Three Things I Learned At the Nashville Flea Market by Katie Chow

Earlier this week I decided to hold a contest where the person who wrote the best Scene Report would win a Vampire Weekend 7″ for the song “Cousins”. I had a few entries and the winner is Katie Chow, a student at Belmont University. Congratulations Katie! If you want to submit a Scene Report just for the hell of it then email it to me at

The Nashville flea market is a huge indoor sprawl at the fairgrounds, held at the fourth weekend of every month.  With over 1300 vendors, you could easily spend an entire day here and still not clear the entire selection.  In the hour I had to educate myself about this particular Nashville establishment, there were three recurring observations.

#1:  Anything goes

Some booths specialize in just one type of merchandise, such as vintage furniture, murderous-looking dolls, or handmade scrunchies that only a grandma could love.  Other vendors scrounge up whatever they can find, whether that be books, old photographs, or spare parts for machinery that hasn’t been in production for decades.  No matter what’s being sold, the vendor is likely to either be a grey-haired, turtleneck-wearing man or a grey-haired woman in a pastel sweatshirt.

#2:  Jewelry is a form of self-expression

While browsing some of the jewelry-focused booths, I couldn’t help but notice the personal nature of some of the items for sale.  At one, I found a bracelet engraved with the name Lyle, presumably purchased to commemorate a boyfriend, only to be discarded later.  What happened?  “Sorry, Lyle, you have the name of a tobacco-chewing truck driver, we’re over.”  It’s too bad, Lyle apparently deserved to have his name surrounded by blue rhinestones.

More mysterious was a gold pendant engraved with a portrait of a young boy.  Did a mother want a picture of her child that wouldn’t get wrinkled in her wallet, only to disown him later in life?  Is this the less permanent equivalent of getting a tattoo of a dead loved one’s face?  Does the kid actually have Mick Jagger lip syndrome, or did his face just not translate well in metal?

#3:  The conversations are the best part

For no apparent reason, one vendor (red turtleneck) decided to tell me a story about a former frequent customer who went on to become a professional fashion designer in New York.  Apparently her signature style involved sewing fringe onto jeans.  I can only hope that this was a sign from the powers that be, telling me that I will someday get a real job.

While contemplating the creepiness of the aforementioned necklace, I overheard one grandmotherly type saying to another, “There are t-shirts that say, ‘I’ve found Prince Charming, and his name is Daddy.’  Isn’t that precious?”  Isn’t that a Freudian field day?

The point of going to the flea market is to buy things, but what you get for free is much more entertaining.


About Emily

Emily (Founder/Editor in Chief) : Emily is a graduate from Belmont University, where she majored in Music Business. She’s originally from rural Ohio, where there are many cows, a river, and one vineyard. Though she moved to Seattle in 2015, Emily maintains a love of both Nashville and free things, and is actively looking for contributors for If you're interested, reach out to her at