Nashville comes to Highwood for Nashwood Music and Food Fest

By Ken Keenan for Chronicle Media

Sponsored by Celebrate Highwood, the Sixth Annual Nashwood Music and Food Fest hits downtown Highwood over Labor Day weekend.

The sounds, sights and scents of Nashville’s Honky Tonk Row will be on display when the Sixth Annual Nashwood Music and Food Fest hits downtown Highwood over Labor Day weekend.

Sponsored by Celebrate Highwood, the fest features three days of live music, including country, bluegrass and blues, as well as classic, contemporary and southern rock. More than 100 performances are scheduled throughout 25 venues (including 10 outdoors), and various establishments in downtown Highwood will offer southern-inspired food and drink specials as well.

All performances are free of charge, but in true Nashville style, tips are encouraged to support the musicians. The fest will run from 5 p.m. to bar closing time Sept. 1; noon to bar close Sept. 2; and noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 3.

“The fest has really grown, and now we have over 100 live acts,” said Celebrate Highwood event promoter Ilyse Strongin. “This year, over 65 percent of the musical acts are from Nashville. Nashwood has really evolved as a big event in the Midwest, similar to Summerfest in Milwaukee. More Nashville performers are excited to come out every year.”

Headlining performers include Davidson County (Sept. 1), Wall of Denial (Sept. 2) and Dry County Line (Sept. 3) at Toadstool Pub; Josh Gallagher (Sept. 1), Payton Taylor (Sept. 2) and Ashley Wineland (Sept. 3) at 28 Mile; the Karen Shook Duo (Sept. 1) at Broken Tee; Chris Minardi (Sept. 1) at Santi’s; and Austin Edwards (Sept. 3) at Beermiscuous.

“Country music is the big thing, but we’ve also expanded to rock and other types of music,” Strongin said. “There’s a lot of variety, so there’s something for everyone.”

Food and drink specials include a Nashville hot chicken sandwich (with pickles and red cabbage) and peach sweet tea at Clucker’s; brisket taco and loca honey lemonade (made with Jack Daniel’s) at La Plancha; tamarind BBQ short ribs (with polenta mash and buttered sweet corn) and old fashioned peach whiskey sour at Longitud315; grilled bologna sandwiches and sweet tea whiskey at 28 Mile; shrimp and grits, sea scallops with crab mac ‘n’ cheese and bourbon chocolate layer cake at Scotty’s; and southern BBQ chicken sandwiches at Tapas Del Lago.

In addition, attendees are invited to take a one-hour ride around Highwood on the Nashwood Booze Barrel Bus. The fee is $50 per person, and includes cocktails and live music. Rides will run from 6-10 p.m. Sept. 1; 2:30 to 10 p.m. Sept. 2; and 2:30-6:30 p.m. Sept. 3.

“The bus is like a big whiskey barrel, with a musician and bartender on board,” Strongin said. “For an hour, 18 people can ride. It’s a great opportunity to get a private tour of Highwood.”

The Nashwood Hop-Along Hayride will also offer free shuttles throughout downtown Highwood during the fest.


“People can hop on and off around the Highwood loop,” Strongin said. “Downtown Highwood is loaded with restaurants and bars, so you can stroll in and out of places and enjoy the music, just like in Nashville. With Nashwood, you don’t have to go to Nashville to enjoy what Nashville is all about.”

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