Nashville - Facts for the traveller, when to go, events
Facts for the traveller for Nashville
When to Go to Nashville
Most of Nashville's main music fests and other public celebrations take place during the sweltery season, from May through September, when daytime temperatures edge upwards to 90°F (33°C) and humidity can climb to 80%. Taking the good with the bad, this is an excellent time to get a real taste for life in Music City. In terms of climate alone, you may be happier visiting in October and November, when temperatures fall to around 70°F (20°C) and the humidity drops by half. Rainfall is fairly evenly spread out over the year, with August through October being the driest months. Snowfall is heaviest in January and February, but even then it's more an occasion for snowball fights than blizzard scares.
It's no surprise that most of Nashville's festivities (and there are a lot of them) center on music. Headliner music festivals make Nashvillians shake their collective booty at regular intervals throughout the year, some of them stretching on for months at a go. Each Thursday evening from May to September, the city hosts free concerts at Riverfront Park. From late May to mid-August, the Tennessee Jazz & Blues concert series enlivens the grounds of Belle Meade Plantation and the Hermitage. And on the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, Opryland makes a joyous noise with its Gospel Jubilee.
Among the short-term shindigs is a commemoration of the Battle of New Orleans at the Hermitage on 9 January, with a ceremony at Andrew Jackson's tomb. Music City Blues Celebration is held downtown in early March. On 15 March, Andrew Jackson's birthday is remembered with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Hermitage. In mid-April, the Tin Pan South music festival showcases songwriters. Early May brings more than 150 artisans to Centennial Park for the Tennessee Crafts Fair. A rite of spring for equestrians, the early May Iroquois Steeplechase features races and tailgate picnics in Percy Warner Park.
Late May's Summer Lights in Music City is a downtown outdoor festival of arts, music, dance and theater. In mid-June, the American Artisan Festival at Centennial Park teems with handmade craftwork. The Celtic Music & Summer Solstice Celebration revels in Scottish and Irish music, dance and culture, generally on Father's Day. The TNN Country Awards (the 'People's Choice' of country music) bring national stars to Opryland mid-month. The International Country Music Fan Fair at the fairgrounds and at Opryland draws 24,000 fans to more than 35 hours of stage shows and concerts by 100 artists mid-month. In late June, Chet Atkins hosts Musician Days concerts to celebrate the session musician.
On 4 July, the Independence Day celebration at Riverfront Park is a family event (no alcohol) of food and fireworks. In mid-August, the Music City Pig Fest at the National Guard Armory features a BBQ cook-off, Tennessee wine tasting, hog-calling and pony rides. In early September, the Civil War Encampment at Travelers Rest reenacts the Confederate occupation preceding the 1864 Battle of Nashville, admission. The Tennessee State Fair brings livestock, midway rides and arts and crafts to the fairgrounds. In late September, the African Street Festival at the TSU campus features poetry, rap, reggae, blues, jazz and gospel music along with ethnic foods and fashions. The Italian Street Fair is a big block party fundraiser for the symphony.
In mid-October, an Oktoberfest of polka, accordions and bratwurst is held in the tiny Germantown historic district. In late October, a Pow Wow at the Hermitage Landing Recreation Area brings Native Americans from many different nations together for traditional dances and cultural arts. Starting in late November, Christmas celebrations are scheduled at the Opryland Hotel, Belle Meade and the Belmont Mansion; most run through early January. In early December, a Christmas Parade downtown features floats, bands and clowns.