A major foodie and music event is happening in Nashville next weekend, September 21-22nd, that seems to have some confused. Is this a festival? Does that mean Bonnaroo-style or a street festival? Well, this is entirely different than either of those, but certainly has music and chances to interact with some of the country’s most notable chefs through demos, panels, tastings and parties. It the perfect fusion of food-meets-music.
Music City Eats is a premium pay-to-play food event, set up in a festival format to make it easy to taste lots of amazing food and actually talk to the top chefs responsible for it all. When we discovered that Music City Eats (MCE) was included in the September issue of Elle’s Must Do List (pg. 56), and saw that all other “must do’s” were in LA and NYC, we knew the word was out! (And kuddos to Nashville!) We’ve done a little research about the weekend and can tell you that we expect MCE to be the be-all, end-all foodie event of the year, with a Music City spin like none other.
Now let’s get the biggest hurdle out of the way, before we even talk event details: It’s expensive. It’s $275 per person for the basic ticket, and $500 per person for the all-inclusive pass. Let’s get the second hurdle out of the way: Unlike some festivals that attract, in large part, people who aren’t old enough to have committed to having kids, the price point of MCE is honing in on a more, um, mature audience that is also thinking, “But I have to navigate 2 soccer games, 1 lacrosse clinic, a tumbling lesson, a basketball clinic and two birthday parties that weekend.” Of course there is also the festival-averse group who may be thinking, “Am I a festival person? I don’t liked being in mobs of people…Do I have to dress all ‘festival’?” But, here you go, and I’m going to call it out: Nashville is filled with parties that require a blowout, makeup, a new dress and babysitters, that last 3-4 hours and many cost MORE than this two-day event. So, if you can afford it, and I totally understand not everyone can, consider this an in-town vacation. This is the ultimate “stay-cation”–and no, you do not need to dress all “festival”; just dress comfortably, as you will want to eat and drink your way through these two days! If you have kids, hire a sitter for the day and plead carpools and take advantage. This is an amazing party that is purposefully priced to ensure an intimate experience with some of the most famous food personalities in the country including some of Nashville’s finest. Plus music. Plus demos. This is amazing. So, for the non-festival people, this is not an event where sweaty people are hugging you or bringing their “special” brownies, okay? For everyone reading who loves every festival that comes their way, well, it’s time to experience the inaugural MCE and boast that you were there!
Sept 21 and 22, 2013, Music City Eats:
- Cooking Demos and Panel Discussions: There are 10 scheduled on Saturday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m and 21 on Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. We’re talking Trisha Yearwood, Johnathan Waxman, Aaron Sanchez, Giada de Laurentiis and more.
- Taste of Nashville: from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday and ending at 3 p.m. on Sunday, while the demos are going on, you can elect to stroll and taste the bites of Nashville’s finest at the Public Square.
- Wine, Beer and Spirits Tastings
- 1 year subscription to Food and Wine
That’s what you get for the basic ticket price. With the All-In Pass there are some great extras:
- There is a three hour break between when the day time activities end on Saturday and the more exclusive Saturday night festivities begin: Harvest Night and Petty Fest. Harvest Night allows you to experience the dedication of a handful of chefs who are whipping up some serious lovin’ using products from local growers. It’s Farm to Table in the extreme. Petty Fest, a celebration of Tom Petty’s music, will be talked about for years. Who will be there on the stage? This is Music City and the list does not disappoint. We have the Kings of Leon hosting the event featuring The Cabin Down Below Band, Emmy Lou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Norah Jones, Patrick Carney of The Black Keys, Jakob Dylan, Buddy Miller and many many more.
For more information on Music City Eats: click here.
If you need a little more convincing, here’s our Q & A with chef superstar Jonathan Waxman, one of the biggest names in the business. We caught up with him last week to ask him why he’s so excited to be a part of MCE:
What is your perspective on Nashville’s food landscape?
Nashville to me was always a music town. If you’re a musician, Nashville is your mecca. You’d go there and cut your teeth,or to jumpstart or even revive your career. About 10 years ago, people sort of woke up to the American food scene and Nashville has embraced it with fervor. Great new restaurants are opening up that are mainly chef-driven. The great thing about cities like Nashville, Austin and Louisville is that they are discovering their chef talent and chefs are making the move to open their own restaurants.
How do you think Music City Eats differs from other Southern food events?
Music. The collective body of musicians in Nashville is unbelievable. Musicians love food. And there’s a great tie between food & music, and Nashville is the perfect scene for it. Musicians would rather talk about food than anything else.
What are your top choice(s) for the most tempting Nashville-specific local foods?
I love GooGoo Clusters! They’re really great. Also, hot chicken. Meat & three is a staple of life. Moonshiners and backyard barbecuers are coming into play … it’s the right kind of food you want to eat: it’s from the heart, soulful and cooked well. There’s great charcuterie and of course the local produce and ingredients. The guys at Catbird are pushing the envelope, which I think is the coolest thing.
What about Music City Eats intrigued you as being an unique event to help create?
Caleb [Caleb Followill) of Kings of Leon] and I were chatting in Barbuto one day, and he asked how come Nashville didn’t have its own festival like South Beach, Aspen, etc. I said, “Well, Caleb, we can make it happen.” And that’s how it came about – in a nutshell.
Is there a chef attending who you are a little starstruck by?
Giada – she has real star presence. I met her when Spotted Pig first opened up in NYC; I had dinner with her and Mario late one night,and she lit up the room. As for the musicians attending, it’s all about Emmylou Harris.
So, are you now understanding why this is so amazing? This is an event to celebrate and embrace. Oh, and one more thing: I know this is a new event, so there’s a bit of the unknown element. But, the people behind the event are the same ones who put on the Austin City Limits Festival and we need to show them that Nashville will support this event at least as well as Austin does, right? Right. Nashville pride coming through.
Check out Music City Eats: click here.