It’s only natural that Music City would sit center stage for fantastic free concerts showcasing all kinds of music, from jazz and rock to bluegrass and country. You can get in on the action without spending a dime at plenty of places around town, and some of the best are rounded up right here. Just remember to bring a blanket or grab a lawn chair for outdoor concerts, and get ready to settle in to hear some great music, without putting a dent in your budget. Now, that’s music to your ears!
1. Centennial Park
You can find many of Nashville’s free concerts taking place in Centennial Park, especially in the summer. On Saturdays in May, June, September, and October, you can hear live music for all ages at Musicians Corner at Centennial Park. Don’t be surprised if you see top artists like Emmylou Harris, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Vince Gill perform here.
Visitors who like to shake a leg can listen and dance to live big band music at Big Band Dance on Saturday nights from June through August in the Centennial Park Event Shelter. If you’re not so sure about your footwork, you can take dance lessons and refuel at food trucks when you get tuckered out. Every second and fourth Wednesday afternoon in the summer, the Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series brings family-friendly music to the park.
2. Public Square Park
During late August and early September, the Live on the Green Music Festival takes place in front of the Courthouse at Public Square Park. Big name stars like Sheryl Crow and Alabama Shakes, as well as up-and-coming acts have played the festival, and each year’s lineup also showcases some of the hot new talent that Nashville is known for.
3. Music City Shop
Music City Shop, located near the Country Music Hall of Fame, showcases free live music every Wednesday. Visitors can take in some toe-tappin’ tunes while checking out the store’s Music City themed T-shirts, baseball caps, and souvenirs to take home.
4. Cumberland Park
One Sunday a month, from May through November, jazz artists from all over the country strut their stuff at the Jazz on the Cumberland concert series at Cumberland Park. Concert-goers can enjoy views of the city skyline from the park’s grassy lawns, grab a bite to eat at the food trucks, and let the kids loose in the play zone.
5. Ryman Auditorium
If you’re a bluegrass fan, you may want to book it to Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium in late June and early July. That’s when Bluegrass Nights’ Pickin’ on the Plaza sets feet a’ stompin’ as local bluegrass bands pick and strum on the plaza outside of the auditorium in the early evenings.
6. Crockett Park
A 20-minute drive from downtown Nashville, Brentwood’s Crockett Park Summer Concert Series takes place in the Eddy Arnold Amphitheater. Music ranges from Beatles covers to Motown, hip-hop, funk, blues, and classical tunes. If you forget to bring a picnic basket, don’t panic — just make a beeline for the handy food trucks.
7. Riverfront Park
Every year in June, thousands of country music fans and hundreds of performers take over the city for the four-day Country Music Association (CMA) Music Festival. The awesome thing about the festival is that tons of free concerts take place throughout Nashville during it, with some top names thrilling the crowds. Check out Riverfront Park, where you can hear free live music during the CMA festival and enjoy other free concerts, especially during the summer.
8. Red Caboose Park
On Friday nights during the summer, check out the Red Caboose Concert series at Bellevue’s Red Caboose Park, just a 20-minute drive from downtown Nashville. If you have kids in tow, no worries — the music is family-friendly in Red Caboose Park, which is designed for children and also has an amazing playground.
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