"Slowly but surely, Nashville is becoming one of the food meccas of the South," says the Kings of Leon's frontman Caleb Followill. "And that's great, because for so long, we were going to chain restaurants because they were the only restaurant that had a fucking glass of pinot noir."
To celebrate the growth of the city's restaurant industry — and further foster its culinary reputation — the singer, along with brother Nathan Followill, is producing Music City Eats: Nashville Food, Wine & Spirits Festival on September 21st and 22nd.
With a new album and tour on the way, why did the Followill brothers want to organize a food festival? "We've really gotten into food and Nashville has a lot of great restaurants," Caleb says. "[But] for a while, there were a lot of restaurants that were trying to create this fusion food that I'm not really into. I think you're one kind of one food or you're another. There's no need to try to combine 15 styles of food. So I wanted to bring some chefs that we know and that we've become friends with to Nashville to bring their style to our city."
Featuring food from 25 of the region's most authentic chefs, the festival will also have demo stages and panels on four different stages – including a dessert class with renowned L.A. chef Nancy Silverton and a Southern cooking class with country star Trisha Yearwood.
The food tasting will happen during the day, but the party will roll on the night of the 21st with Petty Fest featuring Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Norah Jones, the Black Keys' Patrick Carney, Jakob Dylan and more covering Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tunes. "I don't think people want to hear us up there screaming and sweating [during the day] while they're trying to eat a lamb shank," Followill says. "But we might do a couple tunes at Petty Fest."
Tickets for the fest can be purchased here. The Kings of Leon release their new album Mechanical Bull on September 24th.