More than 100 music acts will perform for free at 25 Downtown Highwood bars and restaurants for Nashwood, a music and food festival dedicated to the sounds and food of Nashville.
The event, which runs Sept. 2-4 over Labor Day weekend, was created by Celebrate Highwood, a nonprofit volunteer organization that was established in 2016 to raise funds for local and national charities by creating events that bring the community together.
Nashwood runs from 5 p.m. to bar closing Friday, noon to bar closing Saturday, and Sunday at select locations. Detailed schedule will be posted at celebratehighwood.org/nashwood/.
Highwood Alderman Eric Falberg, who serves on the board of Celebrate Highwood, was one of the founders of Nashwood.
“A bunch of us always went down to Nashville the last 10, 15 years every year,” Falberg said. “We felt that Highwood kind of had a similar feeling to it. The restaurants and bars are very close together and we’re a tight-knit community like Nashville is and we love our music here. We felt it was a good thing to recreate a little bit of Nashville in Highwood.”
Falberg, whose duties include locating performers for the event, noted that a highlight of this year’s event is that a majority of the musicians who are playing are from Nashville.
He added that another highlight this year is that “We’re working on a late-night jam session over at Teddy O’Brian’s at 11:30 where a lot of musicians go and jam together Nashville style.”
M. Brad Slavin, who is also a Highwood Alderman, is the president of the Celebrate Highwood Board. He credits Falberg with starting Celebrate Highwood as well as Nashwood.
“Everybody loves music and music is the common denominator,” Slavin said. “Music allows people to get together and enjoy themselves regardless of who and what they are, and what beliefs they may have. We love promoting music because of the capacity of music to bring people together.”
Nashwood particularly serves that purpose, Slavin explained, because of the growth in popularity of country music.
This particular event has the added benefit of being able to “bring the business community into the fold,” Slavin said. “The idea is to go from venue to venue listening to music as you would if you were in downtown Nashville.”
Food is another important element at the festival with restaurants encouraged to offer Southern-inspired food and drink specials.
Ashley Wineland, whose original songs have created a huge following for her, will be bringing her Ashley Wineland Band to 28 Mile Distilling Company on Sept. 3. She described her musical style as “a fusion of old school ’90s country with some modern flair. I really like to stage the heart and soul of what makes country music the genre that it is.”
Wineland tours about six months every year and loves “being able to meet people, especially if they’ve been following me online forever,” she said. “If I can meet them in person and entertain them that’s the quintessential moment of what I do.”
For Nashwood, Wineland will be accompanied by three musicians on guitar, bass, and drums. She said that she will be showcasing songs from her third album, “I’m Gonna Ride,” which she released before her current national tour.
“I also might throw in some new songs that I’ve been workshopping for my next project,” Wineland said. “We also like to do some of our favorite country songs and do really cool covers. On occasion we do a little genre-jump to something like classic rock. We do a little bit of flavor for all sorts of different music tastes.”
To keep the younger visitors engaged, there will be a family-friendly music and activity area at the Pralines & Cream Stage from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.
When: Sept. 2-4
Where: Throughout Downtown Highwood
Tickets: Free admission
Myrna Petlicki is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.
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