An Insider's Guide To Surviving Music City Food + Wine Festival 2019

Image courtesy of Music City Food and Wine

Back for its seventh year, The Music City Food and Wine Festival returns to Bicentennial Park on September 20-22, 2019. Without question, this is one of my favorite Nashville events as it shines a spotlight on the food and beverage scene in Music City. After all, there’s much more to Nashville than honky-tonks, hot chicken and hockey! This weekend-long festival is filled with culinary demonstrations, seminars, and panels along with tasting tents highlighting food, wine, spirits and beer from Music City and beyond.

Nashville will be overrun with nationally acclaimed chefs, alcohol producers, brand ambassadors, tastemakers and party goers. Whether you’re a first-time festival goer or a repeat offender I’ve put together a guide to help navigate and survive Music City Food and Wine.

Let’s get some of the basic questions out of the way.

Festival Basics

Where can I purchase tickets for the Music City Food and Wine Festival?

There are five different types of tickets you can purchase:

  • All-In Ticket

  • Friday Night

  • Saturday Day

  • Harvest Night

    Gospel Brunch

All tickets can be purchased here. Personally, I’m an advocate of the All-In ticket as there’s different talent, tastings and culinary demonstrations on Friday and Saturday and y’all know I don’t want to miss a thing! If you are thinking about choosing one of the events, I’d recommend purchasing the Saturday Day pass or if it’s in the budget, Harvest Night. While Friday evening is quite fun, I feel like you get more bang for your buck with the Saturday Day pass. More hours + more options = more fun!

Regardless of what you purchase, all of your food and beverages are included and you really can’t go wrong.

Where is the festival located?

Make sure you know where you are going! The last thing you want to do is have your Uber/Lyft drop you off at the wrong location!

The panels, tasting tents and culinary demonstrations are hosted at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

Harvest Night and the Gospel Brunch are hosted at the Walk of Fame Park.

What are the hours of the festival?

Friday, September 20, 2019: Festival gates at Bicentennial Park will open at 6:00 pm and close at 10:00 pm.

Saturday, September 21, 2019: Festival gates at Bicentennial Park will open at 11:00 am and close at 4:00 pm. Harvest Night will begin at 7:00 pm and conclude at 9:30 pm.

Sunday, September 22, 2019: Gospel Brunch is scheduled from 12:00 pm until 2:00 pm at Walk of Fame Park.

Did you think of something else? Click HERE for more frequently asked questions.

Tips for surviving and thriving during MCFW ‘19

Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Whether you purchased a day pass or an All-In ticket, remember to pace yourself. Realistically, you can’t do everything. Take it from someone who has attempted and failed miserably.

The schedules will be released well in advance, so take some time and check out the lineup. I always like to get an idea of my can’t-miss panels and demos before I get to the festival so I don’t get derailed. Trust me, one little tequila shot or glass of wine can suck you in and totally throw you off your tasting game. Even though I am terrible at deciphering them, it’s also helpful to have a map of the tasting tents. This allows you to pop in and grab a bite from that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try or sip that wine your friends have been raving about.

Make sure you stay properly hydrated throughout the day and consider investing in some hangover patches. Just saying.

Go With The Flow

Plotting and scheming is essential to success at MCFW, but always be willing to go with the flow. Inevitably, there will be a few standout bites in the tasting tents that may not have been on your radar or perhaps there’s an impromptu meat throwing content during one of the culinary demonstrations ( you think I am making this stuff up, but it HAS happened), you don’t want to be so scheduled that you miss out.

Leave The Ball Gowns And High Heels At Home

Take it from a girl who’s notorious for wearing heels ALL the time, Music City Food and Wine is not the place.

Dress comfortably and allow for major food and beverage consumption.

For all my ladies, flowy dresses and sandals will be your friend during this weekend. Even though the grounds aren’t extensive, you’ll find yourself walking back and forth between tasting tents, demonstrations, etc. and the last thing you want is ill-fitting, annoying shoes. And I know that you gals can make comfortable cute!

Guys, well you know, you have it much easier than the ladies.

Getting Around

If you plan on thoroughly enjoying the festival and all that it has to offer, my recommendation is to choose a ride share service like Lyft or Uber. After all, you may have thrown caution to the wind during the festival, but be kind and be responsible. Period.

MCFW will have designated ride share pick up areas making it less chaotic during drop-offs and pickups.

If you choose to drive (may the force be with you), parking is available at the state employee lot which is located at 6th Avenue and Harrison Street.

Alexa, What’s Today’s Forecast?

MCFW happens rain or shine and I’ve experienced both. Make sure that you check the forecast before you leave and if it does rain, bring a poncho and wear shoes you are comfortable trashing the next day. Those tents will inevitably get crowded and quite muddy.

Saturdays Are For Siestas

If you heeded my advice and opted for the all-in ticket, congratulations. You will single-handedly consume a month’s worth of calories in less than 72 hours. There’s a small gap of time in the programming on Saturday before Harvest Night. If you can, try to sneak in a quick nap and shower for that matter before you hit up Harvest Night. Trust me, you will need it.

Sensible Sample Selections

Undoubtedly, festival-goers will be overwhelmed with the number of food and beverage samples that are available. While each food table will have one maybe two different selections, the wine and spirits tables typically have between three and five different options. It’s daunting. Don’t be afraid to try something and not like it. It’s fine. We’re fine. The chef’s fine. Unless I am absolutely smitten with a bite, I don’t finish it. Granted, I am not going to toss it in the trash right in front of their face, but I will kindly thank them and move along. After all, you only have so much room in that tummy of yours, so discriminating taste buds are a must.

Hola, Bonjour, Ciao!

Perhaps you run into Rick Bayless or Tim Love in the tasting tents, don’t clam up! The MCFW talent is more than approachable, so feel free to say hello. I always enjoy visiting with the local Nashville chefs because it’s rare you see them out of the kitchen and they always have something to share.

There you have it. My guide for surviving and thriving during the Music City Food and Wine Festival. Even though the festival is still a few months away, tickets are already on sale. Don’t procrastinate and miss out on one of the best events of the year!

For more information about purchasing tickets, click HERE.

For more information about the Music City Food and Wine Festival, click HERE.

Until Next Time!