Special Events


"New Year's Eve Live: Nashville's Big Bash"

(Review Written By: Jeffrey Kurtis)

Having been engrained in the Nashville community for 15 years now, it’s easy to see how the city’s very calculated growth spurt manifested into its current substantial boom, earning the Athens of the South the prevalent tag as America’s hottest “IT CITY.”

New structures have continually risen into the skyline, major businesses have headquartered themselves here, renowned restaurants moved in, areas across the city have been revitalized into surging housing markets, and the neon bathed Lower Broadway has transformed into the adopted weekend home for thousands of tourists, bachelorette parties, and music lovers looking for their next favorite artist.

That said…Nashville is now the favorite destination for so many!

Matching my personal timeline of calling Nashville home, the Jack Daniel’s sponsored “New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash” just celebrated its 15th year as the go-to New Year’s Eve Party.

5-4-3-2-1 counted down the exuberant, record- breaking crowd of 215,000 as the red music note reached its midnight destination and the clock turned to 2024 as fireworks lit the sky while “Auld Lang Syne” provided the backing track for friends to embrace with hugs, couples to share a predictable kiss, and champagne glasses to raise a toast to the prospect of all the good that the new year will hold.

Time seemingly stood still as the night capped off with an encouraging positivity that began its soft simmer in the hours prior to the strike of that very special moment.

New Year’s Eve is the golden opportunity for everything that makes this amazing city so unique to come together in a 5-hour, CBS Networks airing highlight, which at its core sits our incredible music scene.

Outlined by the dreamers and stitched together by those who have paved the way, the tight-knit music community pumps life into what makes the entire city so renowned.

Showing off big on New Year’s Eve with television performances spread across several venues, the broadcast version welcomed CMA Entertainer of the Year Lainey Wilson, Elle King, Thomas Rhett, Trace Adkins, Kane Brown, Jackson Dean, HARDY, Cody Johnson, Parker McCollum, Megan Moroney, Brothers Osborne, Jon Pardi, Carly Pearce, Blake Shelton, Morgan Wallen, Bailey Zimmerman, and a celebration of the iconic Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd in what is best described as a pure absorption of the true definition of what makes Nashville internationally recognized as “Music City.”

In what played out similarly to that of country music’s most famous program, The Grand Ole Opry, each of the different artists over the course of the night provided a snapshot into who they are through abbreviated sets and a sampling of their biggest hits, enticing diehard country music fans while welcoming newcomers into our beloved family in an all-out celebration of the dawning of the new year as everyone as far as the eyes could see enthusiastically soaked in the electric atmosphere that radiated throughout Nashville.

When the gates officially opened to the night’s main hub, Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, so began the mad rush to stake claim to the closest spots to the massive stage as the crowd’s excitement level bubbled with stellar performances of “Half of Me,” “Crash and Burn,” and “Die A Happy Man” from Thomas Rhett as he became the centerpiece for the early arrivers with several performances through each of the first two hours, delighting the crowd with audience participation moments during the bounce along vibes of “Vacation” and “T-Shirt.” 

As comedian Rob Schneider riled up the crowd for his daughter and co-host of the CBS Broadcast, Elle King, she aptly transitioned the otherwise country geared feel into a rock infused throwback, kicking off with a cover of Stevie Nicks “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” while instigating a party with the danceable “Tulsa” and her smash hit, “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home).”

After a half hour break for the local news to air, the third hour of the night saw the crowd immediately brought back up to party mode via an electrifying performance from CMA Entertainer of the Year Lainey Wilson as her bell-bottom country lit up the stage.

The groove laden “Grease” and hip popping “Smell Like Smoke” accented her biggest hits “Wildflowers and Wild Horses,” “Heart Like A Truck,” “Watermelon Moonshine,” and “Things A Man Oughta Know,” all of which had the crowd singing along with every word in a visual exclamation point on her incredible year and substantial reach as an artist.

Then, while flanked by 17-year old guitar virtuoso Grace Bowers and hot rising country star Jackson Dean, the trio delivered an only-in Nashville moment as they grabbed the crowd with a cover of Bad Company’s “Can’t Get Enough,” allowing plenty of room within the bends of the song for each of their artistic individuality to shine in the spotlight while coming together as one cohesive unit to lift the entire venue into feel-good mode as time ticked even closer to midnight.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of their debut album, the current legacy edition of the iconic Southern Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd took us on a boogie-woogie filled trip back to when the airwaves were ruled by big guitars and an unmatched grittiness as they launched into the 11 o’clock hour with “What’s Your Name.”

In undeniable proof that all it takes is a few chords to turn an entire crowd on its head, “Sweet Home Alabama” was instantly met with rebel rousing hoots and hollers as another only-in-Nashville moment caused an eruption as Lainey Wilson and Elle King joined the icons on stage to rock their way through the Southern anthem.

Continuing to plow into their rock edged grit, Skynyrd kept everyone excitedly clapping along with “Gimme Three Steps,” swaying with “Simple Man,” and singing out loud with every word of “Free Bird” as the new year was now upon us and the old was reaching its final minutes.

As it is with any New Year’s celebration, there reaches a moment of reflection that perfectly saddles up next to an optimistic outlook of what’s next. It’s a hard to explain moment that’s filled with emotions as you let go of the hardships that the past year might have brought, embrace the good things that have given you the memories you now hold dear, and raise a smile of hope in everything coming together over the next 365 days to perfectly line up your next chapter.

Through all that life inevitably brings, the ups, the downs, and the in-between’s, music always reaches through the cluttered noise to grip our hearts and help carry us through, lauding a long-lasting impact that we collectively as a music family hold tightly to.

New Year’s Eve, in the many obvious ways was a pure celebration filled with so much joy, but as the city of Nashville prominently took its place in the national spotlight via CBS, they delivered the music that not only provided the unbridled definition of who we are as an amazing city but they also placed the trusted friends into everyone’s laps through the songs that will faithfully stand alongside us as we weave through 2024!



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