What was once called Fan Fair, and is now called the Country Music Association Music Festival (www.cmafest.com), is a four-day music mega-show in downtown Nashville. The stage at Waterfront Park along the Cumberland River is occupied by day with some of the top names in country music. At night the hordes move to LP Field across the river to hear a different show every night. Four-day passes, which cost between $80 and $300 per person, also give you access to the exhibit hall, where you can get autographs and meet up-and-coming country music artists. This is Nashville’s biggest event of the year, and you are wise to buy your tickets and book your hotel early. Get a room downtown so you don’t need a car; parking and traffic is a nightmare during the festival.
Independence Day (www.visitmusiccity.com) is celebrated in a big way with fireworks and a riverfront concert that’s broadcast live on television. The event is free and attracts upwards of 100,000 people every year.
The Music City Brewer’s Festival (www.musiccitybrewersfest.com) is a one-day event on the lawn behind the Hilton Hotel downtown. Come to taste local brews, learn about making your own beer, and enjoy good food and live music. Tickets are required, and the event often sells out.
The East Nashville Tomato Art Festival (www.tomatoartfest.com) is a tongue-in-cheek celebration of tomatoes and the hip, artsy vibe of East Nashville. Events include a parade of tomatoes, the “Most Beautiful Tomato Pageant,” biggest and smallest tomato contests, tomato toss, and Bloody Mary taste-off. The festival usually takes place on the second Saturday of August.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition