by Peter Chawaga
All of Nashville will celebrate joyous noise during Make Music Nashville (MMN) on June 21. The festival is a public, cross-genre, music-making event of musical instruction, play-along, and free concerts throughout the city.
The 2017 iteration is expected to be the largest ever in terms of participating artists and venues. Special events include a 250-person “kazoo jam” at the airport, a songwriting “street studio” downtown, and pre- festival activities like train-whistle instrument giveaways to trolley tourists and a “Pianos in the Park” installation at Cumberland Park featuring upright pianos decorated by local elementary school students..
Among the over one hundred performers providing free concerts this year are Riders in the Sky, quartets from the Barbershop Harmony Society, and the Alliance Française de Nashville. Kids at the Nashville Zoo will be given harmonicas to jam with, and over one hundred guitar lessons will be provided at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
“For musicians, we hope they take the opportunity to join the community in one of the hundreds of events offered throughout the city,” Matt Fox, co-founder and president of the festival, says. “For venues, we hope they open their doors to performers and curate their own creative ways to celebrate our diverse community. For patrons, we hope they enjoy performances throughout the city and consider joining in one of our many play-alongs.”
The free lessons, instrument giveaways, and far reach of the event remove the separation between performer and spectator found at most music festivals and give everyone in Nashville a chance to play.
“In short, MMN seeks to break down the barriers that hold people back from making music,” Fox says. “We believe music is for everyone regardless of ability, background, or approach, and our events are focused on providing a platform for everyone to express themselves at their own comfort level.”
The impact, however, is designed to last well beyond a single day. The broader goal of MMN is to introduce those who haven’t plumbed the depths of their music talent to a new form of expression.
“If our programs encourage someone to pick up an instrument for the first time or to dust off the old guitar in their attic, our mission is fulfilled,” Fox says. “Music expression is for everyone, and we want to provide Nashvillians with every opportunity possible to discover what music can mean to them.”
Make Music Nashville will be hosted on June 21 at locations throughout the city. For more information, please visit www.makemusicday.org/nashville.