Music City Irish Fest is a celebration of all things Ireland in Nashville. That means great music, food, storytelling, and whiskey, with a splash of southern hospitality. Taking place from Saturday, 14 March until Tuesday, 17 March (St Patrick's Day) in Bicentennial Capitol Mall, it offers a range of packages and special events for guests over four days.
The festival's aim is to connect Irish music and culture to Nashville, places that already share musical roots through bluegrass and country; not to mention Nashville's ties to its sister city Belfast. Festival founder Brenda Willis, who is from Nashville but has Irish roots, regularly travels to Ireland with her 12 children - who are all Irish musicians and dancers - to take part in traditional music celebrations like the Fleadh Cheoil and Trad Fest. It's here where Brenda also scouts talent for the festival.
"I'm very keen to keep the authenticity in the event," Brenda told Lonely Planet. "I scout my talent through Trad Fest... we have authentic vendors, authentic food and drink, no green food colouring."
The first Music City Irish Fest took place in 2015 but this year it's moving to a larger venue under a new production team, King Hospitality, the same people behind Nashville's Oktoberfest. Over four days, guests can sign up to events like the Shamrock and Champagne Brunch, Emerald Isle Whiskey Dinner and see live local and Irish acts including Aoife Scott, Kirwan, Jessica Willis Fisher, Talisk, Shane Hennessy and more.
"It's really neat to do collaborations with Nashville artists because they all have some sort of Irish ties and they really appreciate the connection back to their Irish roots," said Brenda.
General admission is free for the family-friendly event. A single day VIP pass is $99 (€90). For more information, see here.