Wartrace Music Fest

2020 Music Fest

The wonderful tradition of great music, wonderful food, fun activities, and great friends continues in 2020, with some changes being made because of the times that are' a changing! Due to the Coronavirus and Covid-19 public health restrictions, our amazing Music Fest Committee has restructured the annual event into a summer concert series. The concerts will be held in downtown Wartrace. 

As in the old days, bring your lawn chairs and look forward to amazing food and other activities. Unlike previous events, however, there will be no charge to attend the first concert, but you will be asked to pay $10 for parking. Come on out and make some happy, foot-dancing memories in Wartrace!


SEPTEMBER 19, 2020

6:00 - 10:00 pm

Hollin Kings
Fred Reilly


From the Mayor

It is a pleasure to welcome you to the 2020 Wartrace Music Fest. Managed again by the amazing volunteers of the Wartrace Chamber of Commerce, their creativity and positive spirit is keeping the tradition of music alive and well in Wartrace!


While you're in Wartrace, stop by some of our charming stores, including: Kolor Kreations, Main Street Station, the Wartrace Produce Market, the Shoppes at 31 Main, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Museum, the Sparrow's Nest, the Iron Horse Pizza Restaurant, and the Wartrace Country Store. Our retailers have amazing selections of gifts, baked items, candies, and food so be sure to say hello to them, along with other food vendors.


I sincerely hope you enjoy your time in Wartrace and that you feel very welcome when visiting the 2020 Wartrace Music Fest.


Cindy Drake

Mayor of Wartrace

MusicFest History

The first music festival in Wartrace was the brainchild of a local guitar maker Don Gallagher after he and his dad, J.W., attended the 1968 Union grove Fiddlers Convention in North Carolina. Mr. Gallagher, along with two of his friends, Wendel Hartman and Jimmy Atkins, pooled their money to incorporate and produce the Wartrace Pickin' and Fiddlers Convention to be held on August 17 and 18, 1979. J.W. passed away in June of that year so the festival was dedicated to him. 

Good weather, combined with the attendance of fans of the many acoustic musicians who performed lifted attendance to approximately 2,000 at the Wartrace Horse Show grounds that first year. Mr. Gallagher rigged lights along the north side of the field and built a pavilion for the 40 craft vendors who came. The first stage was on a flat-bed truck trailer in the middle of the field.  Musicians participated in a Friday night jam session and an all day competition with ten different categories on Saturday.

With so many national guitar picking champions in attendance, Mr. Gallagher thought the event should be proclaimed the official Tennessee State Championship.  He contacted former State Representative Pete Philips who presented a resolution on the floor of the State Legislature.  It was approved. Philips came to the next year's festival to officially make the proclamation.

As it always is, weather was a concern for Mr. Gallagher and the producers of the early festivals.  "One year there were thunderstorms all around us," he said. "You could stand in the middle of the field and see lightning in every direction you looked, but not a drop fell on the festival."  He further relates that the final  year was a total washout. "Fortunately, because of the program ads and sponsorships, we showed a small profit of $300, which we donated to the Child Development Center."

Mr. Gallagher remained involved in the festival's revival under the Wartrace MusicFest banner in the early 2000's serving as chairman of the MusicFest Committee, as well as Wartrace's mayor.  Now retired from Gallagher Guitars, he attends MusicFest as a fan and affirms, "The event remains dear to my heart."

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