April in Nashville Means Outdoor Festivals and Live Music

These are the must-hit festivals, openings, concerts, events, and other things to do this weekend in Nashville.

Crafty Bastards
Photo courtesy of Crafty Bastards
Photo courtesy of Crafty Bastards

With a name like “Music City USA,” Nashville leaves no doubt about the quality of its concert venues, and even the singers at local karaoke bars could probably win any talent contest in less musical cities. That abundance of talent is matched by the staff and select at the city’s iconic dive bars to upscale cocktail lounges and crafty breweries, thrift shops filled with vintage clothing and instruments, fabulous coffee shops, and indie bookstores.

The culinary scene in Nashville is equally outrageous, with the must-get food that starts before visitors even leave the airport. The city’s most famous dish, Nashville hot chicken, is just a starting point, because the city has fantastic barbecue, burgers, pizza, biscuits, and even some pretty respectable seafood for a landlocked state. Whether you’re looking for a quintessential Nashville dining experience or the hottest restaurants new and old, you’re in luck.

And when it’s time to get out and about, Nashville has a plethora of options: go to a museum, have a drink on a rooftop, go jump in a lake, bust out of an escape room. Or you could just check out our April 2024 calendar for a little inspiration. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Nashville has you covered.

Whiskey Warmer
Photo courtesy of Whiskey Warmer

Food & Drink Events in Nashville

April 5 through April 7
Wedgewood-Houston, $10
Country music star Lainey Wilson has been on a roll lately, winning five awards at the CMA Awards including Entertainer of the Year, the only female not named Taylor Swift to take that trophy home this century. As further proof that she’s hit it big, Wilson now has her own brand of bourbon named Barmen 1873. To help publicize her new spirit, she’s staging a “Hold my Bourbon” pop-up bar at GoodTimes Full-Service Bar at 1529 4th Ave South with proceeds going to Wilson’s “Heart Like a Truck” charitable foundation.

April 6
Franklin, $54 and up
Whiskey lovers will gather around the pool complex at Westhaven to sample more than 50 different brands of brown spirits along with local food trucks, a cigar lounge, and a local bluegrass band to keep the vibe lively. VIP-level tickets include access an hour early and special pours not available to the general public.

April 6
Hermitage, $85
President Andrew Jackson’s former estate of The Hermitage plays host to this day of whiskey, wine, and beer tasting along with access to the entire 1100+ acre grounds. It’s a dog-friendly event, so feel free to bring your pooch along to get some exercise in the off-leash dog park.

April 6
ONEC1TY, $30
This brunchy food fair features a market stocked with gourmet purveyors selling unique pantry items and gift ideas. The Big Bad Breakfast Biscuits & Bloody Mary Garden will feature samples of biscuits plus local jams and jellies along with a Build-your-own-Bloody bar with all the accouterments you might want to spice up your tomato treat.

April 7
The Nations, Free
Pennington DIstilling Co. is giving back to the neighborhood with a free block party at their facility. The family-friendly (including pets) afternoon will showcase food and drink from Nations vendors along with live music and yard games. Of course, there will also be spirits tastings for the adults plus tours and specialty cocktails.

April 13
East Nashville, $65
Now that the East Nashville Beer Fest is 13 years old, it’s time for a “beer mitzvah.” More than 50 vendors will be on-hand to offer samples of beers, seltzers, ciders and more. Food trucks will be selling snacks, and entertainment will come courtesy of live bands and DJ sets.

April 13
Wedgewood-Houston, $69.46
Your local soccer team is out of town, so their home of Geodis Park is welcoming in guests for a day of spirits and bubbly. Enjoy food from local vendors, live music in the concourse, and a fashion show to help you get ready to shine at next month’s big Steeplechase event. Dress to impress and get ready to sample the best.

April 27
East Nashville, Free
As a young brewery, the brewmeisters at Southern Grist said “yes” to almost every beer festival around the country that invited them to pour at events. Now, their friends return the favor as dozens of local, regional and national breweries will be on-tap at Southern Grist’s East Nashville restaurant/tasting room. Guests can choose between an all-you-can-drink option or just pay by the pour.

April 28
Downtown, $75
Giving Kitchen is an Atlanta-based non-profit organization that provides financial support to restaurant workers across the country that find themselves in difficult straits. The organization has made a big investment in Nashville as their second home, and this big tasting event is a major fundraiser for the group. Some of your favorite food and beverage destinations will be bringing samples to the One Fourteen events space on Second Avenue downtown for four hours of tasting, live music and a live auction to raise funds to support the local hospitality community.

Cultural events in Nashville

April 6
Downtown and Wedgewood-Houston, Free
Galleries all over downtown and in the burgeoning Wedgewood-Houston arts districts hold open houses for all comers on the first Saturday of each month. These free events feature refreshments, live music in some venues, and artwork from local and world-renowned artists. Join in and maybe find some art that doesn’t necessarily match your couch.

April 6
Downtown, $100 and up
The tenth annual Illuminate Gala will feature a cocktail buffet, wine, beer and cocktails, a silent auction, a jazz combo, and live painting demonstrations. The artwork being showcased comes from artists currently experiencing housing insecurity and raises funds to help support them and provide studio space for them to work.

April 12 through April 21
Various, $29 and up
Local and national comics will appear at venues around the city during this annual yuk-fest. Among the better-known headliners are Leanne Morgan, Tom Segura, Jeff Dunham, and Shane Gillis who will be onstage at larger venues like Bridgestone Arena and the Ryman. Legendary local comedy club Zanies will show off their new experimental space, The Lab at Zanies, where smaller and edgier acts will be performing.

April 20 and April 21
This free art market showcases unique handcrafted items from vendors set up around the ONEC1TY complex. Food and drink will be available for purchase while you stroll from booth to booth shopping for gifts, home goods, and clothing. Organizers will also feature a special Tasting Garden on Saturday and a Brunch Pop-up on Sunday for those looking for a little break in the commerce.

Record Store Day
Courtesy of Record Store Day

Live Music in Nashville

April 2 through April 6
Various, $22 and up
At its core, Nashville is still a songwriters’ town, and the creative minds behind your favorite radio hits will be in the spotlight during this week of performances at ten different venues around town. More than 400 performers will take the stage during Tin Pan South, and fans can buy tickets in advance for individual shows or take their chances that they’ll be able to get in by standing in line.

April 5 through May 10
East Nashville, Free
Friends of Shelby present and benefit from these free family-friendly Friday events where crowds gather near the banks of the Cumberland River at the Riverview Pavilion to enjoy a beer garden courtesy of East Nashville Beer Works, food trucks, yard games and live music. Proceeds go to help maintain the natural beauty of Shelby Park and contribute to future projects in the park.

April 7
East Nashville, $65
It’s been months since Taylor Swift sold out multiple nights at Nissan Stadium, but Tay-Tay Mania has barely subsided in Music City. Dark & Dreamy Studio invites Swfities to dress in their favorite “Eras” wear and enjoy friendship bracelet-making stations, tea sandwiches, and a mimosa bar to the soundtrack of your favorite albums.

April 12
Downtown, $32 and up
Eric Church has finally opened his massive new downtown music club, Chief’s, after a long renovation process, and fans couldn’t be more excited to explore the six-story ode to his music. Church’s buddy Ray Wylie Hubbard will be one of the first guest acts to take the stage at Chief’s, bringing his own brand of funky country and legendary songwriting that’s unlike anything else you’ll find on Lower Broadway.

April 20
Various, Free
Record Store Day is a big deal to Nashville, a town that is home to more vinyl record-pressing plants than anywhere else in the country. Stores all around town have special events and performances planned, and Grimey’s New and Preloved Music in East Nashville is always a nexus of activity on this special day. They’ll be selling lots of exclusive Record Store Day releases that day, so you can be among the first to hear new music from acts like Paramore, Noah Kahan, The 1975, The Replacements, Pearl Jam, De La Soul, and Bare Jr.

April 26
Downtown, $49 and up
Robert Cray has been crafting soulful blues records since the 1970s, and his smooth voice and distinctive guitar sound still make him instantly recognizable. The chance to see him in a small venue like The CMA Theater at the CMHoF should be a real treat for blues fans.

April 27 and April 28
Belmont-Hillsboro, $106 and up
Rain-A Tribute to the Beatles is more than just a copycat act playing the songs of the Fab Four. They are one of the world’s preeminent full-on concert experiences, featuring costumes and songs from throughout the eras of the Beatles’ music. The band tours the globe performing the hits with a note-for-note precision and reverence for the source material.

Rock n’ Roll Nashville Marathon
Photo courtesy of Rock n’ Roll Nashville Marathon

Sporting Events in Nashville

April 5
Germantown, $23.20 and up
It’s time to “take me out to the ballgame” again now that your Nashville Sounds have opened a new season. Named the 2022 Minor League Organization of the Year, the AAA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers knows how to put an entertaining product both on and off the field. Firework Fridays are even more special, so be sure to stick around after the final out.

April 6 and April 7
Downtown, Free
The eyes of the British football world will be on Nashville all weekend as NBC Sports brings its top soccer commentators to Music City as part of a two-day fan fest. The team will broadcast live from downtown on several different networks across the NBC family and create a match-day experience to help convert casual football fans into rabid supporters.

April 13
Downtown, $83 and up
The Preds are heating up at the right time heading into the NHL Stanley Cup Playoff, and they’ll wrap up their home schedule with a game against one of the league’s bottom feeders, the Columbus Blue Jackets who have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention for months. Cheer on the boys in gold and root them on to a long Stanley Cup run.

April 27 and April 28
Various, $25 and up
Thousands of runners will lace up their shoes and take a trip around the streets of Nashville over courses that cover various lengths from a one-mile fun run to the full 26.2-mile marathon that will take runners all over town. Whether you’re a competitor or just want to enjoy your morning cup of coffee while cheering on the runners from the sidewalk, this is always a big community event for the city.

April 27
Downtown, $43.95 and up
Arena football returns to Nashville after a 15-year absence as the Nashville Kats take the field at Municipal Auditorium. The field is smaller, the rules are looser, and the action is non-stop at this indoor version of football. Keep your head on a swivel, because a ball (or a player!) is liable to end up in the stands at any time.

April 27
Fairgrounds, $33.90 and up
It can be a little confusing to figure out Nashville SC’s schedule as the local soccer club is playing in three different competitions at the same time with the MLS season, the CONCACAF Champions Cup, and the Leagues Cup later this summer. This match against San Jose is an important clash against a club from the Western Conference who we don’t get to see as often as the foes in our own division, so watch them try to get a win after tying the ‘Quakes in their three previous meetings.

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Chris Chamberlain is a food, drink, and travel writer based out of his hometown of Nashville. Find him on Twitter @CeeElCee