Enjoy Noteworthy Nights at Music Venues in Maury County
Just south of Music City, you'll find a fast-growing county full of live music and events.
Just south of Nashville, known around the world as Music City, is another growing music scene all its own. There’s no shortage of live music venues in Maury County, found in spots like Fozzy’s Bar & Grill in Spring Hill and Embers Tavern & Grille in Columbia, or like Homestead Hall, a “farm2concert” venue on Hardison Mill Farm owned and operated by country music legend Rory Feek.
Built on Faith
Music fans are also flocking to a new sacred ground for entertainment. In 2021, The Mulehouse opened its doors in an artfully restored historic church that sat empty for nearly 20 years. In 2022, this new shining star of downtown Columbia was added to the prominent list of Tennessee Music Pathways venues like Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry.
While The Mulehouse is a versatile event and entertainment space, its primary purpose is to create memories through music – “the soundtrack of people’s lives,” – says its visionary founder and renowned radio personality, Blair Garner.
“We’re bringing something to the residents of our community that they would otherwise not be able to enjoy so close to home,” Garner says. “We hold for ourselves the goal of being a music venue that will well outlive our own time and continue to serve the community for many, many decades to come.”
The Mulehouse is well on its way to become an iconic music destination, with legends like Amy Grant, Tracy Lawrence and Lee Greenwood taking the stage, along with exciting performances from hitmakers like Columbia’s own Natalie Stovall with the female country trio Runaway June.
Artists can also film and create content there like the Pistol Annies, who made their “Tonight Show” debut from The Mulehouse stage. “Our long-term goal is to become a music venue that artists don’t get to play, but one that they feel they have to play,” Garner says.
The music venues in Maury County also host legends in the making like Columbia’s own blue-collar hero, Shane Profitt. With popular tracks like “How It’ Oughta Be,” and “Country Boys,” Profitt humbly credits his rising star to his family and his hometown’s support. “I’m a firm believer that everything starts at home, and my home is Maury County,” Profitt says.
Before he shot to stardom on the bigger stages of Nashville and the tour circuit with country artist Chris Janson, Profitt’s gigs were closer to home. His first performance was at his high school prom followed by appearances at local venues like Puckett’s Restaurant or the annual Mule Day festival. He’s now writing his own music and making a name for himself and the community he calls home.
“The thing about Columbia and Maury County, it’s still relatively a small town but with endless opportunities,” Profitt says. “Most places are still family owned, but that’s what I love about it. The opportunities are here, you just have to work for them.”
Fun on the Farm
Grammy Award-winning country music singer/songwriter Rory Feek lives on a 100-acre farm in Columbia called The Homestead at Hardison Mill, which hosts the annual Homestead Festival every summer. (Dates for the 2023 festival are June 2-3.)
“The festival features expert speakers teaching about homesteading so that people can be a little more self-sustaining, which seems to be getting more important and popular these days,” Feek says. “Guests hear about how to grow your own garden, how to raise baby chicks, homeschooling your children, canning vegetables and much more.”
The 2022 two-day Homestead Festival attracted about 4,000 people each day, and Feek expects the attendance in 2023 to be around 6,000-7,000 daily. “The festival’s tagline is, ‘Where you not only can learn how to grow your own food, but how to grow a life filled with meaning and purpose,’” he says.
Each night also features live concerts. Actor Kevin Costner and his band headlined the 2022 event. Music is a big part of the festival, and Feek knows a lot about music. He wrote the 1999 hit song “Someone You Used to Know” for country star Collin Raye. Royalties from that single allowed Feek to buy his Maury County property.
In addition, he has written songs for Blake Shelton, Reba McEntire, Waylon Jennings, Tracy Byrd, Kenny Chesney, Lorrie Morgan and Clay Walker. Feek himself is also a guitarist and vocalist who performs several times a year at various music events throughout the country.
He adds that the music industry continues to grow in Maury County, including the recent opening of The Mulehouse venue in downtown Columbia.
“My Hardison Mill farm was inhabited in the late 1800s by sisters Molly and Viva Hardison, and a friend of mine once gave me sheet music from a song called ‘Viva and Me’ that Molly wrote in 1890,” Feek says. “It’s one of my favorite possessions and hangs over my fireplace mantel. It just shows how far back good music was produced in Maury County.”
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