Sign up for newsletter
 

CMA Music Festival sets record

Monday, June 11, 2012 – CMA Music Festival set a new attendance record in 2012 with daily attendance topping 71,000 fans, a 9.2 percent increase over the 65,000 in attendance in 2011 and a sell out for the third consecutive year at LP Field.

The festival was held in Nashville from Thursday through last night.

The increase was attributed to expanded seating at LP Field for the nightly concerts and mild temperatures that drove increased attendance in the free event and concert areas downtown.

"Third time's the charm and to achieve a sell out for a third straight year and increase attendance says a lot about the strength of this event, the dedication of our fans, the support of our industry and local community, and the popularity of our music and artists," said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer.

Attendance figures for 2012 include 4-day ticket packages, promotional and single night tickets, as well as attendance in non-ticketed free areas and events. More than 450 artists performed more than 200 hours of concerts. Week-long mild temperatures in Nashville resulted in increased attendance in the numerous free areas including The Buckle, Fan Alley, public events, and concert venues. There was record attendance on Friday and Saturday at Chevrolet Riverfront Park with more than 25,000 fans attending the free concerts throughout each day on the sloping bank of the Cumberland River.

The Nightly Concerts at LP Field featured 38 acts over 4 nights of star-packed shows.

Performing Thursday were Jason Aldean, Glen Campbell, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, and Zac Brown Band. Hank Williams Jr. made a surprise appearance, joining Paisley on I'm Gonna Get Drunk and Play Hank Williams, his new single. Lauren Alaina and Kellie Pickler delivered acoustic sets.

"I started way back there at the top," said Lambert, pointing to the high seats at LP Field. "How are y'all doing up there? Slowly over the years, I made my way down. I can't tell y'all how much it means to me to be here as an artist with y'all singing back to me."

"The amazing thing about country music is that while it's all about reality, it still has the ability, between our music and beer, to help you forget what you want to forget tonight," said Paisley.

The Band Perry, Brantley Gilbert, Ronnie Milsap, Jake Owen, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood performed on Friday. Randy Houser and Gwen Sebastian of "The Voice" performed acoustic sets and the national anthem was performed by the Oak Ridge Boys.

"Nashville, every single person that came from all over the country and the world, don't think I can't love you," said Owen.

Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry told the audience, "You may not know this, but you have changed the lives of my brothers and me. Thank you, to each and every one of you."

Performing Saturday were Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Hunter Hayes, Faith Hill, Little Big Town and Kenny Rogers. Rodney Atkins made a surprise appearance, performing Just Wanna Rock 'n' Roll. Love and Theft and Kip Moore performed acoustic sets and the national anthem was performed by Julie Roberts.

"Nashville! Are you having the night of your life out there?" asked Bryan.

Church made his LP Field debut in 2012. "I just wanted to tell you that I'm having a really, really good time right now," he exclaimed.

The Sunday lineup featured Dierks Bentley, Alan Jackson, The Mavericks, Martina McBride, Scotty McCreery and Rascal Flatts. Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild made a surprise guest appearance with Bentley. Country Music Hall of Fame member Bill Anderson and Steel Magnolia performed acoustic sets and the national anthem was performed by Sarah Darling.

Dedicating his song Home to the fighting men and women of the U.S. armed forces, Bentley said, "When we think about those guys in Afghanistan who traveled west, they fly across that ocean and they see that eastern seaboard for the first time and have that American flag on their sleeve, those guys must be thinking, what's that song? Well, this is Home. Let's sing this song for them."

You guys got me here today, voting me through 'American Idol,' so I owe this to you," said McCreery.

"All I've ever wanted to do since I was four years old was sing," said McBride, who closed the Festival Sunday night. "That's all I wanted and that's all I was good at. And you guys did this for me. Thank you for making my dreams come true."

"Eighty percent of our 4-day ticket holders come from outside of Tennessee," said Moore. "What we are seeing is gains with our locals who are coming out to support our free areas in increasing numbers."

According to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, the direct visitor spending generated by CMA Music Festival in 2011 was $30 million, a $6 million increase over 2010 making the festival the top annual generator of tourist income in Nashville.

"More stages, more music, and more fans. This event outperforms itself every year and at every level and the 'halo' effect lasts all year long," said Butch Spyridon, President of the NCVB.

The festival supports music education in Music City. The artists and celebrities participating in CMA Music Festival donate their time. They are not compensated for the hours they spend signing autographs and performing. In return, The CMA Foundation donates proceeds from the event to music education on the artists' behalf through CMA's Keep the Music Playing program. To date, CMA has donated more than $6.1 million to the cause.

Tickets for 2013 CMA Music Festival, which will be held Thursday through Sunday June 6-9, are on sale now.

More news for Country Music Association

Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Over the Rhine presents its version of holiday songs – Shortly before performing Merle Haggard's downer Christmas song, "If We Make It Through December," Over The Rhine co-leader Linford Detweiler remarked how his wife (and other half of OTR) Karin Bergquist recently described the act's holiday sounds as "reality Christmas music." And when a duo includes a song like "My... »»»
Concert Review: Perhaps not country, but Urban stars – After Keith Urban scorched a version of "Days Go By," a man in his mid-50s in a Led Zeppelin T shirt said to his rhinestone clad lady friend, "This is not country music, that guy's a rock star." Indeed, the chart topping Aussie further contributes to country's multiple personality disorder, but in a category other than pop.... »»»
Subscribe to Country News Digest Country News Digest      Follow Country Standard Time on twitter CST      Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook CST

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

The Devil Makes Three examine salvation, sin For nearly a decade and a half, The Devil Makes Three has concocted an amazing blend of bluegrass, folk, country, blues, rockabilly and whatever happens to bubble to the surface, and applied it liberally to their songwriting ethic.... »»»
For Shires, home is where the family lies Mercy Rose Isbell recently celebrated her first birthday and, ironically, the album she helped inspire has just been released. Synchronicity is a beautiful thing. Mercy Rose is, of course, the daughter of singer/songwriters Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, two of the most gifted Americana artists working today... ... »»»
The Earls of Leicester rattle and roar Something old is new again. The Earls of Leicester, fresh from their first release in late 2014 and the IBMA Entertainer of the Year Award for 2015, followed that remarkable success with "Rattle and Roar."... »»»
Watkins does all the right things on "Young in All the Wrong Ways" In the nine years since Nickel Creek declared itself on indefinite hiatus, violinist/vocalist Sara Watkins has been relentlessly busy. She discovered a new pathway for her harmonic gifts with Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan in the vocal trio I'm With Her.... »»»
Lonely Heartstring Band navigates "Deep Waters" Four years after forming in Boston and a year after receiving their first major award (an IBMA Momentum nod), when most bands might be expected to have two or three already in circulation, the Lonely Heartstring Band finally has its first full-length CD release "Deep Waters" (Rounder) out on the street.... »»»
Bush tells the story Sam Bush is back with a new record, "Storyman," not that he ever went anywhere. Identified with The Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which he has played in one form or another for each year but one, he helped define the new grass sound.... »»»
Ladies and gentlemen, The Infamous Stringdusters Nearly 10 years on, The Infamous Stringdusters have carved out a singular place for themselves in the bluegrass/jamgrass world. The Stringdusters tour aggressively, are fixtures on the festival circuit and released several... »»»
Gunslinger CD review - Gunslinger
If naming your release "Gunslinger," you'd better let it rip and go for a harder country sound, especially if donning a black cowboy hat on the cover. The reality does not exactly match that sentiment for Garth Brooks, but at times he comes mighty close. »»»
Christmas Together CD review - Christmas Together
Listening to Garth Brooks' and Trisha Yearwood's new holiday album of (mostly) duets, one is once again reminded how Yearwood is one of the most underrated country artists, whereas - if we're being honest - Brooks is a little on the overrated side. »»»
The Life and Songs of Emmylou Harris CD review - The Life and Songs of Emmylou Harris
Perhaps no artist is so ingrained in the very fibre of modern Americana more than Emmylou Harris. Her presence is everywhere - in the music she makes on her own, in the music she shares with others, in the music that feature finds her simply settled in the background sharing supporting vocals or merely lending inspiration. »»»
Mountain Voodoo CD review - Mountain Voodoo
Balsam Range has been at the heart of mainstream bluegrass music since its debut in 2007. "Mountain Voodoo" is an ambitious, and successful, summation of the first decade. Vocal harmonies provide the core of Balsam Range's music. It's mountain music, to be sure, with lots of vocal range. »»»
Cosmic Hallelujah CD review - Cosmic Hallelujah
The gospel, per Kenny Chesney's pseudo-spiritually-titled album, "Cosmic Hallelujah," is that the world is too crazy to make any sense of, and the only logical response is to drink more alcohol. (So, don't be surprised if there are more arrests for public intoxication at the performer's upcoming concert dates). »»»
Highway Prayer, A Tribute to Adam Carroll CD review - Highway Prayer, A Tribute to Adam Carroll
Adam Carroll doesn't boast anywhere near the recognition factor of, say, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt or any of the other far more famous singer/songwriters that astute insiders frequently compare him to.  »»»
White Christmas Blue CD review - White Christmas Blue
There are some "country" stars that can't seem to make true country music. Then there are artists like Loretta Lynn that can't not create pure country music. Lynn's "White Christmas Blue" album may feel like a Christmas miracle to many traditional country fans.  »»»
Little Seeds CD review - Little Seeds
Shovels & Rope have made quite an imprint in wider circles since receiving honors as best new band from the Americana Music Association for their formal debut "O' Be Joyful" in 2013. Not content to rest on those kudos, the duo - multi-instrumentalists Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, who are husband and wife - showed their determination to move forward beyond the rustic regimen they established early on. »»»