The Best Annual Nashville Festivals and Events

Nashville skyline at night; Kaldari [Public domain],
Nashville is known as Music City,and it’s a place that draws a huge number of visitors each year. Located along the Cumberland River, Nashville is the home of country music,but there’s much more to this southern city than that.

If you’re planning to take a trip to Nashville, or even if you live there, you may be surprised by the number of annual events and festivals occurring year-round in the city. Based around everything from food to music, the following are some of the best annual events held in Nashville.


Bonnaroo is a well-known music and arts festival. The festival is actually located around 60 miles outside of Nashville, in Manchester, TN. The site is a 700-acre farm, and it’s held in June each year.

This four-day music festival is produced by AC Entertainment,and Superfly Presents. The live music that takes place at the event ranges from rock and country music to pop, alternative,and hip-hop. There are usually more than 80,000 in attendance at the huge event.

Some of the acts that have taken the stage in recent years include Eminem, Nine Inch Nails, Paul McCartney, Kanye West, The White Stripes, James Brown,and Metallica, among many others.

Bonnaroo is modeled after rock concerts from the 1960s,and it pays homage to the Woodstock festival that took place in 1969.

Bonnaroo has been named as one of the best music festivals by the likes of Rolling Stone magazine and
GQ Magazine.

The Music City Food & Wine Festival

The Music City Food & Wine Festival is held in downtown Nashville in September. The festival includes tastings, chef demos, and something called Harvest Night. During Harvest Night attendees can meet culinary stars who are participating in the event.

The Music City Food & Wine Festival closes out with a gospel brunch on Sunday including delicious food, cocktails, and live gospel performances.

The Music City Food & Wine Festival was created by the Kings of Leon, as well as chef Jonathan Waxman, and the Austin-based production company that puts on the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Let Freedom Sing

Let Freedom Sing is Nashville’s July 4 th celebration. This year, Brett Eldredge is the headliner,and it’s a free event that takes place downtown. The main concert stage for the event is at Fifth Avenue and Broadway, and live music begins at noon on the day of the event.

This is a family-friendly event, and the evening ends with one of the biggest fireworks shows in the country, which occurs along with a synchronized performance by the National Symphony at the Ascend Amphitheater.

The Tennessee Renaissance Festival

The Tennessee Renaissance Festival takes place throughout the month of May, and it transports visitors to 16th Century England. The event is located in Arrington, which is about 25 miles south of Nashville. During the event, there is music, demonstrations, food,and rides.

Live on the Green

Live on the Green is a free concert series that takes place in the summer in Nashville. It is usually held in August, and the lineup of performers is typically released in June. In 2018, the event featured six total nights of live music which included several shows on Thursday and then a full three-day music festival.

This is one of Nashville’s most popular events, and it’s open to all ages. This event is held at Public Square Park in downtown Nashville, and beer and liquor are available for purchase. It’s also a dog-friendly event.

CMA Music Fest

CMA Music Fest is in June each year,and it takes place at various venues in downtown Nashville. There are booths set up in the Music City Center, and there are also performances at the Riverfront Park Stage. In the evening, there are performances by country music headliners at Nissan Stadium.

Performers at the Nissan Stadium this year will include Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert,and many others. The Chevy Riverfront Stage is free and will include performers like Lee Brice and Easton Corbin, as well as the Eli Young Band.

The Budweiser Forever Country stage is also free with performers like Deana Carter and Tracy Lawrence.

Finally, if you’re looking for a more low-key event, there’s the Southern Festival of Books, hosted by Humanities Tennessee. This event features a gathering of authors who are local as well as from around the country. There are readings, panels,and signings. This event takes place over three days, and it’s free to attend.