Centennial Park will be bustling throughout September with music-loving crowds enjoying the “September Sundown” series of free Musicians Corner concerts.
“We are so excited about this,” said Musicians Corner Program Director Justin Branam, who said the kickoff weekend will be headlined by two-time Grammy-nominated Cedric Burnside on Thursday and the indie rock duo Illiterate Light on Friday.
He said the series features “rising stars and buzzing up-and-comers” and that most are local musicians. Some of the bigger names to be featured in September will be Kris Allen (American Idol), Avie Kaplan (of Pentatonix acappella), Lucie Silvas (British singer-songwriter) and Lydia Luce (folk/americana singer/songwriter).
These free family-friendly multi-genre live musical lawn parties take place in the designated Musicians Corner space in Centennial Park from 5-9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays through Oct. 1.
Plus, there is a special Sept. 23-25 weekend full of music and family fun that is presented in partnership with the AmericanaFest music festival (americanamusic.org) that takes place in music locations around Nashville. Branam noted that Musicians Corner is one of the few AmericanaFest venues that is free that weekend.
Branam said the June Musicians Corner weekend, which was the first event since 2019, was a big success, with about 10,000 attendees, including lots of families. And he predicts the series will continue to grow and mature.
“The longer we do it, the more respect and notoriety we get,” he said. “It is more of a destination now, instead of being something people just stumble up on in the park.”
Branam said offering free music is a major goal of Musicians Corner, which is a program of the Centennial Park Conservancy. “There are no plans to charge admission. We value free access to the arts,” he said.
Branam said Musicians Corner offers plenty of room for attendees to spread out. He said it is designed to create “a unique relaxing atmosphere” where individuals and families can bring blankets or chairs and set up wherever they feel comfortable, whether it is close to the stage or further away from the music or next to the Kidsville area where the children can take a break with some fun activities.
What to know about Musicians Corner
The outdoor concerts are from 5-9 p.m. Sept. 9-10, 16-17,23-24, and Sept. 30-Oct. 1. The Sept. 25 date is a Sunday, from noon -6 p.m.
All concerts are free.
The concerts usually feature about five musicians, who each play a 20-45 minute sets.
The Musicians Corner permanent venue, which was added in 2016, is in the southwest corner of Centennial Park, at the corner of 27th Avenue North and West End Avenue.
The series went virtual last year due to COVID-19. This year masks are required and social distancing is encouraged.
In previous years, there were two stages, but this year there is only one as organizers are “trying to keep it simple.”
In addition to the music, there are food vendors, including some family friendly ones offering snow cones and ice cream, and artisans set up for the Musicians Corner events.
Kidsville is the area where parents can take their little ones to enjoy everything from lawn fitness games, scavenger hunts, crafts and educational musical “meet & greet” opportunities. The Kidsville area closes at dark.
Kidsville also presents a free weekly event each Saturday from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. at The Parthenon in Centennial Park.
Leashed dogs are welcome.
Musicians Corner is a rain or shine event. However, shows might be delayed or canceled in case of heavy rain or lightning.
Musicians Corner, which was inspired by Speakers Corner in London’s Hyde Park, has been taking place in Centennial Park since 2010. Like so many other music event, it went completely digital in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Over the years, more than 1,500 artists have been showcased on the Musicians Corner stage, including legendary artists Emmylou Harris, Chris Stapleton, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Vince Gill, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Musicians Corner is a program of Centennial Park Conservancy, which is the nonprofit organization that aims to preserve and enhance the Parthenon and Centennial Park.