CMA Music Festival Draws Country Fans to Nashville
By Bob Doerschuk
© 2012 CMA Close Up® News Service
/ Country Music Association®, Inc.
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.
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.”
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.
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 CMAfest.com 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.
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.