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Summer Guide 2022: What to Do and Where to Do It

From food and drink events to music fests and more, here’s some of the most enticing stuff going on in Nashville this summer

Summer Guide 2022: What to Do and Where to Do It

Food and Drink

May 21: Arcade Beer Festival

Hosted by Game Terminal, this event will feature plenty to keep beer drinkers and gamers satisfied. The barcade offers 94 pinball machines and 136 free arcade games, and more than 20 breweries will show up for the event. Sessions at noon and 4 p.m. at the Game Terminal 


May 21: Tennessee Whiskey Trail Experience

General admission tickets will let guests sample from 30 different distilleries, and the event also features ticketed mixology classes and tastings of rare whiskeys. There will also be live music and a cigar lounge. 1 p.m. at Nissan Stadium


June 3: Brew at the Zoo

The Nashville Zoo’s beer-centric after-hours event returns, letting you sample beers from more than 80 different craft breweries while strolling the grounds to check out some animals. This year, the zoo’s brand-new light show Night Visions is also part of the fun, adding some vivid color and music to the evening outing. 7:30 p.m. at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere


June 4: Nashville Mac and Cheese Festival

Celebrate the top-tier comfort food by sampling more than 30 different mac-and-cheese dishes from chefs and vendors. 11:30 a.m. at First Horizon Park


July 2: Watermelon Festival

There’s nothing like a cool watermelon on a hot summer day. At Lucky Ladd Farms’ Watermelon Festival, you can not only enjoy a refreshing slice of the oversized fruit but even compete in an eating contest and a watermelon crawl. You can also pass the time with water slides, a “bubble blast pool” and more. 10 a.m. at Lucky Ladd Farms


July 4: Music City Hot Chicken Festival 

For years, fans of Nashville’s famed fiery fowl have gathered on Independence Day to celebrate the dish with hot chicken vendors from around the city, including Prince’s, Hattie B’s and Bolton’s. A fire-truck parade signals the start of the festivities, and entertainment includes live music and an amateur hot chicken cooking competition. 11 a.m. at East Park


July 4: Sip TN Wine Festival

This festival will feature more than 100 wines made in Tennessee. Participants can taste from various wineries and purchase some bottles to bring back home — and VIP tickets give you access to special-edition wines. 1 p.m. at Amqui Station, Madison


July 9: Music City Jerk Festival 

Celebrate Jamaican and Caribbean cuisine at Music City Walk of Fame Park with this annual event. Attendees can enjoy picnic-style seating while sampling fare from vendors. 12:30 p.m. at Music City Walk of Fame Park


July 23: Music City Brewer’s Fest

Enjoy samples from more than 40 breweries, including local, national and international brands. A portion of ticket sales benefits Nashville Humane Association. 5 p.m. at Music City Walk of Fame Park


July 29: Red, White and Zoo

Sip wine from around the world as you explore the Nashville Zoo’s grounds after hours. Patrons of the event will also enjoy live music, bites from local restaurants, and craft beer and spirits. 6:30 p.m. at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere



Tour de Nash


Festivals and Fairs

May 21: Tour de Nash

Nashville’s largest urban bike ride offers different routes for different levels of experience, including nine-, 25- and 45-mile rides. And for the first time, there’s also a two-mile kids’ route along Shelby Bottoms Greenway. For starting times and locations visit


May 22: Music City Mutt Strutt

Pups and people alike can benefit Nashville Humane Association by taking part in a 5K or one-mile fun run, walk or strut. There are also some fun awards for those who finish first, finish last or finish in style. (Costumes are indeed encouraged for furry and not-so-furry participants.) 7 a.m. at Shelby Bottoms Greenway


May 28: Water Lantern Festival

Create your own lantern, write a message to yourself or a loved one and set it to float away on the water. Gates at 5:30 p.m., launch at 8:30 p.m. at The Parthenon in Centennial Park


Nashville Pride Festival

June 25-26: Nashville Pride

Our city’s annual Pride celebration is two full days of music, family-friendly activities and community art, with more than 200 vendors and, of course, a parade. The three stages will feature musical acts including Walk the Moon, Tanya Tucker, Dave Audé, Michaela Jaé, Bully, Jaime Wyatt, Vincint, Siena Liggins and more. Pride Parade 10 a.m. Saturday at Broadway and Eighth Avenue North. Festival 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park


Tomato Arts Festival

Aug. 12-13: Tomato Art Festival

A perennial winner of Best Festival in the Scene’s Best of Nashville Readers’ Poll, this East Nashville staple offers a parade, an art show, hordes of vendors selling food, art and curiosities, tons of contests and much more. It’s the kind of festival with a bounty of activities for kids, but also lots of fun for grown-ups, like a bloody mary competition and a solid music lineup. Five Points in East Nashville 




May 20-21: The Vintage & Vinyl Market 

This event will feature vintage apparel, vinyl records, memorabilia and collectibles. There will also be food trucks, beer, hard seltzers, cocktails and live music. 6-10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at The Marketplace 


June 10-11: Porter Flea

Among the city’s best markets, Porter Flea features vendors from near and far selling small-batch art prints, clothing and accessories, ceramics, jewelry and much more. Expect food trucks on site. 6-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at The Fairgrounds Nashville


June 11: Peach Jam

Nashville Farmers’ Market’s annual, super-sweet Peach Jam features chef demos, live music, food trucks, peach cocktails and plenty of peaches. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Nashville Farmers’ Market


July 16: Tomat-O-Rama

At the peak of nightshade season, you can indulge in summer’s favorite fruit all day long. The festivities typically include tomato tastings, chef demos, recipe contests, live music and lots of bloody marys. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Nashville Farmers’ Market


June 18: The Great Trinity Bazaar

Be Good Market, Grimey’s, Anaconda Vintage and Living Waters join forces for this market, which will also feature vendors Lost Cause Studio, Forestdale Incense, Meg Pie, Black Cloud Metal and more. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at Grimey’s New and Preloved Music


Aug. 26: Honky Tonk Night Market 

In addition to vendors and food, this market will feature live performances from local country and Western artists and a special line-dancing lesson. 6-9 p.m. at the Nashville Farmers’ Market



Arts and Culture

May 26: Books, Bars & Guitars 

The latest iteration of The Porch Writers’ Collective’s evening of song and literature will feature musicians Natalie Prass and Daniel Nunnelee, and celebrate the winners of the Porch Prize 2022, Sophia Huneycutt, Christian Collier and Jardana Peacock. 6:30 p.m. at Analog at the Hutton Hotel


June 1 & 4: Statehood Day and Museum Birthday Commemoration

A double birthday party will commence at the Tennessee State Museum to celebrate the museum’s 85th birthday and the state’s 226th anniversary of statehood. The event will include tours of Bicentennial Mall State Park, a keynote address from museum director Ashley Howell, story time, cupcakes and more. 9 a.m. Wednesday and 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Tennessee State Museum


June 3-Sept. 4: Light, Space, Surface: Works From the Los Angeles County Museum of Contemporary Art

Artists from the Light and Space group create some of the most wonderful, immersive artworks you’ll see. The Los Angeles County Museum of Arts hosts many of these on its expansive grounds. This summer, you don’t have to travel west to see the work of James Turrell, Robert Irwin, Doug Wheeler and many more — the Frist Art Museum will mount an exhibition of works from LACMA that should be the highlight of the season. These artists are “united by an interest in manipulating the medium of light, projected or reflected, to alter the perception of form, architectural space, and surface qualities.” Nashville is fortunate to have a permanent piece by James Turrell — “Blue Pesher” — at Cheekwood, and the Frist will team up with the gardens for a two-part tour on Aug. 4. Exhibition on view through Sept. 4 at the Frist Art Museum


June 4-5: Nashville Ballet at Belmont

The ballet will conclude its season at Belmont University’s new world-class venue. The diverse repertoire will feature new choreography by Matthew Neenan and the ballet’s associate artistic director Nick Mullikin. 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Belmont University


June 4: Hello My Name Is Eugene

Atlanta-based artist EuGene V Byrd III illustrates aspects of the Black experience that are often overlooked. Using a bold palette to evoke rich experiences, Byrd sets a tone of celebration and pride. 6 p.m. at NKA Gallery


June 6: Foujita’s Cats 

While some of us consider ourselves Enthusiastic Feline Advocates, the reputation of cats is … mixed. One artist dedicated his work to capturing the essence of these divisive creatures. Japanese-French artist Tsuguharu Foujita was a Paris bohemian in the early 20th century, and his paintings and lithographs depicting cats — as well as women and children, if that’s more your thing — will be the subject of this exhibition. Through Sept. 18 at Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery


June 9: Author Event: Marissa R. Moss 

Kicking off Tennessee State Museum’s TN Writers | TN Stories series, author (and Scene contributor) Marissa R. Moss will discuss her recently published book Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be. Moss will  appear with WNXP editorial director and NPR music reporter Jewly Hight. 6 p.m. at the Tennessee State Museum


June 11: Juneteenth at Tennessee State Museum 

Tennessee State Museum’s daylong Juneteenth festival will be held a week before other festivities in the city, giving you a chance to stretch the celebration. The day will feature music, dance, poetry, art, crafts and historic games for the whole family to enjoy. Continuing the museum’s TN Writers | TN Stories series, Leigh Ann Gardner will discuss her book To Care for the Sick and Bury the Dead: African American Lodges and Cemeteries in Tennessee. Additional programming includes a screening and discussion about the Fort Negley Descendants Project, and the chance for visitors to interact with United States Colored Troops reenactors. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Tennessee State Museum


June 11: Opera on the Mountain 

Nashville Opera’s annual night under the stars will feature performances from soprano Sangeetha Ekambaram, mezzo-soprano Clementina Moreira and tenor Gregory Sliskovich. It will also serve as the 2022-23 season launch party. 6 p.m. at Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory


June 13: Author Event: David Sedaris

An author who needs no introduction, Sedaris has been pumping out funny, moving personal essays for decades. His latest, A Carnival of Snackery, collects entries in his journal, in which he looks outward at the unexpected people and scenes he encounters. 6:30 p.m. at Parnassus Books


June 14: Author Event: Geraldine Brooks 

In her upcoming novel Horse, Australian-American novelist and journalist Geraldine Brooks riffs on the true story of the record-breaking 19th-century thoroughbred Lexington and the people who cared for him and, after his death, became obsessed with him. 6:30 p.m. at Parnassus Books


June 16-26: That Woman — The Monologue Show and That Woman — The Dance Show 

In this debut production of Tennessee Playwrights Studio, actors imagine the women in the orbit of JFK during his life and presidency. Featuring Molly Breen, Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva, Mary McCallum and many more, The Monologue Show gives voice to women often overshadowed by Kennedy. In addition, the project has also been adapted as The Dance Show, featuring original choreography from 10 artists — including Jodie Mowrey, Brittany Stewart and Emma Williams. The Darkhorse Theater and The East Room; visit for showtimes


June 18: Black on Buchanan — Nashville Black Market Juneteenth Event

To get the full story of the Nashville Black Market, you should check out our own KateLynn White’s recent article on the collective. Not only can you catch the NBM at the Nashville Farmers’ Market on the first Friday of every month, but it also moves around town and pops up at different festivals, like the upcoming Black on Buchanan Juneteenth Celebration. The NBM will also be at the Fort Negley Juneteenth celebration the next day. 2-6 p.m. on Buchanan Street


 June 19: Juneteenth615 at Fort Negley

Nashville’s official event marking the newly minted national (and Metro) holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved people will be held at a site steeped in Black history. The event will feature food trucks, reenactors from the 13th Regiment of the United States Colored Troops Living History Association, activities and fireworks. 6 p.m. at Fort Negley Park


June 24: The Odyssey: A Retelling

It’s become delightfully common to see feminist retellings of ancient myths — think Madeline Miller’s Circe and Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, both of which center women who appear in Homer’s Odyssey. The original text provides unlimited possible offshoots to play with. Nashville’s own Lisa Bachman Jones will “examine the social and historical context of the Odyssey through aesthetic reinterpretation in mixed media that includes utilizing everyday objects (e.g. single-use plastic bags, etc.) to forge a connection between the poem and a modern audience.” Through Jan. 8 at The Parthenon 


June 25: Chroma: The Exploration of Color Field Painting

This exhibition of artwork explores the Color Field Painters, a group of artists working in the 1950s and 1960s who embraced saturated hues and geometric shapes. Exhibition on view through Sept. 18 at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens


June 25-July 17: The SpongeBob Musical

Featuring the music of David Bowie, Cindy Lauper, John Legend and more, The SpongeBob Musical follows the adventures of Bikini Bottom’s favorite porous rectangle. At Nashville Children’s Theatre; visit for showtimes


July 1-Oct. 9: Knights in Armor 

Knights in Armor will feature more than 100 rare objects — including full suits of armor, mounted equestrian figures, helmets, swords and other weaponry — to tell the story of the knights of the Middle Ages and Renaissance through to the medieval revival of the 19th century. On Aug. 6, you can join the Frist at Fort Houston for a metalworking demonstration and try your hand at the craft. Exhibition on view through Oct. 9 at the Frist Art Museum


Let Freedom Sing!

July 4: Let Freedom Sing!

It doesn’t get more Nashville than the city’s annual riverfront throwdown on lower Lower Broadway, tag-teamed this year by Gramps Morgan, Cassadee Pope and Levi Hummon. No offense to the B-listers — Hummon has built a substantial TikTok following — but the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp has promised a “major headliner” will be announced soon. Organizers advertise the biggest fireworks show in Nashville history and a Family Fun Zone. Come for the bro-country heartthrob, stay for the American pyrotechnics. Or the other way around. Presented by Dr Pepper. 5 p.m. at Riverfront Park


July 4: Red, White & Boom

Featuring a lovely view of the downtown fireworks display, the Adventure Science Center’s annual Fourth of July event will also include live science demonstrations. Expect games, activities, after-hours admission to the science center, food trucks, themed laser shows and more. The ASC promises a sellout, so get your tickets sooner than later. 6:30 p.m. at Adventure Science Center


July 9: Author Event: Rachel Louise Martin 

Continuing Tennessee State Museum’s TN Writers | TN Stories series, Rachel Louise Martin will discuss Hot, Hot Chicken, her book that shows how the story of Nashville hot chicken is the story of America itself. 10:30 a.m. at the Tennessee State Museum


July 15-17: Hot Poet Summer 

The Porch Writers’ Collective is trying something new with this three-day program to celebrate poetry. It will include a conversation with award-winning poet Anna B. Sutton and a workshop with Ananda Lima. Both will participate in a reading. If you’d like to test out your lines in front of a supportive crowd, check out an open mic in the backyard of The Porch’s cute Berry Hill space. Friday-Sunday at The Porch Writers’ Collective


July 26-Aug. 7: Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s spin on this founding father is back at TPAC. While the heat has worn off of the hip-hop musical a bit, it’s still a great time, with irresistible songs and innovative staging. TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall; visit for showtimes


Kindling Arts Festival

July 28-31: Kindling Arts Festival

We named Kindling Arts Festival our favorite summer arts fest in last year’s Best of Nashville for good reason: It consistently shows us some of the most innovative and, dare we say, radical performances of the year. It’s a labor of love for artistic director Daniel Jones and the dozens of talented creators who pitch in with dance, theater, aerial arts and more. This year’s program will include a “campy, queer movement-theatre piece,” more than a dozen new dance works by choreographers including Becca Hoback and Asia Pyron, a new play by Nate Eppler and  Jonathan Alexandratos and more. OZ Arts, The Darkhorse Theater, Nashville School for the Aerial Arts, Ozari Events and The Barbershop Theater; schedule forthcoming at


Aug. 9-14: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird 

Aaron Sorkin’s quest for an EGOT comes through Nashville. Sorkin’s stage adaptation of the quintessential American novel has finally begun to catch mainstream scrutiny for its central theme: a young white person realizing that racism exists. See whether this classic-of-classics passes the test of time at TPAC in August. TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall; visit for showtimes


Aug. 13: Author Event: Learotha Williams and Amie Thurber

Continuing Tennessee State Museum’s TN Writers | TN Stories series, the museum will host Learotha Williams and Amie Thurber, editors of I’ll Take You There: Exploring Nashville’s Social Justice Sites. Co-authored by more than 100 writers, including academics, community members and students, I’ll Take You There foregrounds the struggles and achievements of people’s movements toward social justice. 10:30 a.m. at the Tennessee State Museum 


Aug. 18-Sept. 18: Summer Shakespeare: Cymbeline and Gem of the Ocean

Nashville Shakespeare Festival pioneered a new program last year, producing one play by the Bard and one by August Wilson in collaboration with Kennie Playhouse Theater. The result was fantastic, showing that Shakes is committed to broadening its stage for Black artists. This year, you can catch Shakespeare’s Cymbeline and Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. OneCity and Academy Park at Williamson County Performing Arts Center; visit for showtimes



Phillip-Michael Scales / Musicians Corner 


Ongoing Through June 25: Musicians Corner

The much-loved and wide-ranging free fest returns in full force. The lineup runs the gamut from soulful songsmith Phillip-Michael Scales (playing May 21) to rockers Twen (playing June 17) to electronic popster Daena (June 4) to the Nashville Symphony (June 9). Friday evening shows begin at 5 p.m., while Saturday shows start at noon in Centennial Park; see for complete details


May 20-21, June 17, July 15, Aug. 12: Full Moon Pickin’ Party

Friends of Warner Parks brings back its annual series of live bluegrass in the great outdoors, complete with pickin’ circles that you can join; bring your own banjo (or mandolin, or guitar, or fiddle). Not all lineups have been announced yet, but opening weekend includes Trevor Clark Trio on May 20 and Colin O’Brien on May 21. 5:30 p.m. at Percy Warner Park


May 21, June 11, July 16, Aug. 27: Cornelia Fort Pickin’ Party

Speaking of pickin’ parties, the long-running monthly benefit for Cornelia Fort Park is back on the East Side, too. Timbo kicks off the series on May 21, with Chelsea Lovitt on June 11, Blue Cactus on July 16 and Brazilbilly on Aug. 27, among other guests. 5:30 p.m. at Cornelia Fort Park


May 21: May Music Fest

This free one-day event presented by Metro Parks features the impossible-not-to-dance-to sounds of Brassville — Nashville’s own twist on the New Orleans brass band tradition — plus The Imperial Blues Hour and Latin American traditional-music ensemble Café Cola’o. 1 p.m. in Hadley Park


May 28: Nashville Helping Nashville

Lucinda Williams, Aaron Lee Tasjan and Nicki Bluhm are among the bevy of special guests joining in a tribute to Neil Young. Proceeds benefit indie-venue trade group Music Venue Alliance Nashville. 2 p.m. in East Park


June 5: Big K.R.I.T.

Following Full Court Press, a collaborative LP with Wiz Khalifa, Smoke DZA and producer Greg Gillis (aka Girl Talk), the outstanding Mississippi-born MC known around the world as Big K.R.I.T. makes his return to Music City. His Digital Roses Tour features a stack of guests including ELHAE and PRICE. 8 p.m. at Brooklyn Bowl


June 7: Nashville Symphony’s Free Community Concerts

The Nashville Symphony will head to South Nashville on its first summer field trip from the Schermerhorn. The free, family-friendly outdoor Community Concerts series begins in South Nashville, where the Antioch High School Wind Ensemble opens a program with something for everyone. Pieces range from Antonín Dvorák’s 19th-century Slavonic Dances to John Williams’ film compositions. 6 p.m. at Antioch Southeast Greenspace




June 16-19: Bonnaroo

After Hurricane Ida put the kibosh on Bonnaroo making its glorious return in 2021, the four-day fest brings J. Cole, Stevie Nicks, Tool and many, many more for its in-person comeback. All day at The Bonnaroo Farm


June 26: Robin August Album Release

An alumna of Queens of Noise, a truly outstanding rock band of high school-age women that disbanded last year, Robin August is ready to unleash her solo debut Avocado Head. Special bonus: Queens of Noise are reuniting for the occasion. 5 p.m. at Eastside Bowl


June 23-July 28: Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman

The Mother Church hosts a shedload of ’grass legends in its annual series. The Del McCoury Band kicks it off on June 23, while Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder wrap it up on July 28. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Ryman


July 11: Dry Cleaning

The U.K. post-punks finally get to make their Nashville debut in the wake of their well-received debut LP, 2021’s New Long Leg. 8 p.m. at The Basement East


July 23: The Wild Hearts Tour

Three of the most powerful songwriters and rock bandleaders working today — Sharon Van Etten, Julien Baker and Angel Olsen — are bringing their triple bill to Music City. 7:30 p.m. at the Ryman


July 31: Kendrick Lamar

Within the space of a few hours, Grammy- and Pulitzer-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar released Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers — his first full-length since 2017’s DAMN. — and announced a new international tour. 7:30 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena


Aug. 12: Red Hot Chili Peppers

With guitarist John Frusciante back in the fold after a decade away and a new album called Unlimited Love under their belt, the Peps are off on a stadium tour that brings them — plus Thundercat and The Strokes — to Music City. 6:30 p.m. at Nissan Stadium


Wilson County Fair


County Fairs

These county fairs have everything — pie contests, beauty pageants, dirt-bike racing, baby shows, funnel cakes, wrestling matches, beekeepers, ducklings in kiddie pools, sea lions, birthing pigs, enormous vegetables, quilt contests, Tilt-A-Whirls and much, much more. 


July 11-16: DeKalb County Fair

DeKalb County Fairgrounds, Alexandria. Info at 


Aug. 5-14:Williamson County Fair

Williamson County AG Expo Park, Franklin. Info at


Aug. 18-27: Wilson County Fair — Tennessee State Fair 

James E. Ward Agricultural Center, Lebanon. Info at



Movies in the Park


Movies in the Park

​​Now in its 28th year, the Scene-sponsored Movies in the Park series is a family-friendly summertime event that always lands in our Best of Nashville Readers’ Poll results for Best Free Fun. This year’s Movies in the Park, Presented by Amazon, will take place at Elmington Park and feature vendors, giveaways and games. Movies begin at sundown — usually around 8 p.m. — and here are this year’s films:


June 2: Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Directed and co-written by Jason Reitman — son of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II director Ivan Reitman — this 2021 supernatural comedy picks up where the franchise left off, getting by on nostalgia, good vibes and a big dose of Paul Rudd’s charm.


June 9: The Princess Diaries

This 2001 coming-of-age comedy directed by Garry Marshall was a breakthrough for star Anne Hathaway, and features Julie Andrews in a role she was born to play — a queen.


June 16:Black Widow

Last summer’s 24th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe includes plenty of great action sequences and something no other MCU film to date has — the delightful Florence Pugh.


June 23: Encanto

This year’s Best Animated Feature Oscar winner is the 60th film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, and the kind of family film that will keep parents rapt right alongside the little ones.

Summer Guide is presented by Two Lane

Waterfront dining, a Renaissance festival and coveted barbecue — plus more great summertime stuff to do and where to do it 


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