The 14th annual Music City Bowl, sponsored by Franklin American Mortgage Company, will take place Friday night at LP Field in Nashville but the festivities kicked off Thursday night with a free outdoor concert and annual Battle of the Bands event.
The free concert, featuring the band Love and Theft began at 5 p.m. on the corner of First Avenue and Broadway downtown.
The Battle of the Bands event, featuring the marching bands from Mississippi State and Wake Forest University, followed on Second Avenue.
Tourists in town for the Music City Bowl are expected to bring in an estimated $15 million for the city.
Nashville officials expect most fans to stick around for the city's New Year's Eve celebration on Lower Broadway Saturday night.
To accommodate crowds downtown Thursday through the weekend, First Avenue from Church to Demonbreun streets, Second Avenue from Commerce to Demonbreun streets, and Broadway from First to Third avenues are closed off to traffic.
Tickets for the game are still available, however most hotels in the area are booked.
Fans planning on attending Friday night's game between Mississippi State (6-6) and Wake Forest (6-6) are encouraged to arrive early.
Parking at LP Field is sold out and fans without parking passes will be diverted to the downtown area to find available parking.
LP Field parking lots will be open to those with parking passes at 12 p.m. Noon Friday.
Fans without parking passes are strongly urged to avoid traffic jams and delays by parking in the downtown area and taking a short walk to LP Field via the Woodland Street Bridge or the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge.
In addition, Gray Line will operate public shuttle buses beginning at 4 p.m. and continuing until kickoff from Greer Stadium and the Renaissance Hotel downtown. The cost is $10.
To accommodate game day traffic, the Woodland Street Bridge will close to regular traffic at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
It will then be open only to shuttle buses and pedestrians through the conclusion of the game.
Gates at LP Field will open at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
Kickoff is scheduled for 5:40 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN.
Fans can visit ParkItDowntown.com for parking options in downtown Nashville.
- Dec. 27, 2011: Mississippi State expects fans to pack Music City
- Dec. 26, 2011: Nashville businesses prepare for Music City Bowl fans
- Dec. 5, 2011: Music City Bowl to draw in thousands to Nashville
- Dec. 4, 2011: Music City Bowl picks Mississippi St., Wake Forest