Warm weather and summer nights mean there is no shortage of events happening around Nashville in July. From Fourth of July firework celebrations to a donkey show and everything in between, there is something for everyone. And considering Nashville is nicknamed "Music City," you can expect to find a number of events that center around music.
Fourth of July Festival and Fireworks
For years Nashville has celebrated Independence Day along the banks of the Cumberland River. During the day, there are family festivities, concerts, and events throughout downtown. In the evening, enjoy the spectacular firework show accompanied by the Grammy-winning Nashville Symphony.
Every summer the Ryman Auditorium, considered the birthplace of bluegrass music, celebrates the genre with a series of concerts including some of the biggest names in bluegrass music. In this venue in 1945, Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass, played a new style of music that has become a part of Tennessee's identity. The series runs each week beginning at the end of June through all of July.
Centennial Park Big Band Dances
Big Band Dance is a free event in Centennial Park that kicks off every Saturday night from June through August. A variety of free dance lessons are taught at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. for those who want some guidance, and then live music plays from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m for open dancing. After dancing up an appetite, food trucks are available around the park to pick up a snack. If you don't feel like dancing, bring a lawn chair and come enjoy live music.
The Chet Atkins Appreciation Society (CAAS) has grown into one of the largest guitar-related fan clubs in the world, celebrating the late guitar legend Chet Atkins. Since 1985, this four-day convention is held each year in Nashville, Tennessee during the second week of July. Fans of Chet and guitar aficionados will enjoy this event of concerts, networking, workshops, and more.
This free concert series is held in the Eddy Arnold Amphitheater in Crockett Park in Brentwood, Tennessee, just 10 miles outside of Nashville. The concerts take place on certain Sunday evenings in June and July, plus a special Fourth of July concert that always takes on July 4. Food trucks are available at the event to grab dinner or snacks.
The annual Mule and Donkey Show, hosted by the Tennessee Walking Horse group, brings three days of quality mules and donkey competitions and family fun to this equestrian event. The show is normally held the weekend after Fourth of July in Shelbyville, Tennessee, about an hour outside of Nashville.
Music City Brewers Festival
Every year in late July, beer lovers from around the country converge at the Music City Brewer's Festival to participate and sample beer from over 50 local, regional, and national breweries. Participants also get to learn about brewing their own beer while enjoying music from local bands. Tickets often sell out before the event, so make sure to buy your tickets early.
The annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival, normally held the first week of July, celebrates an original Nashville culinary tradition—hot chicken! This free event features the unique southern flare of local restaurants, amateur cooking competition, inflatables for the kids, the Yazoo Brewery beer garden, and legendary Nashville music.
The Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree is held on the first weekend of July. The Jamboree has been featured in several nationally renowned magazines as among the top-rated bluegrass, folk, and Appalachian music competitions in the nation. This event located in DeKalb County and brings in over 100,000 visitors each year.
Farm Fun Days at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum include fun-filled activities for the family, including wagon rides and crafts. These special programs are free and highlight local farming and farm animals. They take place on certain Saturdays every July from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Uncle Dave Macon Days Festival was established to honor the memory of Uncle Dave Macon, who lived near Murfreesboro and is considered one of the first Grand Ole Opry superstars. Apart from the numerous acoustic, instrumental, and dance competitions, guests can enjoy a day full of local music and fun. Murfreesboro is about 45 minutes outside of Nashville.