CMA Music Festival Draws Country Fans to Nashville

Fans have packed their bags and are flying, driving and walking if necessary to Nashville for the biggest four days and nights on their calendars – CMA Music Festival. Thousands who’ve made the trek before will once again seek opportunities to meet and collect autographs from their favorite performers, gain exposure to some of the most exciting up-and-comers of Country Music and thrill to four epic nighttime concerts at LP Field.

Photo Credit: Donn Jones

As always, the fun begins the day before, Wednesday, June 6, as the CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade winds from Broadway and 10th Avenue into Downtown Nashville. With Country Music Hall of Fame member Glen Campbell leading the way as Grand Marshal, the procession will include Country Music artists and celebrities in Chevrolet vehicles, the Keep the Music Playing All-Stars Marching Band featuring students from Metro Nashville high schools, Operation Troop Aid, the Travel Channel’s Destination Summer Tour Bus, the Nashville Rollergirls and much more. The parade ends at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, where Little Big Town opens an evening of high-voltage entertainment with its current single, “Pontoon.” 

Chevrolet’s involvement began earlier, on June 1, as its annual Ride ‘n’ Drive invited visitors to get behind the wheel of some of its most popular vehicles; each test drive earned a donation from the company to CMA’s Keep the Music Playing initiative for public school music education. The longtime Festival sponsor also comes onboard as a host for live music performances at the Chevrolet Roadhouse Stage at Fan Alley and as a provider of free transportation via its Catch a Chevy service for attendees. The CMA Fan Social presented by CMT returns after luring fans closer to a “secret” afternoon of music, games and celebrity spotting through online and emailed clues.

These and other partners and friends have become integral to the CMA Music Festival. But this year, a variety of changes, new activities and highlights guarantee to make this a year to remember.

Visitors will notice that the Festival grounds are divided into new “neighborhoods.” Signs point the way toward live music, games, a misting tent, cell phone chargers, a volleyball court, a green-screen photo stage and more at BIC® Soleil Bella® Beach, in the Walk of Fame Park. Product samples, contests, a performance stage and more will fill four blocks of Lower Broadway, aka The Buckle. Then there’s Fan Alley, next to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, where the fun includes the Chevrolet Ride ’n’ Drive and the always-popular Ultimate Air Dogs.

One beloved perennial is the AT&T U-verse® with Cisco® Technology Fan Fair Hall, home base for autograph collectors and photo opportunists. The stars will be there as usual this year, but there are also some significant and positive changes. Concerns over fairness, safety and a better overall experience prompted CMA to introduce a new system for CMA Music Festival visitors to secure autographs in Fan Fair Hall. Fans could register online at in prior to the Festival for a drawing to meet their favorite artists. A random drawing allocated tickets in advance, with results confirmed and instructions for picking up those tickets emailed to participants on June 1. Now, rather than spend the night on the pavement outside the Nashville Convention Center and then race hundreds of others to line up for tickets when the venue opens, fans can enjoy all the great areas and activities during the Festival.

Photo Credit: John Russell

Visitors will also see that the Durango Acoustic Corner has moved into Fan Fair Hall, where larger gatherings can sit comfortably as artists offer intimate acoustic performances, all of it broadcast and streamed live by Nashville’s 650 WSM-AM. A new Fan Fair Hall Red Carpet allows fans to witness and photograph artists and celebrities as they arrive at the Hall. Another first-time addition, Saturday afternoon’s Wrangler Fashion Show, hosted by GAC’s Suzanne Alexander, will showcase a variety of outfits including an item embellished by the renowned designer Manuel, to be auctioned with the winning bids donated to Keep the Music Playing. A Budweiser exhibit will document the company’s support of the families of fallen soldiers through the Folds of Honor Foundation.

Of course, live music is the heartbeat of CMA Music Festival. Catch the action from more than 40 performers on the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage. The Budweiser Clydesdales will be near the Bud Light Stage at Bridgestone Arena Plaza, adding visual enhancement to the concert atmosphere. Plenty of sizzling music will pump from the Hard Rock Acoustic Stage. Then, at 4:30 each afternoon, the adventure crosses the Cumberland to the BMI Tailgate Party on the South Lawn of LP Field, where more live acts help segue to the high point of each CMA Music Festival — the all-star shows at LP Field, featuring Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown Band and other superstars.

There’s more — lots more: the eagerly anticipated and the unexpected, the personal and the spectacular. But that’s what CMA Music Festival has always provided. This year is no different — except even more so than ever before.

By Bob Doerschuk

About Kimberly Michele Durham


Posted on June 6, 2012, in Country Music Association, K*Chele Magazine, Music and Entertainment and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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