ABOUT THE PHOTO:
Johnny Lang - Photo by Gary Layda
Johnny Lang - Photo by Gary Layda

Music Series & Festivals

Throughout the year, Music City hosts a variety of festivals and series that cover a huge range of local and international music. Many of these festivals have received national media attention and attract large and diverse audiences. Check out the most up-to-date event listings online at www.visitmusiccity.com and click on “Events Calendar.

Year-Round/Seasonal

  • Year-round concerts at the Schermerhorn Symphony center from one of the fastest-rising orchestras in the world. Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero assembles series that will intrigue and delight classical music enthusiasts and newcomer/explorer alike. Plus, watch for pops and jazz concerts as well.

  • The longest-running show in American broadcasting, live every Friday, Saturday and Tuesday night from the Grand Ole Opry House or the historic Ryman Auditorium.

  • A roots and Americana retro radio show broadcast live from the homey barn behind the historic Loveless Cafe. Every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. the show features 4-6 artists from Nashville or just passing through.

  • For six weeks of Thursday nights in September and October, Public Square Park in front of City Hall becomes a big amphitheater, hosting diverse, cutting-edge music under the stars. Food and beverages are on sale, and parking in the below ground deck is $3. But ride your bike, and they’ll check it and keep it safe for free.

  • Free music on Saturdays at Nashville's Centennial Park from 3:00 - 6:00 pm, from May 7th - July 2nd and Sept. 3rd - Nov. 5th. Musicians Corner is a central point, free and open to all, where Music City gathers to perform and enjoy its music. Music in all forms. Music to entertain us, build bridges within our community, welcome our visitors and connect us with the world.

  • Every Sunday evening from May through October, the Tennessee Jazz & Blues Society hosts concerts on the lawns of historic homes. Rotating each month, the TJBS appears at Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art and Belle Meade Plantation. Guests are encouraged to enjoy hot blues and cool jazz with picnic baskets and blankets.

January

  • Now in its 26th year, the Stellar Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House has become the premier gospel event that recognizes and honors gospel and continues to showcase top gospel artists.

February

  • 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 B.B. Kings Blues Club and Restaurant every Thursday night in February.

March

  • Five nights. A dozen venues. Hundreds of the top songwriters from Nashville and around the world. It’s the biggest showcase for pure songwriters in the nation, and it’s an institution in this song-crazy city. Experience this incredible event and you’ll know why in Nashville they say “it all starts with a song.”

  • The Japan-America Society of Tennessee throws this annual celebration as a harbinger of spring and a gesture of fellowship between Nashville and Japan. Good music at the Public Square at the Metro Courthouse is always part of the mix.

April

  • 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 and Diamond Rio.

  • 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 take place in April, in conjunctions with GMA Week and November, in conjunction with the CMA Music Awards.

  • The East Nashville Beer Festival's goal is to provide a fun and safe environment for beer drinkers to learn and enjoy the finest craft beers from around the United States. All paid attendees will receive a souvenir tasting glass. The festival also features beer education and live music.

  • Held for ten years in Centennial Park, Earth Day features exhibits and demonstrations about green living, children’s activities and of course music.

  • Founded in 1969 as the Sinking Creek Film Celebration, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the longest-running film festivals in the country. Each year, this gala six-day event screens features, documentaries, shorts, animated works, children’s and experimental films from all over the world. Music docs and features are always a prominent part of the mix.

  • Sponsored by and hosted on the campus of Vanderbilt University, Rites of Springs is a two-day festival that always provides a lineup of the freshest and hippest artists in modern music for the Nashville community.

May

  • More than 15,000 pounds of crawfish are delivered fresh from Louisiana for this  two-day music event that has become a Nashville tradition. Past musical performers have included 3 Doors Down, Paramore and T-Pain.

  • A free celebration of the mountain dulcimer at historic Two Rivers Mansion.

June

  • 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 two acts take center stage for hours of banjos, mandolins, fiddles and guitars. Past performers include Vince Gill, Alison Krauss & Union Station and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder.

  • Now in its second decade as one of the nation’s leading music festivals, Bonnaroo takes place 70 miles out of Nashville in the town of Manchester. The artists are the very definition of what’s hot and important in modern music, and the areas featuring comedy, films and vendors make this one of the most complete arts events of the year.

  • The CMA Music Festival, formerly known as Fan Fair, is a four-day musical mega-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 artists’ Q&A sessions.

  • As country music’s first fan-voted awards show, the CMT Music Awards honors the best country music videos of the year. You’ve probably seen it on television, but it’s also a huge live event hosted every year at the Bridgestone Arena in the heart of downtown.

  • The history of Nashville’s famous Jefferson Street comes alive when local jazz and blues musicians perform on the Bicentennial Mall. The event, sponsored by the Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership runs from 2 p.m. and midnight. Seating is $5 if you get there before 5:00.

  • Located on dowtown’s Deaderick Street and in Public Square Park, Taste of Music City provides an opportunity to enjoy food, wine and beer from the area’s best restaurants and breweries. Taste of Music City also features live jazz music from local musicians.

  • One of Nashville’s best kept secrets are the summertime swing dances near the duck pond and the Parthenon in Centennial Park, running on Saturday nights from early June to late August. Live bands set the mood and the tempo. You come alone, with a sweetheart or a gang and show your moves. Dance lessons at 7. Music from 7:30 to 10:00.

July

  • 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.

  • Held in early July every year in Murfreesboro 30 miles from Nashville, this is the year’s biggest event featuring and celebrating old-time and hard core bluegrass music. Instrument championships, dancing and loads of food and arts/crafts demos round out the weekend.

  • Celebrate American Beer Month in Nashville at the Annual Music City Brewers Festival at Music City Walk of Fame Park. More than 35 breweries from across the United States will be on hand to offer samples that range from crisp lagers and wheat brews to stouts and porters. Live music and a sampling of cuisine from local restaurants will also be featured.

August

  • 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. Held in Riverfront Park, the event also features two days of live music with headlining acts.

  • The thriving 12th Ave. South neighborhood sets up a stage in lovely Sevier Park on Saturday nights from late August into October. You’ll see top-flight local artists under the stars. It’s free and very family friendly. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs. 

September

  • This is a three-day annual event embracing the culture of Africa. The festival, held at Hadley Park off Jefferson Street, features exotic food and daily stage shows showcasing poetry, rap, reggae, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B and drama.

  • Next Big Nashville (NBN) has become a trusted showcase for the best of the thriving Nashville music scene and its national friends. This five day music festival features over 100 bands performing at several venues throughout the city. In 2011, the event’s name changed to SOUNDLAND.

  • 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.

  • The Soul Food Festival is an inviting event that highlights the aroma of traditional soul food cooking in the air while bringing together families & friends in an outdoor social setting for a day of reunion, information and live national award winning entertainment.

October

  • Each year Centennial Park is filled with food, art and music from representatives of more than 50 cultures. This free day sponsored by Metro Parks and Scarritt-Bennett Center include dance, crafts and ethnic art.

  • 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.

  • Live German music, authentic polka dancing, strolling accordion players and authentic German food and beverages bring the historic Germantown neighborhood to life.

  • The AMA Festival & Conference brings more than 1,000 executives, professionals and artists together from all more than the world, representing all facets of our industry. The festival features over 50 showcases and performances from both established and emerging artists.

  • Bluegrass Fan Fest is a remarkable indoor music festival featuring performances by the biggest names in bluegrass over three days in the Nashville Convention Center and Renaissance Hotel. The festival also includes a 100 + booth Exposition Hall, scores of jam sessions and more! The event kicks off with the International Bluegrass Music Awards on Thursday night, saluting the year’s achievements in bluegrass music in the historic Ryman Auditorium, where bluegrass was born in 1945.

  • A country celebration of the harvest season, is held the third weekend in October at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum. Molasses making the old-time way is one of the many special demonstrations that can be enjoyed with cooking and tasting at the sorghum mill. Bluegrass music, story-tellers, country cloggers, a grist mill, traditional crafts for sale, food including homemade cakes and pies, free buggy rides, log cabin activities for children with a trail hike, pony rides, animals to touch and much more makes this a weekend of family fun.

November

  • They call it “country’s biggest night” because it’s the show that defines who’s on top in country music. Tickets to the general public for this televised blowout in the Bridgestone Arena are available.

  • Gaylord Opryland's A Country Christmas includes the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the world-famous Radio City Rockettes, Louise Mandrell's Joy To The World Christmas Dinner & Show, Treasures For The Holidays Craft Show, the General Jackson Showboat and nearly two million Christmas lights. It's everything Christmas at Gaylord Opryland.

December