From Beyoncé to Bob Dylan, puppets to poetry, a Nashville summer sampler 

Summer Guide 2013

Summer Guide 2013
Elle Long Belcourt staff member, model

Photographer: Michael W. Bunch
Makeup: Julie Garcia

Elle Long
Belcourt staff member, model

Click HERE to download a PDF of our Summer Calendar

It's cruel. It's sweet. It's wet-hot. It's like a merry-go-round. It seems to last forever. The breeze makes you feel fine. And the livin' is easy. But oh — those nights. In Nashville, summer brings the height of the open-air concert season, the pinnacle of the al fresco dining season and the apex of the plein-air Shakespeare season, to name but a few seasons that overlap with the hottest, sunniest, most freedom-flavored months of the calendar. Speaking of calendars, we've filled ours in with a few of the best Music City has to offer in the near future. Feel free to rip it out and pin it to a fridge or fencepost near you. Check out our top picks below, and keep up with new additions at Find us somewhere there's a body of water and something cold to drink.

Speaking Volumes: A Partial Primer for Summer Reading

When it comes to sunning, the Stones summed up our feelings perfectly: "The sunshine bores the daylights out of me" — unless you've got a good book to alleviate that sense of lying under a heat lamp. Thanks to indie booksellers such as Parnassus Books and the cool new Grimey's offshoot Howlin' Books, as well as catalysts such as Humanities Tennessee and the Nashville Public Library, there's enough engrossing reading material this summer to while away those baking hours.

The author event of the summer may be Neil Gaiman's reading and signing July 10 at War Memorial on what is billed as the British author's final tour, supporting his new novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane. But Parnassus has a full summer slate of visiting authors, from Kevin Powers, author of the acclaimed Iraq War novel The Yellow Birds (see story here), to perennial best-seller Mary Kay Andrews (June 13), Walt Longmire creator Craig Johnson (June 18) and American Rust author Philipp Meyer (June 25).

Among the local talents appearing at Parnassus this summer are Jennie Fields, who imagines the life of Edith Wharton in her well-reviewed novel The Age of Desire (June 3), and Confessions of a Practical Joker scribe Jim Harwell (June 26), who summons a secret social history of Nashville's most devious pranksters. And we can't recommend strongly enough that you join the reserve lists at Nashville Public Library for titles such as Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins, George Saunders' short-story collection Tenth of December, Jill McCorkle's Life After Life (and we hear Kate Atkinson's book of the same title is really good too). —JR

Reelin' in the Ears: A Summer 2013 Local-Rock Playlist

Ah summer, the time for sun-drenched sweaty days and endless starry nights; a time when steamy dreams come true and lifelong memories are made. And no summer is complete without a killer soundtrack. On the local rock front, 2013 offers no shortage of killer releases to time-stamp another summer of dreams.

So don't get started on your summer mixtapes — er, playlists — until you snatch a copy of The Features' self-titled fourth stellar long-player, which dropped this month. The album's New Wave-y lead-off single "This Disorder" is a choice selection. Follow that up with a standout like the driving "No One's Gonna Know," from Tristen's forthcoming sophomore stunner C A V E S, which drops July 23. Or perhaps some sunny Fleetwood-Mac-meets-Melveen-Leed from Courtney Jaye, whose Love and Forgiveness is fresh on shelves. Then pump up the volume with a joyous shout-along fist-pumper from happy hardcore punchers Diarrhea Planet, who promise a full-length will land by summer's end. Keep the harum-scarum hookery going with a track from Bad Cop's Light On EP, due in July.

Looking to temper that with a little rocked-out Southern swagger? Throw in a track of The Weeks' recently released Dear Bo Jackson. Keep rolling on the Southern rock train with "Yes You Can," the A-side from the soon-to-be-renamed Promised Land's brand new Third Man Records 45, Live At Third Man. And with any luck, Nikki Lane's Dan Auerbach-produced Seein' Double album will drop before the trees lose their leaves. —AG

click to enlarge Dance Theatre of Tennessee - featuring Heather Gorres, Brian Williamson and Jennifer Drake  - - PHOTOGRAPHER: ERIC ENGLAND STYLIST: ABBY WHITE LOCATION: ELM HILL MARINA
  • Photographer: Eric England
    Stylist: Abby White
    Location: Elm Hill Marina
  • Dance Theatre of Tennessee
    featuring Heather Gorres, Brian Williamson and Jennifer Drake


16: The Light and Sound Machine
At Third Man Records, the monthly Light and Sound Machine avant-garde film series hosts Nam June Paik: I Make Technology Ridiculous, a rare local exhibition of short works about and by the late Korean-American video art pioneer who made electronic bricolage of public television. Of special note: Guadalcanal Requiem, Paik's 1977 meditation on time, memory and global conflict. —JR

19-20: Music City Center Opening
May 19 and 20 will mark the unveiling of the $585 million, 2.1 million-square-foot downtown convention center, Music City Center, with a two-day concert event. On Sunday the 19th, the center — located on a 16-acre site — will host a free concert on the plaza featuring performances from Phil Vassar and Ten out of Tenn. Monday's festivities, also free, will feature a street party and sets from Sheryl Crow, The Time Jumpers with Vince Gill, Fisk Jubilee Singers and Mikky Ekko. —DPR

23: Voices: a Reading of Letters From the Brehman Collection
Nashvillian-by-way-of-London Jason Brown started collecting letters of note and other artistic ephemera 20 years ago, and the resulting Brehman Collection will provide the source material for these readings. With music by the Gypsy Hombres, food truck cuisine from Your Dish Is Our Command and new art by Ed Nash, the event, at Nash's studio, will feature readers including musician Paul Burch, stylist/writer Libby Callaway and writer/musician Jonathan Marx — breathing new life into a 19th century "Dear Jane" letter, observations from the French Revolution and other missives. —SH

click to enlarge Music City Burlesque - Featuring (From left): Freya West,  Truvy Trollop, Lux-O-Matic and Rose Hips. - Not pictured: Bettie B. Cupp, Bebe McQueen, Shan de Leers and Kinetic Kristen. - - PHOTOGRAPHER: ERIC ENGLAND SWIMWEAR BY: KATY K’S RANCH DRESSING (2407 12TH AVE. S.), KATYK.COM
  • Photographer: Eric England
    Swimwear by: Katy K’s Ranch Dressing (2407 12th Ave. S.),
  • Music City Burlesque

    Featuring (From left): Freya West, Truvy Trollop, Lux-O-Matic and Rose Hips.
    Not pictured: Bettie B. Cupp, Bebe McQueen, Shan de Leers and Kinetic


6: Movies in the Park
Now in its 18th year, the Scene's free outdoor film series continues at Elmington Park with a quartet of big-screen treats. We can't tell you the titles, but try out your powers of inference. June 6: "Redheads go rogue in this Pixar powerhouse!" June 13: "It's a new zoo revue, comin' right at you!" June 21: "Ang Lee's Oscar-winning fantasy — go get 'em, tiger!" June 27: "The a cappella comedy that makes Glee look glum!" Food trucks and vendors on site will include Retro Sno, Grilled Cheeserie and Qdoba, to name just a few. Weather permitting, fun starts at 4 p.m., movies at dusk. —SH

6-9: CMA Fest
Taking place at LP Field, the Riverfront and elsewhere, the CMA Music Fest — which began as Fan Fair in 1972 — celebrates its 42nd year with performances from the biggest names in country. LP Field will see sets from Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band, Randy Travis, Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and more, while the Riverfront Stage will host Jo Dee Messina, Ronnie Milsap, Gretchen Wilson, Lonestar and more. Country fans, strap in. Contemporary-country-loathing townies, prepare for swarms of Okies in pink cowboy hats. —DPR

13-16: Bonnaroo
This, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival's 12th installment, boasts what may indeed be its most impressive lineup yet. There are the legacy acts and long-established rock legends (Sir Paul, Tom and his Heartbreakers and Billy Idol), the hip-hop heavyweights (Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis), the up-and-comers and festival staples (Mumford & Sons, Wilco, Animal Collective and Pretty Lights), the downright exhilarating (Björk and R. Kelly) and everything in between. And that's before mentioning the locals (William Tyler, Jonny Fritz) and the comedians (David Cross, Bob Saget). The only thing that appears to be missing this year is the jam bands. Shh! You'll jinx it. —DPR

  • Photographer: Eric England
    Photography assistant: Christie Passarello
    Location: Shelby Bottoms
  • The Weeks

21-23: Nashville International Puppet Festival
This offer has strings attached: the Nashville International Puppet Festival, well on its way to becoming one of the city's premier arts festivals. Puppet troupes from China, Germany, Japan, Argentina and France set up at the downtown Nashville Public Library for three days of performances that stretch the limits of imagination and material. Featured guests include master Phillip Huber, perhaps best known for devising the china doll for Oz the Great and Powerful. —JR

30: AmericanaramA
Let's not bury the lede here: Bob Dylan is playing Nashville, and he'll be bringing Wilco, My Morning Jacket and The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir with him. The AmericanaramA (yes, styled with two capital A's) Festival of Music tour may sound like the sort of event that will feature a bunch of Dust Bowl-lookin', suspendered, no-name singer-songwriters, but the tour will in fact feature some very big, very impressive names. (Richard Thompson Electric Trio and Ryan Bingham will be playing some of AmericanaramA's non-Nashville stops.) This one goes down at The Lawn at Riverfront Park. —DPR

click to enlarge Jerry Pentecost - Musician, plays drums for Jonny Fritz, Hotpipes, By Lightning!, El El, Erin McCarley, Brandon Jazz and His Armed Forces and More.  Raps for My So-Called Band, Guilty Pleasures and the Aught-Nots. - PHOTO: ERIC ENGLAND
  • Photo: Eric England
  • Jerry Pentecost
    Musician, plays drums for Jonny Fritz, Hotpipes, By Lightning!, El El, Erin McCarley, Brandon Jazz and His Armed Forces and More. Raps for My So-Called Band, Guilty Pleasures and the Aught-Nots.


7: Poetry Sucks!
The Poetry Sucks! reading series showed promise from the very beginning — quickly packing crowds into dive bars and taking a stage at the Southern Festival of Books. And it's grown up fast. This installment, held for the first time at Third Man Records, will officially announce an anthology to be published by Third Man Books in 2014 — co-edited by Poetry Sucks! founder Chet Weise and Third Man co-founder Ben Swank. This night will feature readings by poets Sampson Starkweather, Paige Taggart and Larry O. Dean. Music will come courtesy of Lee Baines III and The Glory Fires plus spitfire Holly Golightly, alongside an art exhibit by Texas punk rocker Tim Kerr. (PS! also hosts an open mic June 6 at Dino's.) —SH

10: Neil Gaiman
For being such a prolific and beloved writer, Neil Gaiman has only written a handful of novels for adults. That might explain why news of his fifth, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, spread through pop culture like a leaked Radiohead album or the trailer for a new Tarantino film. Nashville is one of only 20 spots on what is being described as his final book tour. The event is presented by Parnassus Books, and the $30 ticket will include a copy of the book. 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, at War Memorial. —LH

  • Photographer: Eric England
    Stylist: Abby White
    Hair & Makeup: Mizzie Logan, Macs/Amax. using M.A.C. Makeup
    Jewelry: Fossil&Hide
    Location: Fond Object Records (1313 Mcgavock Pike)
  • Dylan Stephens

13: Beyoncé
She can call it The Mrs. Carter Show if she wants, or the Blue Ivy's Mom World Tour, or The Fisk University Graduate Mathew Knowles' Daughter Experience. But Bey watchers don't care what's flashing on the Bridgestone Arena marquee — even if that's some combination of logos for Pepsi (which teased the new single "Grown Woman" in an ad) and H&M (which did the same with "Standing in the Sun"). Say her name, just don't take any unflattering photos. —SH

14: Swing Dancing at the Nashville Farmers' Market
A video of vintage-clad, swing-dancing Nashvillians doing the Charleston all over Music City recently went viral — or it almost did, until it was unceremoniously yanked from YouTube due to a copyright claim on the music. But even that was hardly enough to contain the happy-footed contagion of local hepcats, and a tribe of rug-cutters meets the fourth Sunday of the month, 1-4 p.m., in the Market House to get on the good foot. —SH

19: Sounds Like Summer/Nashville Cream Anniversary
This year marks the Scene's third annual Sounds Like Summer concert event, which will for the first time double as the anniversary celebration for our music blog, Nashville Cream. We're keeping the lineup under our hat for now, but the two-night celebration — taking place July 19 and 20 at the Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom/The High Watt complex on Cannery Row — will feature bands, beers and eats. Hey, have we ever steered you wrong? —DPR

click to enlarge Daniel Severs - Bartender, The Stone Fox - PHOTOGRAPHER: MICHAEL W. BUNCH LOCATION: THE STONE FOX (712 51ST AVE N.)
  • Photographer: Michael W. Bunch
    Location: The Stone Fox (712 51st Ave N.)
  • Daniel Severs
    Bartender, The Stone Fox


8: Live on the Green
While this year's Live on the Green lineup hasn't yet been announced, the free downtown concert series has hosted some big names in the past. From celebrated indie-crossover rock acts like Band of Horses, Alabama Shakes, Dr. Dog and the legendary Dr. John to locals including Glossary, The Kingston Springs and Apache Relay, the outdoor series always pulls some true talent. Plus there are food trucks and a photo booth, and as always, it's free. Thursdays through Sept. 12 at Public Square Park. —DPR

10: Tomato Art Fest
It's crimson and — well, more crimson as the yearly Tomato Art Fest takes over Five Points for a 5K, parade, art show, concert, tomato throw and general reddening of the East Side, all in the name of fun and everyone's favorite scarlet-hued branch of the nightshade family tree. Keep an eye on for more details as the date draws near. —SH

11: Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball
What goes better with old-timey facial hair and the popularity of Mumford & Sons than a game of base ball (yes, two words) played using the rules as they were observed in 1864? Huzzah! If you want to observe a bunch o' muffins leg it 'round the bases or muff some daisy cutters barehanded — no gloves in 1864 — head over to Bicentennial State Park as the Nashville Maroons host the Franklin Farriers, period-appropriate uniforms and all. That's the ginger! —SH

15: Shakespeare in the Park
Are you a word person? A primordially stirred person? Or merely inclined for some splendor in the grass courtesy of a park-adjusted Bard? You're in luck any which way, as the Nashville Shakespeare Festival presents A Midsummer Night's Dream on — well, on midsummer nights. A puckish bit of theater, for sure, and c'mon: You can't resist a play with a character named Moonshine. Performances, for a $10 suggested donation, run Thursday through Sunday (and Labor Day Monday) until Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m. at the Centennial Park band shell. —SH

  • Photographer: Eric England
    Photography assistant: Bret Pelizzari
    Stylist: Abby White
    Swimwear: Sabrosa Vintage (1800 Eighth Ave. S.)
  • Jane Borden
    Comedian, co-runner of Corporate Juggernaut


click to enlarge Elle Long - Belcourt staff member, model - - PHOTOGRAPHER:  MICHAEL W. BUNCH MAKEUP: JULIE GARCIA
  • Photographer: Michael W. Bunch
    Makeup: Julie Garcia
  • Elle Long
    Belcourt staff member, model


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