LP Field (map it)
1 Titans Way
Nashville, TN 37213
Year Opened: 1999
There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Martin Rickman, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Music City Bowl has been around since 1998, existing under a number of different sponsors, the most recent being Franklin American Mortgage. Set in Nashville, Tennessee, the bowl game gives fans a taste of the heart of country music, with plenty of events and things to do in a city that is already a great destination.
The 2011 matchup saw Wake Forest (ACC) square off against Mississippi State (SEC) in a 23-17 win for the Bulldogs.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There were plentiful options for food all over the stadium. Options were varied and the fans I talked to seemed to enjoy what they ate. I would have liked to see more in the realm of beer choices from the walk-through I made of the stadium, but all-in-all, you got NFL-quality food and drinks for a bowl game, which is always nice.
LP Field was a great location for a bowl game. It is right on the Cumberland River across from downtown. The stadium is still new, and there was a great turnout, as many Mississippi State fans made the trip, cowbells in hand, while Wake brought a good number as well. The 5:40 start time was perfect, the place was loud, and the game itself was closely played and a lot of fun to watch.
A manageable walking distance away is downtown Nashville. There's a little something for everyone, with bars galore, restaurants, shops, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, coffee shops, Bridgestone Arena, Hatch Show Print, and the building site of the new Music City Center set to open in 2013. The whole area is hopping, with live music in just about every bar, and prices that were very manageable for a bigger city.
Down the street a bit in Rutledge Hill was Crema, a "coffee brewtique" that had knowledgeable baristas and many varied brewing options. The indie scene feels a bit out of place amongst the cowboy hats and boots, but you'd be hard pressed to find a better cup of coffee in Nashville.
If you're looking for southern comfort food, Arnold's is a good bet. It's a bit of a hike on foot from the main drag, but the meat and three is spectacular and under $10. The proteins vary from day to day, but they have carved roast beef every day, and take a lot of pride in their sides. The line will be out the door at lunch, though, so go early or later unless you don't mind waiting.
The Stage is a bar that gives you that "Nashville experience" without feeling too hokey and fake. There is always a band playing, plenty of seating if you don't want to stand, and a long bar with attentive bartenders.
With a bowl game, you are tied to the fanbases of the two teams that are in it, and this year, the Music City Bowl really lucked out. The Wake Forest fans that travel are passionate, polite and inviting. They were all happy to be playing a meaningful game after the regular season, and doubly happy it was in Nashville.
The Mississippi State fans I talked to were all very nice. They were all willing to stop to chat, and were decked out in maroon from Thursday until Sunday. The Dawgs were loud and fervorous.
Unfortunately, the cowbells, which were unique and cool to start, got pretty annoying by the end of the weekend. The MSU fans didn't go anywhere without them. It's a great tradition, but the only thing keeping this bowl game from getting that fifth star was the migraine I had to fight from Saturday afternoon into the airport on Sunday morning.
This is where things get a bit tricky for the game. You can get to the field from a number of bridges, including a pedestrian-only bridge, but the lots/parking decks were sporadically placed throughout downtown, and unless you bought a parking pass in-advance for the lots near the field that are usually reserved for season ticket holders, you were in for a trek. The lot I was in was not especially conducive to tailgating, and the parking attendant was not very forgiving.
Getting out was easy though, as Interstate 40 and other major highways are not far away.
The bowl ticket was priced well. It was $40-$60 depending on where you sat, and there were plenty of cheaper tickets on the secondary market. Nashville hotels were inexpensive depending on where you stayed, and if you were near the airport, you could find a room for under $80 a night. Parking was easy, food and drink prices were fair, and the trip itself was a great one for cost vs. value.
LP Field's press box deserves a point, as it was one of the nicest NFL ones I have visited. You can definitely tell that the stadium was ahead of its time when it was built in 1999. The fans earn themselves a point for being fun, gracious, and largely getting along all weekend. Nashville as a bowl destination gets another point, and the Frist Center building earns the area one more point for being an absolutely breathtaking building and stunning place to enjoy some art.
The Music City Bowl has the right mixture of family-friendly activities, competitive teams, tourist attractions and terrific facilities to showcase the kind of city Nashville is. In a month when a lot of focus goes to the BCS, the Music City Bowl is exactly the kind of event that highlights what bowls are supposed to be.
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605 8th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203
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