by TJ AndersonWith a lot of Nashvillians, there’s still a bit of a disconnect, where the Nashville Symphony is seen as something geared only toward folks who were reared on classical music and in
Where To Find Free Music In Nashville This Spring And Summer
by TJ Anderson
Clearly there’s no shortage of live music in Nashville — if anything, there’s been enough enticing stuff on the calendar for a long, long time, that grabbing a second job just to cover ticket costs feels pretty logical.
Spring and summer in Nashville, though, tend to give the wallet a little relief. Across town, across genres, across months, free (and incredible) live music is easy to come by, and more than worth taking advantage of.
We’re about to kick off the 2018 season for a few different free-music series, so it seemed like a good time to outline some events — either seasonal or year-round — that I know will do right by your ears, and your wallet.
Free live music in Nashville
Every year since 2010, Musicians Corner has provided Nashvillians with a perfect weekend perch, stocked with live music, kids activities, food trucks and vendors, all inside Centennial Park, and for a ticket price of $0. This year’s run kicks off on May 11, and once again, we’re looking at a massively impressive musical mix, from Nashville Americana voice Nikki Lane to rock ’n’ roll legend Wanda Jackson. On Friday nights, we get acoustic performances; Saturdays, things go electric. The calendar’s stocked through the end of June, with tons of can’t-miss shows. Swing by musicianscornernashville.com to take a look and plan your outings.
Another free outdoor music series I look forward to every year, Live on the Green is on a bigger scale than Musicians Corner — held August through September in Public Square Park downtown, with crowds that routinely number in the tens of thousands (up top, that's a LOTG show). Big as it is, it remains just as free. You can buy VIP passes if you want a little extra comfort (they include perks from free drinks and snacks to shaded, tented seating and private restrooms), but if you’re cool with just the basics, all you need to do is show up and enjoy. We don’t know who’ll be taking the stage in 2018 yet — the lineup announcement is coming on June 21 — but given past mixes, with acts like Ben Folds. Cage the Elephant, Spoon, Ben Harper and Band of Horses, it’s probably safe to have high expectations. Head to liveonthegreen.com for lots more info, and keep your eyes on the Live on the Green Instagram for announcements.
In Nashville, we’re blessed with the best of all genres, including classical music — our Grammy-winning Nashville Symphony is world class, and tickets to their performances are a bargain, often as low as $29 for a seat at the stunning Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Still, every year, the Symphony also offers opportunities to catch a performance for free, during their annual Community Concert series, held in parks form Hendersonville to Antioch. The 2018 season kicks off on June 7, and throughout its run, you’ll be able to take in a mix of classical and popular songs, outside under the stars, all for free. Head to nashvillesymphony.org for the 2018 schedule.
For the biggest names, you’ll have to grab a pass and head to Nissan Stadium for country music’s major multi-day festival. But when the CMA Fest rolls back for 2018 (June 7-10), you’ll have plenty of free music options too, on the Riverfront Stage at Riverfront Park during the day and Cracker Barrel Country Roads Stage at Ascend Amphitheater at night, along with the Breakout Stage in Walk of Fame park (where you might catch the next big thing as they’re on their way up). A newer addition: In 2017, the fest debuted a free Budweiser Forever Country Park Stage on the lawn at Ascend Amphitheater, with a lineup of ‘80s/‘90s/‘00s country favorites, and it’s set to return in 2018. There’s more, too — it’s almost harder during CMA week to not catch free music in Nashville. Head to cmaworld.com to see more/make your plans.
A longstanding tradition most locals know, and all Nashville newcomers should plan to take in: Every Sunday for years now, some of the most talented bluegrass performers you’ll find anywhere take the tiny stage at the famous Station Inn, and blow minds, for free. Those weekly jams kick off at 8 p.m., and even if you haven’t considered yourself a bluegrass aficionado, give it a try — the musicianship is incredible, even for Nashville, and the Station Inn is a Nashville treasure, low-key and pretension-free and always booking exemplary roots music. Next free Sunday you have, head to 402 12th Ave. S. For more: stationinn.com.
Hope those help flesh out your entertainment plans in the coming months.
If your plans are about to including shopping for a new home in Nashville, let me know — I’d love to help you find the perfect place. Check out some Nashville homes on the market now, and call or email TJ Anderson Homes for more.
TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....
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