Nashville Party Vehicle Madness “Has Gotten Out of Hand”

It gets crazy on Friday and Saturday nights on Broadway in Nashville. That’s when the parties explode, with many happening on traveling party vehicles. The clubs in the heart of Nashville are packed, so the party trucks let partiers party in the streets. No sense in ruining a good Friday night. 

What is a party vehicle or party bus?

Nashville Broadway Party Vehicles | Getty
A general view of the Broadway area party bus | Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

What are party vehicles? They’re open trailers with flashing lights, gyrating, screaming partiers, and drinks galore; chugging along at five miles per hour. A truck, tractor, or otherwise motorized tug pulls the party up and down Broadway. Sometimes it is a school bus with its top sliced off. Whatever configuration, they’re loud and fun for the travelers; a place to see the scene and also to be seen. But now it has gotten out of hand.

“It’s the plot of every monster movie,” Steve Haruch told the New York Times. He’s a local journalist and author of “Greeting From New Nashville.” The traveling parties have transformed into mayhem with hot tubs, electric massage chairs, drag performers, and pointy-horned busses and trucks. 

The party vehicle is turning Nashville into “NashVegas”

Nashville Broadway Party Vehicles | Getty
People enjoy riding on Nashville Tractor up Broadway in downtown Nashville | William DeShazer for The Washington Post via Getty Images

These newcomers are hacking into what some consider the soul of Nashville. They’re afraid that what attracts people to Nashville is getting stomped out by the rowdiness, noise, and general overcrowding of these giant, slow-moving parties. It is turning Nashville into “NashVegas.” 

Right now it is a free-for-all. You just need an old bus, booze, and a sound system. Show up on Broadway Friday night and you’re in business, literally. There are no requirements, restrictions, or regulations to get into the party vehicle business. The bus or trailer just needs to be licensed, and so does the driver. 

Party vehicles are also known as “transportainment”

Nashville Broadway Party Vehicles
A general street scene on Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee | Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Locals say around 40 companies are capitalizing on what is called “transportainment.” And while it’s all in fun, there has been a tragedy. Earlier this summer someone fell off of a party vehicle and then it ran over his legs. Soon after the Nashville Metropolitan Council was weighing a bill to tamp down the rowdiness. 

The proposal would ban alcohol while requiring training, permits, and inspections. And there would be limited areas they could party in. Some could see the writing on the wall and have instituted restrictions themselves. 

A company called Hell on Wheels has instituted rules its drivers must follow. Music with explicit lyrics is not allowed. Nor are inflatable penises-no we’re not kidding. They’re a thing for bachelorette parties. Also, rides must be finished by 10:30 PM.  

First stop: liquor store

Nashville Broadway Party Vehicles | Getty
Nashville Broadway Pedal Party Vehicle | Getty

But the whole party bus system is based on extreme partying. Most catch the party vehicle behind liquor stores, a convenient place to buy your beverage of choice. Once onboard, the drivers usually have some dos and don’ts before hitting Broadway. 

One of them is that if you puke on the ride, you’ll pay for the cleanup. Restroom breaks are part of the agenda. A quick stop for a group photo off of Broadway is as well. Then it’s back onto Broadway for another pass along the club and neon light strip. Just remember not to puke.

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