“Someone once told me, “Time is a flat circle.” Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.” Now that we’ve opened this recap with the thoroughly cliche “famous quote from pop culture iconoclast” (Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle) approach, let us take some time to appreciate, pontificate, and ruminate over what relevance a True Detective quote might have with regard to Live On the Green.
Similar to True Detective, Live On the Green ostensibly came out of nowhere in its first iteration - a music festival at the end of the summer!? And in a series format happening every week!? How brazen! Much like the rest of Hollywood when McConaughey, the longtime rom-com lead, was announced as a lead in an HBO gritcore swamp drama, Live On the Green was seen as a dubious gamble. But much like True Detective serving as the catalyst for what would later become the McConaissance, Live On the Green was at the forefront (ca. 2009) of Nashville’s ensuing explosion into zeitgeist aptness.
But continuing the True Detective/Live On the Green comparison, neither was without its pitfalls. True Detective got ahead of itself in creating a four-part A1, A2, A3, A4 plotline that marginally improved the careers of actors who needed a boost for nothing more than vanity (and unfortunately, the Vince Vaughnaissance never reached its fullest potential). Not all that disimilarly, Live On the Green became popular, but became stretched thin in its original six week, September to October format.
Luckily, a course correct came for Nashville’s favorite free concert series, as Live On the Green would move from September/October to August/September in 2014, and subsequently condense its final three weeks into a weekend’s worth of shows. Unfortunately, the same cannot necessarily be said for True Detective, at least not at this exact moment - season three does seem promising (Mahershala Ali in Arkansas!), but we’ll have to wait for 2019 to be certain.
And so, with that, we have a wonderfully wordy and inexplicable lede to bring us to the simple observation that Live On the Green has returned to the courthouse lawn, once more, this time settling old scores stretching all the way back to last year. If you can remember all the way back to Live On the Green 2017, then you’ll recall that the headlining acts - Dispatch, Iron & Wine, John Butler Trio - from the August 31st bill were cancelled due to rain. Subsequently, all of September 1st was cancelled and rescheduled for the 3rd of the month.
While the “mass” cancellations of 2017 were a bummer, to reference the opposite of the failed 2013 Robert Redford Oscar vehicle, all was not lost, at least for Dispatch fans. The Boston jam band took to the caverns of the Justice Building’s parking garage, with an ad hoc “jam” performed in front of a handful of Dispatch faithful. And thus, lemon was turned to lemonade, with a healthy splash of rainwater.
With the folklore of Dispatch’s in tow, Live On the Green 2018 managed to pay homage to its own legacy as the first week was closed by the parking garage troubadours, this time on the Main Stage. It was a satisfactory performance (coming from someone who doesn’t necessarily “vibe” with jam bands) and an excellent closing address to the commencement of Live On the Green, as it continues to shape its cornerstone form in Nashville’s live music and events realm. Let’s hope we’ll be able to say the same for True Detective season 3.