The 12 Tennessee Music Festivals You Need to Attend

The 12 Tennessee Music Festivals You Need to Attend

You don't have to travel around the nation to hear the Soundtrack of America. Just come to Tennessee where it was born and bred.

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*Dates reflect the 2018 calendar year

Music is a year-round event in Tennessee, so add these festivals to your calendar and the artists to your Tennessee playlist. It's the perfect soundtrack to your vacation, made right here, in Tennessee.

Big Ears Festival - Knoxville

Big Ears Festival in Knoxville
Experience this dynamic music festival that crosses music with visual arts. Photo credit: Chelsea Kornse

Musicians and visual artists come together to hold one of the most "earth-shattering, subtly luminous festivals the world over," as described by The Oxford American Magazine. It's part interactive experience, part music festival, part artistic performance in film and visual arts that all culminates into a festival you don't want to miss. This year's festival takes place March 22-25, 2018 in a variety of venues around Knoxville including the Historic Tennessee Theatre, The Mill & Mine, The Standard and The Bijou Theatre. 

Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival - Knoxville

Rhythm n' Blooms in Knoxville
Have a blast at Rhythm n' Blooms in Knoxville. Photo credit: Visit Knoxville

Thousands of fans are drawn to this festival, anchored in Knoxville's Historic Old City. Eight stages are filled with musicians like Dr. Dog, The Young Fables, The Mowgli's, The Lonely Biscuits and more  April 6-8, 2018. The music festival is an homage to the culture of Knoxville while also being a huge kickoff to the month-long, city-wide celebration, Dogwood Arts Festival.

Beale Street Music Festival - Memphis 

Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis. Photo credit: Mike Kerr
Dance the night away during Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis. Photo credit: Mike Kerr

For the fourth consecutive year, Fuse TV has named Beale Street Music Festival as one of the Top 26 music festivals in the U.S. and for good reason. The Beale Street Music Festival takes place for three days, bringing together an eclectic mix of bands and solo artists to four stages, giving its thousands of fans something for everyone. The 2018 lineup will be announced soon, but for now, tickets are on sale for the 2018 festival happening May 4-6, 2018. 

Music City Jazz Festival - Nashville 

The Music City Jazz Festival May 24-26 in downtown Nashville's Public Square Park is more than an outdoor concert. It's an event of eating, drinking, mingling, relaxing, soaking in the rays and amazing music performed by national recording smooth jazz artists. The festival features classy veterans who have set the jazz standard and young protege's taking the jazz scene by storm. They all capture the spirit of smooth jazz that knows no boundaries in exhilarating performances. This year's lineup includes Boney James, Rachelle Ferrell, Hiroshima, Damien Escobar, and Peabo Bryson. 

Riverbend Music Festival - Chattanooga

Every summer more than 500,000 people hit the streets of downtown Chattanooga to enjoy great music and delicious food, with the view of America's Scenic City glowing in the background. The festival, happening June 8-16, 2018, offers five stages with more than 100 bands featuring world class entertainment. One of those eight days is dedicated completely to the jazz and blues, and highlights Chattanooga's storied past with these genres during the Bessie Smith Strut Night on the historic M.L. King Blvd. The festival is wrapped up every year with one of the region's best fireworks displays. The 2018 lineup so far includes performances by Hank Williams, Jr., Luke Combs, and The Shadowboxers with more to be announced in the coming months. 

CMA Music Festival - Nashville

CMA Fest in Nashville
CMA Music Festival in Nashville, photo credit: CMA Music Festival

CMA Music Festival takes place June 7-10, 2018 on several stages in downtown Nashville. Big name country stars like Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton and Miranda Lambert perform during the night. Each day, however, thousands of festival goers can take advantage of the free concerts happening around downtown. You never know who will show up to play on stage, but get there early each morning for your chance to see famous musicians like Eli Young Band, A Thousand Horses, Kellie Pickler and so many more. The 2018 lineup will be announced soon.

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival - Manchester

Bands as famous as U2 and Elton John, Judah & the Lion and Betty Who have all played for the thousands who will once again flock June 7-10, 2018 to the 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee. The farm becomes a city with various events like yoga, silent disco, food, merchandise and sustainability practices on top of some of the best artists on the charts. The 2018 lineup will be one to remember with artists like The Killers, Muse, Eminem, Future, Sturgill Simpson and Khalid among many others.

Americana Music Festival - Nashville

Americana Music Festival
Americana Music Awards, photo credit: Erika Goldring for Getty

Thousands of artists, fans and industry professionals will make their way Sept. 11-16, 2018 to various venues around Nashville. Jewel, The Vespers, Patty Griffin, Glen Hansard, Buddy Miller, and Parker Millsap are just some of the artists who have participated. More than 165 showcases in venues around downtown Nashville give guests an insight on why Nashville truly is Music City. The 2018 lineup is currently being planned. 

Cooper-Young Festival - Memphis 

The city's largest historic district, Cooper-Young welcomes thousands and more than 400 artisans from around the U.S. Sept. 15, 2018 to share their art. Music performances range in sound from R&B to reggae to pop and gospel.

Tina Turner Heritage Days - Brownsville 

World icon and Nutbush, Tennessee native, Tina Turner, Sept. 21-23, 2018. Live music, tours of Nutbush and the Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School, food and fan gatherings take place.

Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival - Franklin

The festival takes place Sept. 22-23, 2018. It was created to bring a meaningful, music experience to its attendees. The region's best food and drink will be available and merchants selling art and crafts round out the festival's offerings. Everyone from Justin Timberlake to Chris Stapleton, Willie Nelson and Beck have played at this festival. The 2018 details and stellar lineup will be announced soon. 

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion - Bristol

At this award-winning music festival, the roots of traditional Appalachian music are brought to life through talented musicians Sept. 21-23, 2018. Known as the birthplace of country music, Bristol's music history runs deep and have been celebrated by nationally-known artists like Moon Taxi, Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Revue, Dr. Dog, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Delbert McClinton, The Black Lillies, Balsam Range, The Steeldrivers, Tauk and many more.

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