Aug 27, 2022 - Things to Do

Welcome to Music (Festival) City

Lori McKenna performs with her band at Americana Fest in 2019
Lori McKenna performs with her band at Americanafest in 2019. Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

September marks the start of roots-music festival season in the Nashville area with Americanafest, Live on the Green and Pilgrimage Fest taking place in the span of a few short weeks.

Why it matters: The trio of annual festivals proves Nashville is about more than just mainstream country music and CMA Fest.

Details: Every city in the country boasts a music festival or concert series, but even in the crowded environment, Americanafest stands alone for its creative approach. Americanafest takes place Sept. 13-17. A festival pass, which gets you into almost every concert, costs $175.

  • The event is part music business conference, with industry experts meeting to discuss cutting-edge topics. It's also part niche festival, with venues across Davidson County used for showcases by headlining stars and up-and-coming artists.
  • The Americana Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium, one of Nashville's best concerts annually, is held during the week and isn't included with a festival pass. This year's nominees include Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell and Allison Russell.

Nate's pick: One of my favorite indie country bands, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, plays Exit/In at 10pm on Sept. 14. Listen to their song "Good as Gold," which has over 1 million streams on Spotify.

Adam's pick: I love hearing from the professional songwriters behind some of country's biggest hits. Americanafest offers an opportunity to appreciate two of the all-time greats.

  • Gretchen Peters, who wrote the Martina McBride classic "Independence Day," and Lori McKenna, the force behind Tim McGraw's "Humble and Kind," are both scheduled to take the mic.

📍 Don't forget: Live on the Green takes place next week, Sept. 1-5.

  • It's free to attend, but premium passes with better seating and other perks start at $218.
  • The festival serves as a sort of victory lap for local success stories. Sheryl Crow, COIN, Moon Taxi and Yola are among the headlining artists.

ğŸŽ¸ The Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Fest takes place Sept. 24-25 in Williamson County. Chris Stapleton, the Avett Brothers and Carlile are among the headliners. Two-day passes start at $219.

Bluebird on the Mountain.
Bluebird on the Mountain. Photo: courtesy of Dyer Observatory
More fall arts events:

🐦 Bluebird on the Mountain is the ultimate mashup of the area's greatest attributes.

  • The Bluebird Cafe's singer-songwriter showcases move to the lush hilltop home of the Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory.
  • The Sept. 10 concert is sold out, but you still have a chance to snag tickets for the shows on Oct. 1 and 8.
  • Liz Rose, the featured performer scheduled on Oct. 1, co-wrote classic country songs by Taylor Swift and Little Big Town.

ğŸŽ· Jazz on the Cumberland: In its 10th year, the Nashville parks department's Jazz on the Cumberland series continues this fall.

  • The free, family-friendly concert series takes place at Cumberland Park on the East Bank. The Dana Robbins Band headlines on Sept. 18, and Joseph Wooten plays Oct. 16.
Flying Burrito Brothers' stage outfits.
Flying Burrito Brothers' stage outfits. Photo: Bob Delevante for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

🍻 Nashville Brew Fest: The art of brewing beer takes center stage at the Nashville Brew Fest on Sept. 9 at First Horizon Park.

📽 The Nashville Film Festival elevates art on the silver screen from Sept. 29-Oct. 5.

🪕 The Country Music Hall of Fame celebrates the city of Los Angeles' proud history of country-rock music with a new exhibit called "Western Edge," opening Sept. 30.

  • The exhibit highlights the work of Linda Ronstadt, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Eagles and others.
  • If you go: Check out the Flying Burrito Brothers' absolutely bonkers and amazing stage costumes.
Pumpkin Fest
PumpkinFest. Photo: courtesy of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County

🥨 Nashville Oktoberfest puts the German in Germantown Oct. 6-9.

🕯 Light The Nations will take over the West Nashville neighborhood Oct. 15.

ğŸŽƒ PumpkinFest returns to downtown Franklin Oct. 29.

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