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Summer in Nashville: 鶹ý’s guide to local events

Aerial image of downtown Nashville

Summer in Nashville is the perfect time to explore the city’s dynamic cultural scene. 鶹ý University is proud to support numerous nonprofit and community organizations that provide activities and events throughout the season. From lively music festivals to bustling art markets, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Experience Outdoor Concerts

Bluebird on the Mountain at 鶹ý Dyer Observatory (鶹ý University)

Summer is a great time to explore . Music fans can bring a picnic and listen to local artists beneath the stars during the popular summer series. Spots are limited, so reserve your tickets in advance.

For more outdoor evening entertainment, head to the at Cheekwood on select Fridays—July through September. Enjoy the sounds of bluegrass at the , a monthly bluegrass jam session at Percy Warner Park benefitting Friends of Warner Park. In East Nashville, the at Cornelia Fort Airpark highlight local artists, with proceeds benefitting Friends of Shelby Bottoms.

Enjoy Free Live Music

Musicians Corner in Centennial Park (Musicians Corner)

Don’t miss the 15th annual concert series in Centennial Park. This family-friendly event, hosted by the Centennial Park Conservancy, offers free live music on select weekends in June, August and September, showcasing Nashville’s diverse musical talent.

Jazz lovers, bring a blanket and enjoy outdoor shows along the Cumberland River on select Sundays with the award-winning series. The Nashville Symphony offers a number of at public parks and community centers across the region.

Discover Local Festivals

Participants in the Tomato Art Fest parade gather on Russell Street Saturday, August 12, 2023. (Alan Poizner / The Tennessean)

Summer in Nashville is brimming with cultural festivals. Celebrate Juneteenth at the free at Fort Negley Park on June 19. Enjoy live music, food trucks, fireworks, African drumming, a proclamation ceremony and fun for the whole family. To kick off the festivities, 鶹ý will host a special event unveiling a at 4 p.m. The mural, created by local artist , is inspired by the stories of Black country music artists featured in 鶹ý professor and award-winning songwriter Alice Randall’s latest book, .

Join the and parade at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park on June 22–23, featuring free kid-friendly activities, live music and some of the city’s best food trucks.

Savor some of Nashville’s most famous cuisine at the in East Park on July 4. Admission is free, and all proceeds from the festival benefit Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation. Activities include a fire truck parade, live music, an amateur cooking competition and tons of delicious hot chicken.

Celebrate creativity at the , rated Nashville Scene’s Best Summer Ticket in 2023. This festival showcases local artists with diverse performances across West Nashville from July 18–21.

On July 20, the celebrates the unique history of Jefferson Street as a mecca for African American jazz and blues musicians from the 1940s to the 1960s.

August 9–10, head to Five Points for the , which got its start in 2004. The vegetable-that’s-really-a-fruit is the star of the event, which includes music, art, vendors and a hilarious “Push, Pull & Wear” it parade.

Explore Arts and Culture

National Museum of African American Music (Joe Howell / 鶹ý University)

Celebrate on June 20 with an evening of storytelling that honors Nashville’s refugee neighbors. This annual celebration is hosted by Nashville International Center for Empowerment, the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, Catholic Charities, Inspiritus, Tennessee Resettlement Aid and Tenx9 Nashville.

The National Museum of African American Music is celebrating throughout June with exclusive performances and events. Kick off Nashville Pride weekend on June 21 with a special ballroom competition, at NMAAM. Presented in partnership with 鶹ý and Music City ACC, this event is a unique opportunity to celebrate ballroom culture and the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community to Black music and culture.

Make plans to attend a performance of Fame Jr. presented by youth participants of the summer camp. Performances are July 19–21.

Catch the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s on select dates August–September and experience one of Shakespeare’s most joyful romantic comedies. Entry is free with a suggested donation of $10.

Connect with local artists and galleries with an art crawl in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. Join the  on the first Saturday of every month, where art galleries and the  open their doors for exhibitions and events.

Visit the  for world-class art exhibitions this summer. Fashion and photography are in focus with the exhibition Lee Alexander McQueen & Ann Ray: Rendez-Vous. And don’t miss Winter in Paradise, the largest solo museum exhibition to date by internationally renowned artist Shahpour Pouyan.

Looking for even more cultural experiences in Nashville? Check out the and . Both offer myriad activities throughout the summer.

Watch Films Under the Stars

Movies in the Park at Nashville’s Elmington Park. (Nashville Film Festival)

Movie lovers, bring your family to Elmington Park each Thursday in June for the series, presented by the Nashville Film Festival and the Nashville Scene. Films begin at sundown, with food trucks and games to enjoy beforehand.

For an adults-only night out, NightLight 615 offers an outdoor movie series with local food trucks, a pre-movie DJ and classic film favorites at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park on select dates throughout the summer. These events often sell out, so in advance.

As summer stretches on, Nashville offers a multitude of exciting events and activities that bring the community together—and provide a great opportunity for 鶹ý community members to learn from and contribute to our city. Whether you’re attending a lively festival, relaxing at an outdoor concert or exploring local art, dive into the city’s rich culture and heritage. Enjoy all that summer in Nashville has to offer.