Tennessee Music

Music in Tennessee 

For music fans, Tennessee is where music meets the road. From Bristol to Nashville to Memphis, the State lays claim to events that changed the course of musical history and defined new sounds. With historic recording studios, iconic live-performance venues, living legends still playing the clubs, and a culture of creativity where artists thrive, Tennessee owns a music scene like no other.

Music is alive and thriving throughout the state’s three regions with festivals that tout Tennessee’s claim to musical fame. The four-day Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, staged on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, presents more than 150 acts to an audience of approximately 80,000. Each June, Nashville hosts CMA Music Festival, where country’s biggest stars perform day and night. Memphis in May festival on Beale Street, Memphis features more than 60 artists each year, including the likes of legendary Aretha Franklin, Santana and Lou Reed.

It's a music lovers Road Trip nirvana!

Music in Memphis

  • Beale Street is the famous Memphis strip that played host to the birth of Blues, the Civil Rights movement, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and also has some of the best BBQ in the country. Legendary greats such as B.B. King, Isaac Hayes and others showcased their talents on Beale Street. Lined with nightclubs, shops, galleries and restaurants there's plenty to keep you entertained. Rum Boogie Café’s Blues Hall, is the tiny Memphis club considered to be the last real juke joint on Beale Street & features some of the best live blues every day of the week.

  • Sun Studio is where Elvis recorded his first single and Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins became legends. Considered by many to be the most famous recording studio in the world, it's where Rock ‘n’ Roll was born and made. Take the guided tour, hear the stories and experience a true piece of musical history.

  • No visit to Memphis would be complete without stopping off at Graceland, Elvis' palatial estate. Its audio-guide tour is not to be missed.

Music in Nashville

  • Bluebird Café could arguably be the most famous songwriter club in the country; it helped launch the careers of superstars such as Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Kings of Leon, and countless others. If you visit for the nightly songwriter show you'll see some of the best up and coming artists, or, if you’re lucky, a few famous ones too.

  • Third Man Records is the famous Nashville record store founded by rocker Jack White which also serves as a record label, live venue, photo studio and dark room. Its “Blue Room” is the only place in the world that records live shows direct-to-acetate, producing a vinyl master in real time.

  • Broadway Historic District, nicknamed “the Honky Tonk Highway,” is the historical stretch of Broadway in Nashville which is home to Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Robert’s Western World and other famous haunts featuring live music 24/7. Many of country music’s biggest names got their start playing here and are known to show up occasionally for surprise performances.

  • The Grand Ole Opry is an American icon that needs no introduction. Often called the “Home of American Music” and “Country’s Most Famous Stage,” the Grand Ole Opry attracts hundreds of thousands of music lovers every year. You can get tickets to the live show, take the backstage tour or just stand in the famous Opry circle and soak up the history.

  • The Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville is an essential stop-off for any music fans as they pay tribute to one of the best-selling recording artists of all time - 'The Man In Black'. Opened in April 2013, the museum houses the world's largest collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia and artefacts.

Music in Knoxville

  • The Historic Tennessee Theatre was hailed as “the South’s most beautiful theatre” when its doors first opened in 1928 and was considered Knoxville’s movie palace. Renovated in 2005, the theatre is now a world-class performing arts center, hosting everything from vintage films to concerts by today’s biggest artists.

  • Tennessee also has several trails throughout the sState, including a themed Music Trail to take you on a musical journey you will never forget.


Contact us if you need further information on music in Tennessee - we are always happy to help you plan your perfect holiday!


Tennessee Music Pathways Podcast

Music history across seven genres born and refined in Tennessee is examined in a free new music history podcast series that will surely be the high note of your day. Tune in below to hear the stories behind the people, places, artists, and events that make Tennessee the Soundtrack of America.

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