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The Blended Festival Is a Unique Mix of Music, Food and Beverages in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

The Blended Festival brought a unique concert concept to Music City. The Blended Festival held at First Horizon Park in Nashville, Tennessee on August 13th and 14th 2021, was a distinctive concert experience with an added twist. In addition to live music the Blended Festival featured craft cocktails, culinary stations, photo opportunities, unique activations and wine. With a VIP pass, guests could venture into The Village which had a private bar, restrooms, and preferred viewing of the main stage. The visionaries behind Blended conceived a Coachella type outing for a more mature audience.

The Blended Festival in Nashville. Up next, Austin and San Diego.

The format on both Friday and Saturday showcased local DJs and bands in the early part of the day with a more party like atmosphere in the evening featuring top shelf acts such as Miley's little sister Brandi Cyrus, Kaskade, Lil Jon, Ludacris, Matt Stell and more. It was a spirited mixture of country, EDM, pop and rap. On both the upper and lower tiers of the venue were vendors. Some were selling accessories but the majority had an assortment of libations such as beer or hard liquor. Yet, the centerpiece of the Blended Festival was wine.

Is there a Nashville Ludacris residency in the future?

The wine tent presented by My Wine Society was eye catching. Ticket holders were given two complimentary tastings, with additional tastings available for purchase. Once inside the air conditioned structure folks could try a wide variety of beverages from different wineries, both domestic and international. Celebrity sommelier Matthew Lauren was on site to educate and address any wine related questions throughout the weekend. Patrons were encouraged to download the MWS app to track their tastings digitally, as well as interact with wine brands and other festival attendees.

More scenes from the first of its kind Blended Festival in Nashville.

Good wine must be paired with fine food. Food truck row along with pop-ups from local restaurants including Edley's Bar-B-Que provided tasty meals to compliment the drinks. At the Culinary Stage renowned chefs from near and far presented demonstrations on stoves with mirrors so that fans could watch all the action. There were also cooking contests over the two days. On Saturday night, Edley's presentation on meat ended with tasty samples for all those watching.

Cooking demonstrations on the culinary stage were highly entertaining.

"Nobody books Ludacris for 30 minutes," joked Saturday's headliner recalling Patrick Swayze's popularized indignation originally voiced in Dirty Dancing. The rapper - who landed at the BNA from his Atlanta homebase shortly before his set - was himself a bit dirty as he got the crowd amped up and dancing with their arms in the air. During his appearance that clocked in at three quarters of an hour Ludacris threatened to join the ranks of those moving to Music City seemingly impressed by the crowd and all that is happening in the little big town.

Kaskade made compelling music that ebbed and flowed on waves of EDM.

Another unique part of the Blended Festival was that it was designed to ease Covid concerns. The event was cashless and activities were adequately spaced apart from one another. Fans who wanted to stand by the stage could while others chose to sit in the baseball stadium seats which were less crowded. While on the subject of wellness, Blended has partnered with When The Music Stops. WTMS is a non-profit who works with today's biggest artists and industry professionals, normalizing mental health and burnout. During the festival, WTMS hosted activities that included speakers, breath-work sessions, art therapy, exclusive meet and greets, and more. They also had a covered lounge area that provided massage options, IV drip, a water station, and nap pods.

More scenes from the first of its kind Blended Festival in Nashville.

Their branded tent also offered insight on suicide awareness, while providing opportunities for massage, yoga and a personalized musical experience called a "silent disco" where participants experienced a live DJ set through high-tech, wifi enhanced headphones. But, it wasn't all heavy topics. The booth next to WTMS was hosted by the Tennessee Titans where fans lined up to toss the pigskins through a tire challenge just like the pros while signing up for a chance to win prizes from the state's only NFL franchise.

More scenes from the first of its kind Blended Festival in Nashville.

Speaking of franchises, the Blended Festival is growing and going to new markets. They are scheduled to be in Austin, Texas September 9th and 10th, 2021 before wrapping up their inaugural showcases in San Diego on October 15th and 16th, 2021, In 2022, they are considering adding stops in Orange County, Miami and New York.

Edley's U.T. Craven had us all craving some of that tasty Nashville BBQ.

We had the pleasure of speaking with one of the organizers of the Blended Festival and he told us that this event was the idea of people who enjoy good food. They wanted to have a gourmet element that would include well respected local eateries. Originally it was going to be a wine and music festival but it soon expanded to other drinks and Blended was born. Also, the diversity of music genres adds to the concept of blending.

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As guests from Nashville entered Blended they were greeted by a marketplace of vendors showcasing various activations, samples and other retail options. Some set up "selfie stations" so fans had lots of opportunities to capture the fun of the day on their phones. A battle between two artists took place through the two days resulting in a pair of large and colorful canvases at the conclusion of the event. Plenty of music provided a soundtrack for the weekend and from what we observed folks were having a grand time at the first ever Blended Festival.

Related Links: For more information on the BLENDED FESTIVAL and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Blended Festival | Edley's Bar-B-Que | First Horizon Park


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