Head to Music City

Trip Start Mar 07, 1997
Trip End Dec 25, 1998

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Friday, May 30, 1997

Go with me? We're going to Music City. That's Nashville, home of country stars and dance-hall bars and Gruhn guitars. And this weekend home to Summer Lights, a festival so jam-packed with music we'll go away with tickled ears.

Downtown shuts down six of its city blocks for this top-pick-of-the-summer event, tucked in between historic Second Avenue and the state Capitol's Legislative Plaza.

It all began in 1982, and though country is the festival's prevailing theme, this year's addition of special music segments will attract even those who don't have a Hank Williams heart.

Pick a stage for hip/hop and rock and jazz; Latin and Cajun and African; alternative country, black country, traditional country, and don't forget the big-band swing. There are nine stages in all, three large tents for dancing, and over 1,000 musicians in the lineup. Some of the talent is fresh on the scene, but most have already carved their niches in the musical world.

The Decca Records show on Friday starts with newcomer Lee Ann Womack whose first single Never Again, Again is No 22 on the charts and climbing. She's followed by Gary Allan and headliner Mark Chestnutt who has eight No 1 hits to his credit.

Saturday's Bluebird Cafe Show features singers and songwriters who have made the Bluebird famous as the route to record deals. Catch Radney Foster, James House, Vickie Carrico and more.

Afro-beat founder OJ Ekemode brings in world music on Sunday, his tenor sax backed by his nine-piece band, the Nigerian All-Stars.

The kids are not forgotten at this downtown bash. Friday's freebies include award-winning Mark O'Connor and the Blair Student Fiddlers, doing bluegrass and Cajun; and Big Nazo, the big puppet performers. Crafts and dancing and even a reptile exhibit are there to teach and entertain.

Grownups will find crafts, too, plus art booths and food booths and festival souvenirs. The crowd is big, so dress for comfort, and plan plenty of time for hanging out. See you there.

Downtown, Nashville, Tennessee
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