If you travel a bit past the neon lights of downtown — the postcard snapshot of Nashville — and cross the Cumberland River over War Veterans Memorial Bridge, you will find yourself in a very different place all together.
East Nashville is a place steeped in its historic culture but equally focused on its future. Its strict building codes keep the area true to its historic flair and make it the perfect place to explore, with or without a destination in mind.
For hundreds of people last Saturday, that destination was fEASTival, East Nashville’s new annual food, music and art festival. The event was meant to celebrate the neighborhood’s unique culture, which is exactly what I saw as I ambled down Five Point’s starfish-shaped intersection. Though the festival was moved from East Park to Five Points due to weather, this did not keep the exclusively local vendors from coming out. The streets were lined with Nashville’s famous food trucks like Grilled Cheeserie, I Dream of Weenie and Retro Sno, filling the air with the irresistible ambience.
Scattered among the food trucks were local artist vendors displaying their businesses and handcrafted products. A walk around Five Points revealed leather tanners and screen printers in action, as fashionistas, candle makers, and sellers of vintage instruments, ice-cream, custom jewelry and cards crowded the area.
There was no shortage of dogs at fEASTival as well. In fact, their wagging tails nearly outnumbered their owners, both excitedly crowding the booths of goods.
By the booths and patrons, a small stage was tucked away from the intersection that doubles as a venue for the day to local musical talent. Though not widely known, each artist acted as a representation of a locally grown and loved East Nashville. With a different show every hour, there was enough entertainment like the Lowry Sisters, the Lonely H, DancEast and Buffalo Clover to last the entire day.
If you missed this event, East Nashville isn’t going away any time soon. And since the neighborhood’s unique personalities are their lifeblood, there will be plenty more events to participate in. Check online for upcoming festivals and events, or just plan a weekend to explore the treasures for yourself of East Nashville.
– Alex T. Leach