Friday, June 20, 2014

Musician's Corner at Centennial Park

All images in this post courtesy of my lovely wife, Sarah Scott. Check out her blog (along with more pictures of Musician's Corner) at

Last Saturday (the 14th), Sarah and I had the chance to enjoy two sets of live, outdoor music in two different locations around Nashville. The first, Musician's Corner at Centennial Park, was nearer to the city's center and had a much more polished, "official" feel to it. The area was bigger, the food trucks were more plentiful, and there was even a "beer garden" where participants could exchange tokens for craft beer (among the normal, commercial brews, but no one's going to talk about Budweiser when they go to one of these things) and sit at picnic tables with their food, or just their slightly inebriated friends. We sat in said garden -- minus the inebriation and friends -- and enjoyed some time together, with the addition of our dog, Kashmir, who was warmly welcomed when we arrived.

When we first arrived at Centennial Park, we made a short detour to the stage through the large open field that sits in front of the Parthenon, a huge replica of -- you guessed it -- Rome's Parthenon. It's a full scale replica of one of the most famous structures in antiquity that was erected in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. We had Kashmir with us, as I mentioned, so we weren't able to stop by the museum or go inside the impressive structure. However, expect a future blog post on that, because it's something I'm very interested in. (And how could you not be? It's a freaking full-size replica of the Parthenon. That's impressive.)

As for the show, the first thing that we saw on the field where the stage and food trucks were parked was a food truck for dogs. Yep: See Spot Eat. That's Nashville for you: giving canines the same kinds of awesome options that their owners get. "People can get food from traveling vans? Why not one for dogs?!" That's the conversation I imagined in my head as we bought Kashmir a bag of handmade treats and let her drink out of the ring of water bowls that the neighboring pet clinic tent was offering.

After Kash quenched her thirst, I found a place to sit in the shade with her while Sarah walked around some of the vendor tents that were lined up on the far side of the stage, nearest to the main road. Kash got to visit with a few passersbys, and I got to sit and enjoy the first band that played upon our arrival.

First up was Regi Wooten and Friends. Playing old classics (including "The Twist"), the band brought a great energy to the crowd, who were dancing and singing and hula hooping along with each song. When they were done with their set (which seemed short, but I suppose they weren't the only people there to play that day), they wanted more time, the crowd wanted to give them more time, but the next act followed regardless after one last hurrah.

Will Davenport playing on the Lightening 100 Acoustic Stage after Regi Wooten and Friends.

By the time RW and Friends left the stage, Sarah and I had moved to the beer garden. Kash had made a few friends along the way, tugging at the leash to say hello to everyone (and every dog) that we passed, but she began to settle once we found a spot and sat down. Sarah laid out on our blanket, Kash hopped from one spot to another as people passed and she started getting hot in the sun, and I leaned back in my lawn chair and enjoyed the cold beer (Yazoo Hefeweizen, which is quickly becoming my new favorite), all while enjoying the show. And as with all events that gather a crowd, the show was just as much amongst the people in the crowd as it was on stage. People-watching should be a national pastime, because then I could say that I'm truly dedicated to at least one "sport." Lots of people in the beer garden were talking, their faces flushed with a comfortable combination of sun and alcohol, and some were singing or tapping their feet along with the music. Outside of the garden, kids continued to dance and run around, dogs continued to mingle or lay with their tongues hanging out, and people played corn hole or threw footballs or frisbees, or kicked around soccer balls.

Since we had another festival to go to that evening, and Kash was showing signs of crankiness from being awake and hot for so long, we left before the last act took the stage. As we left, we walked back by the Parthenon and its adjacent huge, open field, which was now turning into overflow parking. A family was walking from their minivan, the father and son kicking a soccer ball back and forth, but the ball got away from them and rolled in our direction. I kicked it towards the dad, passing it off as they kept moving along with their game. It was a small moment, but that kind of quick connection seemed appropriate. Because being here, in this city, gives us the feeling that we're being invited into a moving, active thing, something that's been going on for a while but that still has enough room amongst its participants to welcome us in. And so far there's been no apprehension of joining the game.

All images in this post courtesy of my lovely wife, Sarah Scott. Check out her blog (along with more pictures of Musician's Corner) at

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