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Jam Out at Tennessee’s Summer Music Festivals

Music fills the air in Nashville and its surrounding areas throughout the summer. Take your pick of festivals to satisfy every acutely tuned ear. Music City will always be the hub and heartbeat of America’s music culture, but as the temperatures heat up, the music overflows to outdoor festivals and street fairs.

CMA Music Festival, known as Fan Fair at its inception in 1972, is country music’s premier event of the year, drawing more than 200,000 fans to Nashville for four days of non-stop country.

Presented by the Country Music Association, CMA Fest 2012 runs June 7-10, 2012, over three venues in downtown Nashville.  Hear up-and-coming artists and meet the legends and superstars in Nashville’s biggest country music celebration, while you enjoy countless opportunities for photo ops and autographs with your favorites. Stars will give stellar performances on three stages. Riverfront Park stage will have non-stop concerts all day long, and at night LP Field will amp up the action with the biggest stars in country music.



A brand new event at this year’s CMA Fest is the BMI Tailgate Party, free and open to the public. Priming the audiences before each nightly event, the new stage just outside LP Field on the east side of the Cumberland River will highlight a strong showing of BMI artists and songwriters.

The annual CMA Fest Kick-Off Parade on Wednesday, June 6, officially launches festivities. At 11:00 a.m. Grand Marshall, Country music legend Glen Campbell, will lead the parade of floats, marching bands, Budweiser Clydesdales, country artists and celebrities as it processes down Broadway from 10th Avenue to the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage at 1st Avenue.

Single night tickets can be purchased online or at Ticketmaster (1-800-745-3000) for $40, and four-day tickets begin at $125. Both include free admission to the Frist Center for the Arts plus various other perks.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, born in 2002, is rapidly burgeoning into a Woodstock-style event charged by Rolling Stone magazine as “The American rock festival to end all festivals.”

This year, June 7-10, over 100,000 fans will flock to Manchester,Tennessee for four days of non-stop music ranging from rock to reggae and everything in between. The lineup of more than 150 bands and two dozen comedians guarantees continuous entertainment on 13 stages for four sleepless days and nights.

The multi-stage camping festival is sprawled across a 700-acre farm, and draws some of the best performers in rock and roll, jazz, Americana, hip-hop, electronica and every imaginable style of contemporary music. The 100-acre entertainment village will be abuzz with food and drink, mini film fest, comedy club, disco, music technology village, classic arcade and beer festival.

Bonnaroo, a Cajun word meaning ‘good time’, is more of a community than an event. Fans are encouraged to embrace new people and art, help and look out for one another, care about their environment, accept personal responsibility, all while immersing themselves in a spirit of musical celebration. Tickets for a four-day pass cost $259.50 and can be purchased online.

Jefferson Street Jazz & Blues Festival on June 15 & 16 focuses on the music and cultural heritage of Nashville’s historic Jefferson Street district. Join the throng of music lovers and enjoy a spectacular showcase of Nashville’s best jazz and blues musicians at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, beginning 12 noon on Saturday, June 16, 2012. Festivities kick off the night before with a Bridging the Gap Mixer on the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge at 6:00pm. More details are available from J.U.M.P at (615) 726-5867.

Which summer festival are you most looking forward to?

Hi! I’m Dayle Fergusson. As a transplanted Aussie living in Middle Tennessee since 1986, I have been a freelance travel...Read on

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    Claude Reese

    Sounds like great things are gonna happen!!

    Well said, Dear Dayle!

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