Chattanooga is no stranger to the music scene. The Tivoli Theatre routinely hosts national performers, Songbirds tells the story of how the guitar shaped pop culture history, the Hunter Museum of American Art has its own chamber music series, and you can find live music playing at local restaurants and venues just about any day of the week. Come summer, as the temperature heats up, so does the entertainment in and around the Scenic City. What follows are summer music series to put on your calendar as you make plans for the upcoming season!
McLemore Singer Songwriter Series
May through October
Located atop Lookout Mountain, McLemore is known for its world-class golf course, fine dining, and prestigious gated community. Adding to the allure for the second year in a row is the McLemore Singer-Songwriter Series – showcasing Grammy-award-winning artists over the span of six performances all summer long. The exclusivity of this music series makes these performances truly unique. Not only is attendance limited, but those who score a ticket can also interact and connect with the artists during and after the show.
Kicking the series off on May 19 is Patrick Davis & Friends; Davis is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter with over a decade of experience in the music industry. On June 9, a special mini-festival, aptly named the Singing Sisters Concert after the Singing Sisters Falls on the western side of McLemore, will feature all-female lineup Lauren Jenkins, Kim Richey, and Lucie Silvas. Performances by Shawn Mullins, Sunrise Cuban Band, Buxton Hughes, and Griffin House will take place from July through October.
While season tickets are already sold out, you can still find tickets to the individual performances on sale for $55 at themclemore.com/singer-songwriter-series-1.
May through September
As Chattanooga’s longest-running outdoor concert series, Nightfall is a highly anticipated – and completely free – community event offering family-friendly entertainment in the heart of the city. In 2022, Nightfall will celebrate its 35th season with 15 weeks of performances beginning Memorial Day weekend, with concerts to be held at Miller Park every Friday night until September 2. While the bands take to Miller Plaza stage, attendees can take advantage of local food trucks, artisan vendors, and lawn games interspersed throughout the park.
Following the traditional Nightfall format, shows begin at 7 p.m. with local talent, and at 8 p.m., a national headliner will perform. Nightfall producers Chattanooga Presents select musicians from a range of genres. Up first, funk band Cha Wa – a Grammy-nominated group based out of New Orleans – will headline on May 27. Also on the summer schedule are bands Teddy Thompson, Wildermiss, Lakou Mizik, Blackcat Zydeco featuring Dwight Carrier, The Abrams, Magnolia Boulevard, and more. On August 26, the Road to Nightfall winners – to be selected on May 6 in a competition at Miller Park – will headline.
As previously mentioned, food trucks will be available on-site, so no outside food or drink is allowed to be brought into the park (helping keep the event free to the public). Nightfall bulk discount beer and wine tickets will also be sold at each show. For more information about each week’s performers, check out nightfallchattanooga.com.
June 3-5, 2022
After a two-year hiatus, Chattanooga’s beloved Riverbend Festival is returning in 2022 bigger and better than ever. While many music festivals are known for a specific style or genre, Riverbend welcomes a wide variety of performers, from country music stars and alt-rock bands to hip-hop artists and everything in between. Plus, the setting can’t be beat – with the Tennessee River as a backdrop, Riverbend turns Ross’s Landing into one big party. The 2022 festival will take place over three days with three stages, three nights of fireworks, and more than 20 artists. Food vendors will be on-site, as will the Riverbend Marketplace featuring art, crafts, and unique merchandise from local artisans.
Headlining the festival is country music duo Brothers Osborne on Friday night, rock band Cage the Elephant on Saturday night, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – a talented group of musicians led by singer/songwriter Isbell – on Sunday night. Other notable performers include Elle King, Moon Taxi, The War and Treaty, Grace Potter, Gov’t Mule, and Lenox Hills.
General admission tickets can be purchased for individual days ($75 per day) or a three-day pass for $95. All ticket holders will receive a wristband to wear at the festival. Already sold out, VIP tickets include a dedicated festival entrance, goodie bag, preferred viewing of the performances, and access to an exclusive VIP Pier Lounge featuring seating, shade, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, and more.
June through August
Do you own a blanket or a lawn chair? Then you have everything you need to enjoy Riverfront Nights! Presented by Friends of the Festival, Riverfront Nights is a free music series that puts local Chattanooga talent front and center. Ross’s Landing plays host to this popular event, which begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday nights throughout the summer. While food and beverage vendors are available on-site, the public is welcome to bring in their own coolers or DIY picnics.
Did we mention that pets are also welcome to attend?
Keeping audiences on their toes, the live music at Riverfront Nights each week looks a little different than the last; one Saturday could have the crowd rocking out to an indie rock group, and the next they’ll be dancing the night away to a country artist’s crooning tunes. One thing’s for sure – the vibrant lineup of artists will be filled with stand-out talent. The 2022 lineup is set to be announced soon.
Summer Music Weekends at Rock City
May through September
Running from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends, Rock City’s Summer Music Weekends combine toe-tapping music with the beauty and wonder of one of Chattanooga’s most iconic attractions. Each year, the concert lineup includes bluegrass and modern folk-country acts that seem to be at home in the one-of-a-kind mountaintop setting.
Back for another year is local performer Matt Downer the Old Time Traveler, a one-man act who is well-versed in guitar, fiddle, and banjo playing; Downer grew up on Sand Mountain, Alabama, learning to play music from his grandfather and the elder musicians of the area, and his folk-style music takes listeners back in time to “the good old days.” While the rest of the 2022 musicians have yet to be announced, with past performances from the likes of Amber Carrington, Tarryn Aimee Smith, and Highbeams, Rock City guests will be in for a musical treat.
Guests can enjoy Summer Music Weekends with the purchase of a Rock City general admission ticket on select dates, and timed-entry reservations are recommended. Of course, there’s so much to be discovered around the gardens, from Lover’s Leap and the Seven States view to Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village. Birds of Prey raptor shows are happening all summer long, and Rock City’s Café 7 is whipping up seasonal favorites sure to please any palate.
WanderLinger Music + Arts Festival
May 13-15, 2022
A haven for artists and beer lovers alike on Chattanooga’s Southside, WanderLinger Brewing Company is as unique as the musicians it hosts at its WanderLinger Music + Arts Festival. After a successful first run in 2021, this three-day festival is back with more than 30 local acts. Attendees can look forward to both indoor and outdoor performances, food for purchase from Goodfellas Pizzeria, and, of course, plenty of beer on tap.
Friday night’s lineup begins at 4:30 p.m., with soulful quartet Oweda to headline at 9:30 p.m. The music begins at noon on Saturday, and headliners Masseuse and Funk You will take the stage at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., respectively. On Sunday night, cosmic country artist Daniel Donato closes out the festival at 8 p.m.
Tickets for the festival are on sale now, with both three-day and single-day tickets available. Proceeds from this year’s ticket sales will benefit SoundCorps, whose mission is to grow the local Chattanooga music economy. Keep in mind that the event is for ages 21 and up on Friday and Saturday; kids can join the fun on Sunday’s Family Day, and if they’re under 12, they get in free.