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 in 2016 you’ll want to keep on your radar for the next couple months:
(Credit: Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau)
The month-long festival is under way this weekend with the acclaimed 40th Beale Street Music Festival April 29-May 1, 2016 featuring some of the biggest acts in music today. Travel to Canada without the airfare during the International Festival honoring Canada (May 2-9, 2016) 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 May 12-14, 2016 at Tom Lee Park. The winner gets $111,000 and bragging rights as the best ‘cuer in the land. The Great American River Run May 28, 2016 is the festival’s newest event which includes a half marathon and a 5K.
(Credit: Knoxville Stomp)
The newest music festival to hit Scruffy City surrounds Knoxville’s deep music history May 5-8, 2016. It’s a four-day festival celebrating the re-mastering and release of a newly recovered collection of recordings in 1929 and 1930 known as the Knoxville Sessions at the St. James Hotel downtown. Musical heritage will be performed as Dom Flemons headlines the event. A museum exhibition, panel discussions, a record show and a wealth of live music is on the docket.
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 May 20-21, 2016. A winner is chosen and the art of ‘cue is celebrated. Some of the biggest names in bluegrass get feet tapping and souls soaring. Enjoy music from bands like Mountain Faith, Bobby Osborne and The Rocky Top X Press, The Church Sisters and more on the main stage.
Rev up the camper and head to Hippie Jack’s for this three-day festival May 26-29, 2016 featuring Americana roots music. Original songwriters come and perform like Guy Marshall, Hackensaw Boys, Barstool Romeos, Blue Mother Tupelo, Wild Ponies, Dead Horses, Jimmy Davis, Charly Horse and more. 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.
(Credit: Riverbend Festival)
Chattanooga’s Riverbend Festival is what’s around the Tennessee River bend June 10-18, 2016. Celebrating 35 years, 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. See performances from REO Speedwagon, Blackberry Smoke, Salt N Pepa, Brett Eldredge, Building 429, Chris Young, Chris Lane, Thomas Rhett and 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.
(Credit: 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 June 3-4, 2016. Visitors can enjoy bountiful arts, food, and, in true Tennessee fashion, music. The lineup this year features The Mavericks, The Steeldrivers, Delta Saints, Ed Snodderly, Ozone Rangers, Scythian, Folk Soul Revival and many more across three stages of entertainment.
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 9-12, 2016. Pearl Jam, Dead & Company, LCD Soundsystem, J. Cole, Ellie Goulding, Death Cab for Cutie, Chris Stapleton, and The Chainsmokers are just some of the artists ready to jam out with fest-goers on more than 10 stages. Other activities include a mini film festival, pop-up dance parties, a silent disco, and tricked out cars with LED lights.
The biggest names in country music bring their talents and diehard fans June 9-12, 2016 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 from A Thousand Horses, Adam Craig, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Eric Church, Thomas Rhett and more. If you don’t have tickets, never fret because there's free entertainment happening across seven stages downtown.