In celebration of Earth Day, Nashville will host its 11th annual Earth Day Festival at Centennial Park on Saturday, April 21, with the theme of “Living Green and Healthy”. The event is free to attend. Biking to the event is encouraged, and complimentary bike parking will be provided.

Although no specific GLBT-oriented groups or vendors have been confirmed for the event, Lindsay Rothrock, speaking on the festival’s behalf, affirmed its commitment to diversity. “The festival maintains free admission to draw the largest cross-section of our community so that we can celebrate this nationally recognized event in the most inclusive manner possible,” she said. “The festival strives to educate all people – no matter their socioeconomic status, gender, sexual preferences, if they have a Leaf car or not. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come.”

The festival is organized in large part by the Metro Beautification and Environment Commission and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and is part of Mayor Karl Dean’s ambitious initiative to make Nashville the “Greenest City in the Southeast”. In support of that initiative, assorted “green”-themed vendors and groups will have educational presentations throughout the day. Some of the presentations will include:

  • Urban Chicken Advocates and Metro Health Department discussing the benefits of keeping micro-flocks of laying hens and the permitting requirements.
  • Rain Barrel making and utilization by Cumberland River Compact.
  • Discussions on Community Supported Agriculture, composting, and urban gardening.
  • Tips and tricks for reducing utility usage and bills.
  • Many more groups with ideas and presentations to help raise awareness for environmentally conscious living.

This year, the festival has set a goal of being a zero-waste event. To accomplish this, festival organizers will use biodegradable banners, collect compost and recyclable materials,  and even use solar energy to power the stage. Such an undertaking does require a large workforce, and volunteers are welcomed and appreciated. If you would like to volunteer to be a “rubbish wrangler” for the event, you can sign up at

Of course, no festival in Music City would be complete without music. The Earth Day Festival will field an incredible lineup of musicians, headlined by Americana group the Dirty Guv’nahs. A six-man group based in Knoxville, they have been voted “Best Band in Knoxville” for the past four years. The musical lineup also includes singer-songwriter Mindy Smith and local group Farewell Drifters. Additionally, the music will begin with a surprise guest: You (maybe)! In association with Nashville Songwriter’s Association international (NSAI) Nashville Earth Day Festival is sponsoring a songwriting competition. The aspiring or professional songwriter who wins will kick off the musical fireworks with a song written especially for the Earth Festival.

Those interested in participating in the contest should do the following:

  • Local songwriters and musicians are encouraged to submit a short song about Living Green & Healthy and in the spirit of Earth Day.
  • Songs should be about two-and-a-half to three minutes long and family friendly.
  • There are two categories – one for individuals under age 18 and another for adult age songwriters.
  • Songs will be judged by a panel of accomplished professional Nashville songwriters.
  • The songwriters who win the contest will land themselves and their tunes on the main stage at the Earth Day Festival. Winners will also receive a package from NSAI valued at $500, including NSAI membership, a one-hour one-on-one mentoring session, swag bag and more. For contest details or to enter, visit

Better hurry! The deadline for entering the contest is Friday, April 13.

With springtime in Tennessee bringing warmer weather, bluer skies, and an irresistible urge to  get outside and enjoy the change of season, Nashville Earth Day Festival is sure to be a perfect mix of fun, education, and renewed focus on all things green!

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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