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The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix Is Off to the Races with a Big Day of Music in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix was a three-day celebration of INDYCAR racing. The event took place August 04-06, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. As you might expect, music was a big part of the festivities with major concerts scheduled for both Friday and Saturday nights in addition to other live performances that took place throughout the whole weekend. Tootsie's a well-known music venue in Nashville set up a temporary bar with a stage so they too were hosting live performances as was iHeart Country and The Fish 94.

The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix Is Off to the Races with a Big Day of Music in Nashville

We were on site Friday to check out day one of the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix so it made sense to find a spot near the ZYN Stage for a winning line-up that featured Chris Janson, Phil Vasser, Gavin DeGraw and Vince Neil. The concert was billed as Freedom Friday in honor of those who serve. Throughout the night there would be shout outs to the military and mentions of funds and scholarships going to those in the armed forces.

Vince Neil was not part of the pit Crue on Friday but he rocked the opening night concert.

The show started with Sixwire singing an a capella version of the American Anthem. Sixwire came to fame with "Look At Me Now" and "Way Too Deep" which led to spots on major tours with top artists. Sixwire was the backing group on Nashville Star and later on a number of CMT programs. They also got gigs at major sporting events including the Super Bowl. Sixwire was the first ever house band at the 2019 NFL Draft, which was held in Nashville and seen on ESPN. They are well respected here in Music City, thus very capable of supporting all of the artists who performed at Freedom Friday. During the show's quick set changes, Sixwire presented medleys of popular songs. The first was a bunch of Eagle tunes and later a series that incorporated "We Will Rock You" to "Hey Jude".

Chris Janson was doing double duty as he opened the show before jetting off to another concert.

Chris Janson has been called the future of country music for his creative blend of classic and contemporary stylings. He has charted multiple times and has co-written singles for LoCash, Hank Williams Jr and more. Chris's concise set was packed with fan favorites including "Buy Me A Boat" along with a newer yet winning piece called "All I Need Is You". Janson reminded folks that he would be at the Ryman in Nashville on August 16th after this fine teaser of a what a full Chris Janson concert is all about.

Gavin DeGraw was well-received. His downtown club is on the race route in 2024.

Phil Vassar started out penning prose for the likes of Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw and more. His first solo album would have five songs that charted leading to a trend of writing hits. Taking a seat at his piano Phil delivered a number of them with Sixwire including the insightful "My Next 30 Years" and a pleasing "For A Little While".

Phil Vassar was quite a revelation >>> sign us up for more of that!

Next, Gavin DeGraw who also has a track record of scripting quality songs took a seat at the keys with Sixwire backing. We appreciated Gavin's musicianship and his rules about receiving advice which includes it should come from someone who loves you, someone who is smarter and older except in the case of cell phones.

Sixwire is Nashville's goto house band for all the biggest events in Music City.

Closing out the night was Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe. Despite controversary, Neil's visual aesthetic and distinctive singing voice are still synonymous with the American glam metal movement of the 1980s. Plus, Mötley Crüe has been ranked tenth on MTV's list of "Top 10 Heavy Metal Bands of All-Time" and ninth on "VH1's All Time Top Ten Metal Bands". Neil received a warm welcome while fans happily sung along to "Girls Girls Girls" among a number of that band's other hits that once again the agile Sixwire handled with ease to end Freedom Friday on a rocking note.

Ryan Griffin impressed on the iHeartRadio Country Stage.

In 2024, The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix will become an even bigger deal as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES moves it Finale to Music from September 13 through 15 with a new route through downtown Nashville's iconic Honky-Tonk row. The 2024 season awards ceremony will also take place in Music City, on Sept. 16 at the iconic Schermerhorn Symphony Center. More than 250,000 fans are expected to converge on downtown Nashville for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, which has quickly become one of the sport's marquee events since its debut in 2021 and will become a championship-crowning celebration watched by viewers across the globe.

Miguel Dakota was a featured act on the makeshift stage underneath the race track.

The new 2.17-mile, seven-turn circuit will continue across the iconic Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge and route directly past the Country Music Hall of Fame. The race course will run through the city's honky-tonk district, home to bars owned by the biggest names in country music, including Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Garth Brooks, Eric Church, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, John Rich and Blake Shelton. Each day of racing will culminate with a takeover of Broadway and a massive street party that only Nashville can throw, featuring live performances by many of music's biggest artists.

While music was the star on Friday, these cars would shine on Sunday.

About "The Streets of Nashville": Throughout the three days that we covered The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix we heard the race announcers excitedly and repeatedly mention how the multiple contests were taking place on "the streets of Nashville". It was thrilling to MCN Founder Rockin' Rich Lynch to hear those words over and over again as he recently released a song by the same title. Still, his rock-infused track was about the parking issue in town and not high speed racing. But, both will remain relevant topics especially as the Grand Prix returns to the downtown next year and fans seek a place to park to enjoy all the action!

Related Links: For more information on the BIG MACHINE MUSIC CITY GRAND PRIX and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Big Machine Music City Grand Prix | Sixwire | Chris Janson | Phil Vassar | Gavin DeGraw | Vince Neil | Indy Car Ministry | Nissan Stadium | The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix Takes Another Turn Aound the Streets of Nashville | Music City Grand Prix Returns For Another Spin Around Nashville in 2022


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