Nashville Calendar

Nashville Calendar of Events: Adding a Little Extra Excitement

Of course, we’re known for its vibrant live music scene with performances every day of the year. But run through this Nashville calendar of events and you’ll see we embrace all sorts of festivities. With so much happening in Nashville beyond its legendary music scene, you’ll find something that captures your interest.

→ For a variety of outdoor music series, scroll to the bottom of my Live Music page.

→ Also check out the dates for major Spectator Sports events.

Now-Oct. 27

Cheekwood Gardens

LIGHT: Bruce Munro at Cheekwood

Following the glowing reviews to the Chihuly installations in previous years, Cheekwood offers a luminous evening’s walk through the imaginative creations of Bruce Munro. What they say: “LIGHT is designed to respond to and enhance the outdoor garden and indoor gallery experiences, encouraging an awareness of our individual and collective journeys through time and space.”

September 28-October 4

Various Venues

Nashville Film Festival

The 54th Annual festival turns the spotlight from live music to film. Nashville has a soft spot in its heart for music-oriented productions, especially documentaries. More details on the dozens of films to be screened as they become available.

October 3

Bridgestone Arena

A Tribute to Ronnie Milsap: Final Nashville Show

Expect a star-studded gala honoring the artist who made “Smoky Mountain Rain” a standard. Among the performers confirmed: Tracy Lawrence, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Moore, Parker McCollum, Hunter Hayes, Trace Adkins, and Little Big Town.

October 5-8


Nashville Oktoberfest

Expect to wade through crowds of happy folks where beer is the star but the supporting cast includes all sorts of food, live polka music (with a few other styles to boot), and street vendors galore. Parking can be a challenge so plan accordingly. Free admission.

October 6

Farmers Market

Nashville Black Market

Held the first Friday every month, expect 40+ African American vendors plus live music or DJs in a family-friendly environment. Shop for art, jewelry, wearables and much more. Food trucks on hand in addition to the food court. Open 6-10pm.

October 7

Multiple locations

First Saturday Art Crawls

Yes, crawls–plural. Take in both or choose the one that works best for you. The epicenter for the Downtown Art Crawl is 5th Avenue N., as called The Avenue of the Arts, where you’ll find a dozen participants. A mile or so south of the city in a formerly industrial area is the Wedgewood-Houston (WeHo) Art Crawl where you’ll find another dozen galleries.

October 10

Ryman Auditorium

The Prine Family Presents: “You’ve Got Gold”

Jointly celebrating the late John Prine’s birthday and his legacy of quirky, heart-grabbing music, this fundfaiser for the Hello In There Foundation will feature an eclectic array of artists who loved John and his songs. No list of performers available but last year’s roster included Margo Price, Bonnie Raitt, Tyler Childers, Brandi Carlile Kacey Musgraves, Nathaiel Rateliff, Lyle Lovett, and Emmylou Harris. Big doin’s!

October 10

Brooklyn Bowl

“Handle with Care”–A Tribute to Tom Petty

Like the title says, this concert celebrates the music of Tom Petty with a strong roster including Wynonna Judd, Brittney Spencer, and Sierra Hull.

October 15

Cumberland Park

Jazz on the Cumberland

Victor Chatman returns for his 9th year of partnering with Metro Parks for free jazz concerts on the banks of the Cumberland River. An often overlooked jewel on the east side of the river, it’s a lovely setting for a family-friendly, pet-friendly event. Bring your lawn chair, blanket and maybe some bug spray. Food trucks and merchants will be on hand but you can also bring your own picnic. No alcohol allowed. The event is free with nearby parking available for $10.

October 17

Allen Arena, Lipscomb

54th Annual Dove Awards

Known as gospel music’s biggest night, the two-hour mix of awards and performances brings together a who’s who in contemporary Christian and gospel music. Tickets are available for the three-day Fan Experience or you can purchase tickets for the awards ceremony alone.

October 19-November 5


“Million Dollar Quartet”

This jukebox musical tells the story of bringing together Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins for an electrifying recording session in Memphis. Lots of details on the website. Produced by Franklin’s StudioTenn.

October 20-22

Bicentennial Mall State Park

Southern Festival of Books

Celebrating its 35th year, the festival is relocating for 2023 to the Bicentennial Mall State Park where it’ll have room to spread out a bit. Authors confirmed so far include Ann Patchett, Margaret Renkl and Lee Smith with many more announcements to follow. Readings, panels and book signings are always part of the fun. Bonus points for food options across the way at Nashville Farmers Market.

October 21


Germantown Art Crawl

Held on the third Saturday of the month, 4-9pm, you’ll typically find 40+ artists displaying their wares at the 100 Taylor Arts Market. Held indoors, there will also be a bar and food options.

October 26

Bicentennial Mall 

NightLight615 outdoor movies

Held at Bicentennial Mall State Park adjacent to Germantown, this weekly, 21+ outdoor movie series features screening of popular movies, craft beer and wine, and food trucks in a relaxed, picnic-style atmosphere. Early entry: 6:30, General admission: 7:15, screening begins around sunset. General admission is $10.99, early admission is $15.99 which include a pre-movie DJ set and $18.99 for day-of purchase. Here’s the season’s roster:

Oct. 26: Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban
Oct. 27: Halloween (1978)

October 31-December 9

Lipscomb University

Dolly Parton and the Makers: My Life in Rhinestones

Get an up-close look at dozens of Dolly’s signature outfits through this special exhibit hosted by the Fashion & Design Department of Lipscomb University. The show shares the title of a new book curated by Rebecca Seaver who currently serves as a visiting faculty member. She collaborated with Dolly’s former head patternmaker and seamstress Iisha Lemming for this “behind the seams” look at Dolly’s stagewear and the stories associated with these items. Check the website for ticket information.

November 17-February 4

Nashville Zoo


More than 1,000 silk lanterns light up the Nashville Zoo in the return of this spectacular crowd-pleasing favorite. Dozens of giant, colorful creatures await your discovery. As an added attraction at no additional cost, a North Pole Village including a nightly appearance by Santa welcomes visitors November 24-December 24.

November 24

Tennessee Performing Arts Center

Johnny Cash: The Official Concert Experience

The Man in Black is gone but remembered respectfully with this multi-media event. Johnny appears on a large screen with performances from his TV show. A live band and background vocalists accompany him on his biggest hits and personal favorites. In addition to songs, Johnny shares stories and anecdotes. Prices start at $48 for this one-night-only event.

December 5

Bridgestone Arena

All for the Hall: All-Star Concert

Vince Gill and Keith Urban co-host this annual fund-raiser for the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. This year’s line-up includes Patty Loveless, Kelsea Ballerini, Brooks & Dunn, Jordan Davis, Dierks Bentley, Patty Griffin, Mickey Guyton, HARDY, and Tricia Yearwood.

Past Events

March 28-April 1

Multiple Venues.

Tin Pan South

Songwriters are often overshadowed by the stars who record their songs–but not this week–as the writers take the stage to sing their hits and future hits. It’s a great week of music and storytelling celebrated in clubs around town. Buy the pass or do the cash-only line for an individual show.

Now-April 9


Cheekwood in Bloom

More than a quarter-million flowers welcome the arrival of spring in these elegantly maintained beds. Roam the grounds to enjoy the bursts of jubilant color. Even when the tulips have completed their swan song, new arrivals will take their place making this a peaceful wonderland throughout the spring, summer and fall. (Photo: Cheekwood IG)

Saturday, April 15

Nashville Public Square

Cherry Blossom Festival

Experience music and dance performances, art exhibits, children’s activities and much more as Nashville celebrates its close ties with Japan. Check out the food booths and themed vendors.

April 22

Centennial Park

Earth Day Celebration

11am-6pm. Head to the Bandshell to find displays by ecology-minded groups, vendors of nature-friendly products, live music, speakers, yoga, food trucks and more. Special activities for the kiddos.

April 22

Various record stores

Record Store Day

If you’re into music, this is a field day for you. All day record stores around town will be offering special prices, live music, limited edition items and more. Not sure who’s participating but here’s a start. Note: I’m aiming you at Event pages and social media links because they’re more likely to have current info.

Participants include Grimey’s, McKay’s, Great Escape, Phonoluxe, Vinyl Tap, The Groove, The Vinyl Bunker, Allison’s Record Shop, and Swaggie Records. Third Man Records seems to always do something novel to celebrate the day–like same-day pressings of a live performance.

April 15-23

Various venues

Nashville Comedy Festival

This week Music City doubles as Laugh Land with a load of comedians hitting town. The highlight is hometown boy-made-good Nate Bargatze who goes bigtime at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday, April 15th. Other familiar names include David Spade, Leann Morgan, James Gregory, Dusty Slade, Miss Pat, Ali Wong, Fortune Feimster and Ricky Smiley. Check the website for ticket and venue information.

April 22-23

Downtown Nashville

St. Jude Rock’n’Roll Marathon

Runners from across the world have praised our race as one of the most fun and best organized. Maybe it’s because you run through diverse neighborhoods, hear live music from a dozen stages along the course or gain motivation from the crowds that line the streets to cheer you on. And it all ends with a major celebrity in concert. Events include the marathon, half-marathon, 6.15 mile, 5K, 1 mile and KidsRock. Even if you’re not a runner, there’s plenty to keep your heart pumpin’ this weekend. (FYI, many locals refer to it by its former name–Music City Marathon.) Here you’ll find my tips for getting the most from this weekend.

May 5, 6, 7

Centennial Park

Tennessee Craft Fair

Dozens of artisans present their wares in a festive atmosphere. Art activities for the kids. Food vendors of all sorts. And because it’s Nashville, there will be live music. Free admission.

May 6

Sevier Park

Sevier Park Fest

Located at the south end of 12South, this year’s festival includes headlining performances by Will Hoge and Lilly Hiatt. Lots more including a bike race and a hot wing-eating contest. Nearly 40 vendors of all sorts. Two stages of entertainment. It’s 10am-6pm. Tickets are $10 for age 18 and up. Children are free with adult admission.

May 13

Warner Park

Iroquois Steeplechase

See Nashville’s dandies on display at the city’s premier horse race. Folks like to dress for the event–men in seersucker suits and bow ties, ladies in fashionable hats and spring dresses. And then there’s the rest of us (my old boss referred to us as “the great unwashed”) in shorts and t-shirts watching from the hill above the box seats. Individual tickets start at $50 with mo’ money for mo’ perks. Benefits Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

May 27-29

Arrington, TN

Tennessee Renaissance Festival

Hear ye, hear ye. Calling all knights, ladies of the court, jesters, wenches…you get the idea. TennRen returns for its 37th season at Castle Gwynn in northern Williamson County. Roam the grounds of Covington Glen, be entertained by roaming jesters and minstrels, cheer combatants in the jousting match, feast of the finest of fare. Single-day admission is $10 for children 6-12 and $25 for adults. Note: the event is cash-only. No alcohol allowed.

June 8-11

Downtown Nashville

CMA Fest 2023

CMAFest vets know Nashville becomes a non-stop party with live music throughout the day on a number of small and midsized stages downtown and booming bigtime in the evening at Nissan Stadium. Vendors offer freebies in a carnival atmosphere and the honky tonks will be in full swing.

June 15-18

Manchester, TN

Bonnaroo 2023

Just 65 miles south of Nashville, Bonnaroo has become one of the nation’s most popular festivals. Many Roo-ers make a stop in Nashville going to or from the weekend event. Headliners this year include Kendrick Lamar, Odesza and Foo Fighters but more than 50 other artists are scheduled including Lil Nas X, Tyler Childers, My Morning Jacket, KORN, Sheryl Crow, Pixies and Paramore. Hit up the website for the full line-up and details. The festival normally sells out so get your tickets now.

July 4

East Park, Nashville TN

Hot Chicken Festival

The festival is free but the chicken costs ya. Local purveyors of the potent poultry vie for the top honors at East Park. Expect live music and a variety of non-chicken vendors as well.

July 4

Downtown Nashville

July 4th: Let Freedom Sing!

One of the nation’s grandest celebrations, a day of musical performances is capped with a fireworks extravaganza. We’ve been rated from #1 or #2 in the U.S. for making a big bang on Independence Day. Activities for the kiddos noon-5pm at the Music City Walk of Fame across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame. Performers include the Nashville Symphony, remarkable duo The War and Treaty, Langhorne Slim, Tiera Kennedy and headliner Brad Paisley. (Photo at top: djgmix@Pixabay)

August 4-6


Music City Grand Prix

Start your engines! The Music CIty Grand Prix roars back into Nashville for three days packed with IndyCar racing excitement and multiple stages of live music. The 2.17-mile course includes a loop across the Cumberland River and around the grounds of Nissan Stadium. Some of Nashville’s favorite food trucks will be on hand to satisfy fans as they cheer on their favorite drivers including Marcus Ericsson, Pato O’Ward, Alex Palou and Scott McLaughlin.

September 23

Dyer Observatory

Bluebird on the Mountain

Can’t get tickets to the Bluebird Cafe? Here’s a terrific alternative as the Bluebird hosts a summer series at Vanderbilt’s Dyer Observatory, a 15-minute drive south of downtown. Bring your blanket, lawn chair, dinner and favorite beverage for a sweet evening of music under the stars with top songwriters. Gates open at 6pm with the show starting at 8pm. TIP: these concerts sell out fast so place your order as soon as tickets become available. Make sure you read all the details for admission. Additional dates:

  • September 23, same schedule
  • Rain Date: October 21