This week marks the beginning of the biggest festival week of the year in Middle Tennessee: The CMA Music Festival kicks off on Thursday, June 11 in Nashville, and the same day, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival starts rolling out in Manchester.
If you’re going to either, you’re doubtlessly all geared up already, whether that means packed-up camping gear for ‘Roo or lots of stuff to get signed at CMA. (Might want to pack a poncho or two for either — looks like there’ll be a healthy amount of rain over the course of the fests.)
Outside those two huge festivals, June is in general a great month for fests of all kinds around here. If either Bonnaroo or CMA gets you psyched up for more festival-going, or you’d rather skip those but make sure to hit something a little more intimate, this list has some events that might belong on your June calendar. (Many of these are unfortunately on the same day, but if you’re bold enough, it’s definitely possible to jump into more than one.)
5 June Festivals Coming Up In Middle Tennessee
A new collaboration between The East Nashvillian magazine and Kaleidoscope Media, East Side Social is like a combination music festival/East Nashville block party, with local food and beer, plus performances from a huge crew of Nashville musicians: Diarrhea Planet, The Features, The FUTURE, American Hotel, Justin and the Cosmics, Los Colognes, Alicia Michilli and Lilly Hiatt.
The fest goes down 1 to 10 p.m. in East Park, and East Side Social tickets are $15 (VIP spots, which also include free food/craft beer/more, are $35).
There are a lot of fantastic music festivals in Middle Tennessee, but few feel as uniquely Middle Tennessee as the Westhaven Porchfest, which works like it sounds — musicians take the “stage” on local porches all around that Franklin community, with festgoers moving from home to home to enjoy it. At this year’s fourth annual Porchfest, there’ll be more than 100 musicians playing everything from Americana and folk to jazz, blues and pop on 26 porches starting at 4 p.m., everything wrapping up at 7 at the big stage on the lake. Food trucks will be around too, and restaurants in the Town Center work up Porchfest specials. Bonus: It’s free.
Serious Nashville food fanatics always keep this one on the calendar: Celebrating lucky-13 years in 2015, Taste of Music City brings out thousands of festgoers for an all-inclusive run through a slew of food and drink — everything from fried fish from Uncle Bud’s Catfish Chicken & Such to upscale tastes from Watermark, juicy peaches from The Peach Truck and world-class gelato from Legato Gelato. The event runs 5 to 9 p.m., and Taste of Music City tickets are $55 ahead of time ($65 day-of if it’s not sold out).
An annual institution for Nashville jazz and blues fans, the Jefferson Street Jazz & Blues Festival returns for its 15th year on the 20th, bringing out headliners Angela Winbush and Phil Perry and a bunch of local musicians (including super solid soul artist Jason Eskridge) for the celebration, held at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Gates open at noon, and music kicks off at 3, wrapping up at 10. Jefferson Street Jazz & Blues Festival tickets are $15.
The folks who book the Nashville PRIDE fest in Public Square Park wrangle a great music lineup every year, and 2015 is no different — among the performers on June 26 and 27: synth-pop success story St. Lucia, Australian pop duo The Veronicas, Grammy-winning R&B singer Mýa and many others. Weekend Nashville PRIDE Festival general admission passes run $25 (various VIP options are available too).
Planning on hitting any of these? Other events we should have our eyes on for the summer? Love to hear about what’s on your calendar!
Top photo: Michael Dornbierer