Music City Mayhem

Lightning 100’s Music City Mayhem is Nashville’s premiere new music discovery competition, exposing listeners to emerging talent while allowing Nashville’s Independent Radio to identify and support local stars in the making! Thirty-two local artists are chosen (from over 300 submissions!) to battle it out on-air and online as they vie for the title of Music City Mayhem champions! It’s up to you, the fans, to determine who wins the grand prize.





“Nashville, I want you to know who I am. You might think I’m just a punk who plays shows and posts on Instagram, but that will no longer suffice! So now I reveal the disguise. I was just a kid who lived here, who listened to The Avett Brothers, Of Montreal. I frequented Grimey’s and Cafe Coco. I moshed as hard as I could at every Live on the Green I could attend. I fell in love with this scene and every kind of artist I could witness. It’s the reason I became a person who calls themself a musician, and that’s before I started playing shows. I started playing shows! At any kind of back yard or basement or block party I could get my feet onto play until Taylor Cole in the East Room let me in. I saw with awe, the scale of the undercurrent in this town and I watched it throb. Albeit imperial, the music scene in Nashville is essential, enlightened, eternal, experimental, and ethereal! It belongs to us all, and its absence has united us too. I commit myself to bring great shows back to our city and I hope every single one of you does too. Because in victory, we will work to keep the energy alive in Nashville. And in defeat, we will continue to fight. If you believe in our capacity to reconnect & rejoice in each other in this division of our voices & bodies instead of our views, let me represent you.” – Nordista Freeze


NEW FOR 2021! Each time you vote, you’ll be entered to win our “Grand Fan Prize,” courtesy of River Queen Voyages, Nashville’s River Fun Authority since 2015. One lucky winner will get to take their friends to the river with their new Pedal Pontoon Party Cruise! See breathtaking views of downtown and enjoy libations as you pedal your way around the famous Nashville skyline. This two hour cruise has everything you need to have a good time, along with a captain and first mate to lead you on this unique outdoor adventure. *Winner must be available either May 15th or May 16th to redeem their prize.


Stay tuned to 100.1 FM or to hear these songs air daily at 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, and 11pm. Then do your civic duty by voting for your favorite local tunes!

Music City Mayhem is brought to you by Lightning 100 and Volume.

Backline for the Music City Mayhem livestream finale is provided by Orange Amplification and Pioneer Stagecoach. Special thanks to Orange Amplification for providing guitar and bass amps, and to Pioneer Coach for providing a tour bus to be used as a green room for our bands!


*bold* indicates winner

Round 1

  • 4/05: Phillip-Michael Scales VS Lucy Cloud
    Steve Stout VS Jive Talk
  • 4/06: H.A.R.D. VS Nite Tides
    The Dreaded Laramie VS Lemondrop
  • 4/07: Hadley Kennary VS Mutual Groove
    The It City VS Mike Maimone
  • 4/08: The Sewing Club VS Lombardy
    Calah Mikhal VS Jackson Wooten
  • 4/09: Jon Worthy VS Moody Joody
    Nordista Freeze VS The Thing With Feathers
  • 4/12: Palm Ghosts VS The American Indie
    Gabrielle Grace VS Throw Pillows
  • 4/13: Connor Leimer VS Jon Salaway
    Emily Hackett
    VS Tiger Run
  • 4/14: The Katawicks VS The Tummies
    VS Dakota Ryley

Round 2

  • 4/15: Phillip-Michael Scales VS Jive Talk
    Nite Tides VS The Dreaded Laramie
  • 4/16: Mutual Groove VS Mike Maimone
    Lombardy VS Jackson Wooten
  • 4/19: Jon Worthy VS Nordista Freeze
    Palm Ghosts VS Gabrielle Grace
  • 4/20: Connor Leimer VS Emily Hackett
    The Katawicks VS Mariela


  • 4/21: Phillip-Michael Scales VS Nite Tides
    Mutual Groove VS Lombardy
  • 4/22: Nordista Freeze VS Gabrielle Grace
    Emily Hackett VS Mariela

2020 RECAP


Jon Ryan Berry
Fulton Lee
Drumming Bird
Molly Martin
James Ethan Clark & The Renegades
Taylor Noelle


The winning band will receive the coveted Music City Mayhem trophy and join the ranks of some of Nashville’s best emerging and established acts. The winning band will also receive an extensive artist development and promotion package that includes the following perks:

The Runner-Up will receive:

The Final 8 bands will receive:


“Music City Mayhem has been a true blessing to everyone here at Lightning 100 and the Nashville music community. Just look at our inaugural winner from 2009, Moon Taxi. We just saw them headline Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium and sell over 5,000 tickets. We have discovered so many great Nashville bands from the contest over the years. Every time we ask for submissions, we find someone new to love. Over the years the prize has gotten bigger and more valuable and it’s attracted more and more talented acts. Winning and playing Live on the Green is a big deal. Past winners have realized they were not even ready for all that came from being champions.” – Dan Buckley, Program Director

“Music City Mayhem was an experience that fit its name! It put us on the map overnight. Prior to the competition, it could be tough booking shows and gaining traction in town, but Mayhem helped legitimize what we were doing. Opportunities present themselves constantly now. There is a standard that has to be met in order to win MCM, and we are very thankful to be a part of the list of champions.” – Jackson Bruck, Music City Mayhem winner of 2018

Click here for the official Rules.