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Nashville Cocktail Festival: Sip and Savor Unique Libations at this Music City Annual

With more than 180 live music venues, community events for all interests, and cuisine from around the world, Nashville should be on everyone's travel bucket list. If you're a fan of American music history, this is the city for you. Visitors can see the city’s rich music history firsthand at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Bluebird Cafe, and Grand Ole Opry. Those looking to hear new and established musicians playing music from a variety of genres should head to the Honky Tonk Highway. Here travelers will find a spectrum of live music establishments that are as vibrant as the neon signs that adorn their exteriors.


The Nashville Cocktail Festival has been one of the leading showcases of libations in Nashville since its inception five years ago, and it will take place April 25-29 at Pavilion East and other locations around the city. This year’s edition will feature three main events at Pavilion East: Art Deco Party, Polynesian Pop, and Brain Freeze. The Art Deco Party is a celebration of the history of the cocktail, and attendees will have the chance to sample unique cocktails made famous during the Prohibition Era. Polynesian Pop is a Tiki-inspired event where patrons can taste rum-based cocktails and island flavors while learning about Tiki culture. Brain Freeze is the ultimate nod to frozen cocktails. Attendees can sample frozen libations made by a group of chef-minded bartenders. People can also purchase tickets to additional events at locations around the city including the Little Book Whiskey Dinner (April 25 @ West End Kitchen and Bar) and Herradura Tequila Dinner (April 26 @ Chauhan Ale and Masala House). Purchase of a VIP ticket includes access to the major events at Pavillion East, entry to the NCF Afterparty, and a unique NCF gift bag.  We interviewed Event Organizer, Jon Yeager, to learn more about this unique showcase of Tennessee libations.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

JY: This is our 5th year.


RAL: How many annual attendees do you draw?

JY: We expect between 2,000-2,500 attendees.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?

JY: Being an alcohol-centered event, it’s a mix of young and middle-aged adults. The event is ideal for anyone who’s cocktail curious!


RAL: What makes this event unique?

JY: This is the only event in Tennessee focusing solely on the craft of the cocktail. Though cocktails are available at other events, Nashville Cocktail Festival supports the alcoholic beverage industry through educational seminars, guest speakers, industry and VIP socials, and more.


RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?

JY: We have multiple, varied events. The three main events (April 27-29 @ Pavilion East) are open floor tasting events. Ticket holders peruse cocktail tasting stations that are hosted by both liquor brands and local restaurants. Within the main events, we have a guest speaker stage, highlighting award-winning authors and regional mixology experts. We are also introducing the Build Your Own Cocktail Bar this year, where guests choose the alcohol and mixers they want and get to shake things up themselves!


RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?

JY: Our nonprofit this year is LivEmpowered, which has been working with young people for years, dealing with self-worth issues. Through their inner-city school work as well as their festival and Native American reservation appearances, their goal is to instill value and empowerment into young people.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

JY: Nashville has one of the leading food and beverage scenes in the United States. This festival celebrates that, giving guests ideas and plenty of educational opportunities.


For more information about the Nashville Cocktail Festival, please visit the event website.