The Soundtrack of Summer is Made in Tennessee

24 April, 2015

Thousands are in Memphis this weekend at the Beale Street Music Festival to kick off Tennessee’s season of music festivals. Music is everywhere in Tennessee, but it’s especially apparent during the spring and summer months. With the warmer weather come festivals and outdoor concerts happening almost every weekend. Here are just a few big festivals you’ll want to keep on your radar for the next couple months:

Memphis in May International Festival -- Memphis 

Soul, Memphis In May entertainers

The month-long festival is under way this weekend with the acclaimed 39th Beale Street Music Festival featuring some of the biggest acts in music today. Travel to Canada without the airfare during the International Festival honoring Canada through food, cultural performances, music, and more. The smell of hickory-smoked meats will waft through the air as world-class barbecue professionals flock to Memphis to show off their skill at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest at Tom Lee Park. The winner gets $111,000 and bragging rights as the best ‘cuer in the land.

Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass -- Sevierville Blooming BBQ Band

Some of the biggest bluegrass bands come to Sevierville for this festival in May. This year, bluegrass fans can enjoy pluckin’ and fiddlin’ from bands like Dixieghost, Lonesome River Band, Flatt Lonesome, Sierra Hull, and Steep Canyon Rangers including many others. Fill your ears with music, fill your belly with barbecue and lots of it as barbecue teams come from around the United States and cook for the masses. A winner is chosen and the art of ‘cue is celebrated. The festival is in conjunction with the Smoky Mountain Springfest. After eating, stay a while in Sevierville as there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and work off some of that barbecue. More music and outdoor activities like hiking and biking are underway in the area.

Jammin’ at Hippie Jacks Spring Music Festival -- Crawford 

Courtesy of Hippie Jack's

Courtesy of Hippie Jack’s

Rev up the camper and head to Hippie Jack’s for this three-day festival featuring Americana roots music. Original songwriters come and perform like Yvette Landry, Darrell Scott, Dead Horses, Free the Honey, Daniel Kimbro, Gigi Dover, Ditty Road, Flea Market Hustlers, and Gretchen Peters. Jammin’ at Hippie Jack’s also includes a 16-episode annual public television series. The series is both educational and entertaining as music groups preserve and share the history of Americana grassroots music.

Riverbend Festival -- Chattanooga Riverbend, Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga’s Riverbend Festival is what’s around the Tennessee River bend. The festival is in the top 10 percent bracket of all American festivals, meaning you have to be here. More than 600,000 people come to the Chattanooga for the wide array of performers on five stages. Performers have included 3 Doors Down, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Martina McBride, Deep Fried Five, River Canyon Band, Merle Haggard, Sam Hunt, Tenth Avenue North, Matthew West, Hunter Hayes, and so many more. Nightly wristband admission is available at the gate. If you want to enjoy the whole festival, purchase a multi-night admission wristband for access. Food and souvenir stands set up shop along the streets for patrons.

Blue Plum Art & Music Festival -- Johnson City 

Blue Plum Festival

Courtesy of Blue Plum Festival

Dubbed “The Friendliest Festival in the South,” this festival will welcome with open arms an approximate 80,000 people from around the nation. Visitors can enjoy bountiful arts, food, and, in true Tennessee fashion, music. The lineup this year features Shovels and Rope, Rebirth Brass Band, Danny Paisley & Southern Grass, Heppy Kats, 18 South, Michael Knowles, Sonia, Webb Wilder, and Daisi Rain to name a few.

Bonnaroo -- Manchester friday-janellemonae-3

Four days of music on 700 acres of farmland makes for a good time as 85,000 campers and music lovers come to celebrate peace, love, and Bonnaroo June 11-14. The lineup is always a huge hit with performances on more than 10 stages. Other activities include a mini film festival, pop-up dance parties, and tricked out cars with LED lights.

CMA Music Festival -- Nashville CMA Music Festival

The biggest names in country music bring their talents and diehard fans to downtown Nashville. Country artists can meet their fans during the AT&T U-Verse Fan Fair X which includes live music on three stages, freebies, fan experiences, and artist interactions including autograph signings and meet-and-greets. Get thee to LP Field every night for performances the biggest stars in country music. If you don’t have tickets, never fret because there's free entertainment happening across seven stages downtown.