It may still be deep winter, but for two days in Nashville next week, clothing will be minimal. On February 11th and 12th, Sports Illustrated will host a celebration of its 2015 Swimsuit Issue with models and music. Kings of Leon anchor the event with a concert at Music City's Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The Tennessee rock band's performance will be streamed live at SI.com on February 11th at 7 p.m./ET.
The centerpiece of the festival is the erection of "Swimville," a temporary village on Nashville's Lower Broadway, which will host free concerts by both country and rock artists. Chris Young, Will Hoge, Nikki Lane and Rayland Baxter are among the country-Americana acts slated to perform, while Moon Taxi and the Weeks represent Nashville's indie rock scene.
"I always read the SI Swimsuit Issue as a teen — I loved the articles," Hoge tells Rolling Stone Country with a wink. "I'm excited about paying tribute to those articles that meant so much to me growing up." The Nashville native will release his new album in the spring.
Young echoes Hoge's sentiments. "I'm a sports fan. I'm a Sports Illustrated fan. I'm a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue fan too," he says. "Let's just say it is going to be a blast playing Nashville next week."
In addition, two acts on Rolling Stone Country's latest Artists You Need to Know list are also set for the Swimville stage: Chris Stapleton and A Thousand Horses. The latter is no stranger to exposed flesh — the band's new video for the single "Smoke" features a stripper.
For Kings of Leon, the live-stream concert at Nashville's symphony hall is just their latest festival footprint on the city. In September, they hosted and performed at the second annual Music City Food and Wine Festival, a celebration of Nashville's culinary scene.