Nashville's premier free festival has returned. With apologies to East Nashville's Tomato Arts Fest and the exciting Predators Playoff Pre-Game series, the crown jewel of civic community engagement is (and for the foreseeable future) Live On the Green, which returned on August 10th.
Naturally, Lightning 100 did a solid (and almost inexplicable) job of wrangling up top talent for the debut week - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Michael Franti and Spearhead, and Arkells - and emceeing, as per usual.
Were any of those artists slated to perform at another free festival, they would all be headliners without much in terms of a supporting act, outside of locals. But to get two (relatively) equal par artists - St. Paul and Franti - to go back to back in Nashville, on a Thursday night, that's something to marvel at. Add the fact that Arkells - who wouldn't have been an inconceivable opening week headliner five years ago - opened up the set, and you have yourself a nearly insurmountable bar being set.
Nevertheless, Lightning seems to have certainly surpassed the caliber set in 2016 with this year's lineup. In years past, it wouldn't be totally out of the question to consider such a feat Lightning "out kicking its coverage," but now it's apparent that they've got a hell of a pull when it comes to booking major indies. Proverbial (and slight) upward smoke blowing aside, what also stood out this year as opposed to year past was that 2017's iteration of Live on the Green seems all but certain to eclipse (topical!) the attendance marks from 2016.
Last year's numbers ranged from 16,000 to 20,000, while Thursday's crowd already appeared to top the upper level of that range. Eyeballing alone would suggest maybe 22,000 - 25,000. Hell, speaking of eclipses, the solar eclipse set to occur this upcoming weekend alone might help thrust Live on the Green's second week into doubling the first week's attendee mark. Considering the fact that the solar eclipse alone is purportedly set to bring an additional 1.4 million people to Music City.
Granted, the purported attendance for week one versus week two versus the solar eclipse are neither here nor there. All that really seems relevant is that St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Michael Franti and Spearhead, and Arkells set a decidedly high bar for performance during LOTG 2017 week one. So here's to seeing how Local Natives, Real Estate, and Minus the Bear stand to look next week.