full moon pickin party

Right now my life is pretty empty…and I’m loving it!

I was so busy in New Jersey with all kinds of commitments and activities. Yes I enjoyed most of them and brought all of them on myself, but I’ve got to admit it’s so nice to have nothing right now. The best part is weekends. They stretch out in front of me like a glorious blank slate just waiting to be filled with whatever I want, which to me means time to explore my new city!

Nashville is a tourist destination. Downtown is filled with all things country music. Honky Tonks, museums, gift shops, and lots and lots of people. But we wanted a more “real” experience and we found it with the Full Moon Pickin Party.

I just happened to stumble across the Full Moon Pickin Party one of our first weekends here. The event takes place on a Friday night closest to the full moon every month from May-October. The website advertised the event as laid-back and family friendly and described it as “bluegrass music under the light of a full moon”. We were in!

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We headed to Percy Warner Park (these events are actually a fund raiser for the park) where the event is held and joined hundreds of other cars snaking their way through the field to park. After grabbing blankets and camp chairs we got in line to pay the admission fee which included four “free” beers per adult. If you bring an instrument there is a major discount on the price. The list of instrument that qualify is all bluegrass: Guitars, Mandolins, Banjos, Fiddles & Bass Fiddles, Lap Steels, Dobros, Dulcimers, Autoharp, Accordions, and Harmonica Sets. Yep- we were no longer in the Northeast!

The night of the Pickin Party was all you could want from a Tennessee summer night- warm and clear with just enough humidity to keep the heat of the day wrapped around you as it got dark. We found a spot on the grass and spread out our blanket just as the fireflies were beginning to twinkle, rising up from the grass. The moon slowly rose over the event and the music began!

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There was a main stage that featured three different bands throughout the night. We sat listening to them for awhile. They were all really good and each had a unique style. Soon we got hungry and wandered back to the food trucks. The lines were long but these were some of the city’s best trucks. We waited, my youngest daughter entertaining herself by petting all of the dogs around us (the event is dog friendly too). Our food was great and after we ate we decided to wander around.

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As the night got darker and the moon brighter we saw more and more of the “real” purpose of the night. Little circles of pickers formed everywhere. Those instruments that people had brought with them were now being put to use. Groups that didn’t even know each other formed and began to play. Old men played with teenagers. Guitars got together with a fiddle and a set of spoons. Some had a singer, others just music. Talent was everywhere and the results were amazing!

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We joined the groups of onlookers crowded around these groups listening and cheering and singing along. They played new school and old school. Country and bluegrass and southern rock. While I’m sure the musicians enjoyed the crowds, you could tell for them it was about the music and the joy of playing with each other, blending their instruments to create both new and century old sounds.

Back on the main stage the band played on as kids danced around. The guitarist came down off the stage to “play” with a little girl who was strumming her tiny pink guitar. Elderly couples sat, arms around each other and heads nodding to the music while groups of hipsters stood around talking and drinking their beers. It was truly an event for any and everyone.

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The moon was high in the sky when we decided to leave. We had all had a great time! Our first Nashville event felt right. Real and true to the town and left us excited to explore and get to know more of our new home!

To see more pics go to:  envisionfoto.com

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