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Get involved: Nashville is studying its independent music venue scene

In the short term, Nashvillians can attend an event to learn more about the project + apply to be involved in small-group discussions and interviews this spring and summer.

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The Bluebird Cafe opened in 1982 in the heart of Green Hills. | Photo by NASHtoday

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Nashville wouldn’t be Music City without the Bluebird Cafe, 3rd & Lindsley, The Basement... you get the picture. That’s why a city-led study is underway to identify steps to protect locally-owned and operated music venues.

So, how did we get here? The Nashville Independent Venues Study arose from a resolution adopted by Metro Council in 2021 to identify policies that would support the future of Nashville’s independent music venues. In 2022, the council approved $260,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to carry out the study.

How to participate

Now, who should get involved with the survey? Anyone in Nashville’s music and cultural scenes, from venue operators, promotors, and musicians to those in city government and urban planning. If you’re interested or know someone who is, take note of these two opportunities:

  • Join Metro Planning and the Nashville Independent Venues Study team at the Nashville Public Library’s Main Branch for an Open House on Tuesday, May 23 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event will feature interactive activities, including discussions related to venue operations and more.
  • A series of small-group discussions and interviews will be conducted in May and June — to receive project updates or share your interest, fill out this form.

The timeline

Although there’s still time to get involved, the study is well underway. Earlier this year, the project team conducted site visits and held listening sessions with independent music venue owners and other stakeholders.

Following interviews and research this summer on Nashville’s venues, land use policies, economic geography, music history, and culture, the team anticipates sharing ideas for action in early 2024.