Saturday in May and June. (The Fall schedule runs September-October). This free, family-friendly event is open to the public with musical performances from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Pre-show activities begin at noon with food trucks, beer and wine garden and "Kidsville" activities.
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.
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.
Movies in the Park
Every year the Nashville Scene hosts Movies in the Park, which takes place each Thursday in June at Elmington Park. This free event includes food trucks, vendors, games and, of course, a movie that starts at dark.
Nashville Dancin' takes places at Riverfront Park on Thursday evenings beginning in June and running through the end of July. This free event includes a diverse lineup of musical acts, food trucks and beer stands. This year's performers include Will Hoge, Houndmouth and Xavier Rudd.
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
Set on the 700+ acres of Great Stage Park in Manchester, TN, Bonnaroo is a four-day festival that draws 80,000 fans every summer. Featuring over 150 musical performances, along with comedy, cinema, sustainability workshops, and more, the grounds are converted into a virtual city of music and art. Bonnaroo's cultural impact has been so profound that it was cited as "one of the 50 moments that changed the history of rock and roll" by Rolling Stone Magazine.
Big Band Dances at Centennial Park
Search Centennial Park Big Band Dance' on Facebook for more details.
Search 'Centennial Park Big Band Dance' on Facebook for more details. Dance your way through June, July and August at Centennial Park. Big Band Dances host live music each Saturday from 7:30-10 p.m. This event is fun and free!
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts hosts an annual summer event series called Frist Fridays. Enjoy live music, snacks and drinks and check out the exhibits going on that month. Frist Fridays take place the last Friday of June, July and August.
Let Freedom Sing! July 4th in Music City
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 200,000). Live music plays all day long and into the night with a big finale of fireworks choreographed to the GRAMMY-winning Nashville Symphony.
Music City Hot Chicken Festival
Every year on the 4th of July, hot chicken lovers gather at East Park for the Music City Hot Chicken Festival. Nashville's best hot chicken creators offer up tastes of their spicy dishes for the masses.
Music City Brewer's Festival
Celebrate American Beer Month in Nashville at the 13th 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 annual three-day event, hosted by the African American Cultural Alliance, embraces the culture of Africa. The festival takes place at Hadley Park and features exotic food and daily stage shows showcasing poetry, rap, reggae, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, and drama.
Americana Music Association 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 approximately 165 live performances at nine music venues from both established and emerging artists. The annual Americana Awards are also held during the festival and take place at the historic Ryman Auditorium.
Live on the Green
Live On The Green is a free six-week concert series that takes place on Thursday evenings leading up to a three-day festival in September at Downtown's Public Square Park. 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 four performances with the first starting around 5 p.m. and the headliner wrapping up around 11 p.m.
Nashville Greek Festival
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.
Tennessee Craft 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 John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge overlooking the Cumberland River, the festival features more than 300 domestic and international wine selections for tasting.
The fall performances of Musicians Corner takes place each September and October at Centennial Park. This free, family-friendly event is open to the public with musical performances from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Pre-show activities begin at noon with food trucks, beer and wine garden and "Kidsville" activities.
Southern Ground Music & Food Festival
Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Music & Food Festival features two days of stellar music and amazing food at Downtown Nashville’s Lawn at Riverfront Park. The Zac Brown Band closes both nights of the festival that include a diverse lineup of artists. Southern cuisine also takes center stage with chefs from across the south sharing their culinary delights.
Music City Food + Wine Festival
musiccityfoodandwinefesitval.com Music City Food + Wine Festival is the creation of Caleb and Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon. The country's top chefs and wine, spirit and beer crafters join chefs from in and around Nashville for two days of panels, showcases, cooking demos, meals, and more.
Nashville Beer Festival
The annual beer festival, located at Public Square Park, features more than 45 breweries and 150 craft beers. Enjoy samples as well as great food and festivities.
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.
Southern Festival of Books
Now in its 26th year, the Southern Festival of Books is one of the first book festivals of its kind, a true celebration of the written word, which has inspired hundreds of similar book festivals throughout the country. The free festival takes place at War Memorial Plaza and features more than 200 of the nation's and region's most prominent authors who take part in readings, panel discussions, book signings, and more.
Nashville Whiskey Festival
The Nashville Whiskey Festival, a three day event that takes place at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, gives guests the opportunity to meet distillers, taste whiskeys, learn about the whiskey-making process, and enjoy live music, good food and more.
The annual event at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds showcases a variety of unique seasonal and gift items as well as holiday arts and crafts from more than 260 merchants and 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 genre. The CMA Awards take place at the Bridgestone Arena in Downtown Nashville every November.
Gaylord Opryland's "A Country Christmas"
Gaylord Opryland's “A Country Christmas” is proud to present the Radio City Christmas Spectacular; starring the world-famous Radio City Rockettes, back with dazzling costumes, brilliant choreography and favorite scenes such as the “Living Nativity” and the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.” There's Restless Heart: A Season of Harmony Dinner Show, ICE! Featuring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Arctic Plunge Snow Tubing & Glacier Glide Ice Skating, Christmassy DreamWorks Experience, Outdoor Nativity Scene, Photos with Santa, Parade of Trees, Carriage Rides, General Jackson Showboat, Treasures for the Holidays, nearly two million holiday lights, and more. It's everything Christmas and all at 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 at Belle Meade Plantation
See the 1853 Belle Meade Plantation lavishly adorned in Victorian splendor and learn about the family’s traditions.
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.