When it comes to New Year’s Eve celebrations, most people picture Times Square in New York City with a million people crammed into a few city blocks, waiting in the frigid winter temps for that beautiful crystal ball to slide down a flagpole at midnight as designating the start of a new year.
But there’s a new New Year’s Eve party in town, and Nashville is happy to host it. This year’s “Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve” bash marks the eighth annual event and it has grown bigger and bigger every year. In 2009, at the inaugural event, Rodney Atkins and Marc Broussard were among the entertainers for the crowd of 15,000 that had assembled, but in 2015 the crowd has blossomed to more than 150,000 and the music lasted for six hours as artists like Chris Stapleton, Kelsea Ballerini, Kings of Leon and LANco swapped stages.
Are you trying to decide where you’re spending New Year’s Eve? We’ve got six reasons why it should be in Music City.
1. Keith Urban
If you’re a country music fan and you’ve never seen Keith Urban, this would be a great time to do it. If you’ve seen Keith a hundred times before, this promises to be a performance like never before. Plus, rock supergroup Styx are joining Keith on the bill, along with country’s A Thousand Horses and Charlie Worsham. Oh yeah, and it’s free.
“When they invited me to ring in 2017 here in my hometown, it was an immediate yes,” Keith told “The Tennessean.” “I’ve lived here now for 24 years, so I know how Nashvillians know how to throw a party, and every year this one just gets bigger and bigger — so we’ll be bringin’ it.”
2. Temperatures are tolerable
The average high in January in Nashville is around 46 degrees and the average low is 28 degrees, so you’ll want to bundle up appropriately, but since the event takes place in the downtown area of Nashville, there are plenty of places to duck into and lots of food and beverage trucks to grab something to warm ya up.
3. Bars on Broadway are blasting great music all night
The party isn’t just in the city’s Bicentennial Mall, the entire downtown area is jumping with really great country and rock bands in almost every honky-tonk on Lower Broadway. Some even have VIP parties with drink specials and great Tennessee grub to nibble on all night.
4. Awesome accommodations and excellent eats
Plan on spending the weekend. Nashville is super easy to fly in and out of, and there are plenty of hotels offering great NYE packages that include party favors and a commemorative T-shirt. And if you book a hotel downtown, you can walk to everything, including some of the best restaurants in the city. And there’s Uber, Lyft, taxis, pedal cabs… actually, you wouldn’t believe some of the transportation Nashville has to get you anywhere you need to be.
5. Sparkly fireworks
Nashville loves its pyrotechnics. Fourth of July, baseball games or football games, it doesn’t matter. Any opportunity that Music City has to shoot fireworks, it takes, but on New Year’s Eve, it’s super spectacular as the explosions glitter across the city’s skyline.
6. Mirror ball, schmirror ball. Nashville’s got the note.
Sure, we know the ball drop in Times Square is a tradition, and we respect the heck out of it, but an ordinary sphere just didn’t seem appropriate for the zip code that earned the moniker “Music City” back in the 1950s. The 2009 Bash on Broadway saw a giant guitar descend an 80-foot pole. Then in 2011, a giant 15-foot tall music note, lit in red, took the place of the guitar and slid down a 115-foot pole. And the city has been rocking it ever since.