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© live on the green, lookcatalog/Flickr
© live on the green, lookcatalog/Flickr

Live On The Green: Nashville's Free Annual Music Festival Returns

Picture of Katie Miller
Updated: 16 August 2016
The end of summer: temperatures begin to cool, school resumes, and the days begin to shorten ever so slightly. If you’re a Nashville local, however, the end of summer also marks the beginning of Live on the Green, the city’s annual outdoor music festival hosted by WRLT (Lightning 100), a local independent radio station with a huge and devoted listener base. We tell you everything you need to know about Nashville’s one-of-a-kind festival as well as what to expect from this year’s event.

Initiated in 2009, Live on the Green is still a relatively new annual event. However, it has grown so quickly that it is already something of a cultural staple amongst music fans in Nashville (and this is, after all, Music City – so that’s saying something). In its first few years of operation, the event took place from mid-September through October; now, it has shifted to begin in mid-August and runs through early September. Thousands of music fans from around the city – not to mention visitors and tourists – flock to Public Square Park on Thursday nights during the festival’s duration to enjoy hours of free live music from both up-and-coming local artists and established industry veterans (such as Band of Horses and Young the Giant, two of this year’s headliners).

While the event has always been a favorite amongst locals, it has undoubtedly mushroomed in popularity and attendance over its seven short years. In 2009, for example, headliners included the relatively lesser-known singer/songwriter Citizen Cope and funk/soul band Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. In its eighth year, this year’s festival headliners include not only the aforementioned Band of Horses and Young the Giant, but also Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, fronted by three-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Ben Harper; chart-topping indie folk singer Michael Rosenberg (more popularly known by his stage name, Passenger); Kurt Vile & The Violators, fronted by the indie rock band War on Drugs co-founder and the popular solo artist Kurt Vile; and the local alternative rock band Bully, fronted by the immensely talented Alicia Bognanno (just to name a few of this year’s impressive lineup of artists).

Feelin' the love today. Thanks guys, you're the best. #punintended #LOTG2014 @lightning100

A photo posted by Live On The Green (@liveonthegreen) on

Last Thursday saw the first night of the festival kick off, featuring performances from White Denim, Allen Stone, and Andra Day. If you missed it, no fear: you still have more than enough time to take advantage of this year’s upcoming shows. Check out the lineup on the festival’s official website for a detailed schedule of performances and showtimes for August 18th, 25th, and the three-day culmination from September 1st-3rd. Grab a friend or two and head over to Public Square Park before its too late -opportunities to see live music may be a dime a dozen in a city like Nashville, but Live on the Green is an experience unlike any other.

By Katie Miller