Sign up for newsletter
 

CMA fest sets attendance record

Monday, June 10, 2013 – CMA Music Festival set a new attendance record with daily attendance topping 80,000 fans, a near 13-percent increase over the 71,000 in attendance in 2012 and a sellout of LP Field tickets 6 weeks before the event.

The increase was attributed to expanding the event into the new Music City Center. The new venue nearly tripled the size of the former space in the Nashville Convention Center creating room for new exhibits, additional stages and attractions for families in the Keep the Kids Playing Pavilion.

"This event has a global reputation as the destination for any country music fan," said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer. "The support we receive from our industry and the dedication of our fans is unduplicated. Each year we strive to improve and enhance the event for our attendees and the artists - and this is undeniably our best CMA Music Festival ever."

Attendance figures include 4-day ticket packages and promotional tickets, as well as attendance in Fan Fair X and free areas downtown. More than 450 artists and celebrities participated in more than 200 hours of concerts on a record 11 different stages.

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 opening day at Chevrolet Riverfront Stage with more than 44,000 fans passing through the gates for the free concerts on the sloping bank of the Cumberland River. Crowds for the new Transitions Performance Park were strong and attendance at the Bud Light Stage on the Bridgestone Arena Plaza increased over 2012.

CMA Music 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. As a result, The CMA Foundation donates proceeds from the event to music education on the artists' behalf through CMA's Keep the Music Playing program. Since 2006, CMA has donated more than $7.6 million to the cause.

Festival attendees came from all 50 states and two dozen countries, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Holland, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and the U.K.

CMA continued its practice of interacting with fans through digital and social channels at the 2013 CMA Music Festival. Visits to the official web site, CMAfest.com, spiked 35 percent over 2012.

CMA's total aggregate digital audience has reached 1.9 million fans, growth of 36 percent from the 1.4 million in June 2012.

The Ninth Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade on Wednesday with Kix Brooks served as Grand Marshal.

Following the procession, the fun kicked into high gear with The Eighth Annual CMA Music Festival Block Party. Fans gathered at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage for the kick off with The Henningsens followed by Brazilbilly, The LACs, and The Cadillac Three. Lyndsey Highlander performed the national anthem. Joe Diffie sang Pick Up Man with his nine-year-old daughter, Kylie.

Autograph signings, concerts, lifestyle exhibits, marketplace and live broadcasts were held in the Music City Center. Lady Antebellum kicked it off on Thursday with an official ribbon cutting, acoustic performance, and Q&A session with the fans, hosted by Lorianne Crook.

"Welcome to Nashville, everybody!" said Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum. "We just want to say how honored we are to be a part of this. It's such a huge moment, not only for country music and CMA, but for Nashville as a city. This Music City Center is just state-of-the-art and gorgeous - and we get to be a part of the grand opening."

A record-breaking 65,000 visitors passed through the turnstiles into Fan Fair X throughout the festival. The number of artists signing autographs and performing on the stages was 393, exceeding 2012's figure of 254.

The number of artists signing in CMA Central, CMA's signature headquarters, led to some unique photo ops for fans, such as when Little Big Town met and posed for photos with Kristian Bush. Brenda Lee and Jean Shepard crossed paths and ended up agreeing to sit and briefly sign autographs together.

Highlights at the CMA Close Up Stage included The Oak Ridge Boys singing Amazing Grace a cappella at the '70s Heritage Panel; Randy Travis introducing a song he had recorded as a tribute to George Jones and playing it for Nancy Jones during a panel in tribute to the legend who passed away in April; and an acoustic performance and question-and-answer session with Wynonna.

Blake Shelton made a surprise appearance at the Pepsi Music Experience where he played a variation of "Pictionary" with attendees.

The Nightly Concerts at LP Field featured 62 performers spanning four nights of star-packed shows.

Pre-show activities Thursday included The Oak Ridge Boys performing the national anthem. Performing were Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, and Zac Brown Band. The audience also enjoyed a heritage performance from Tracy Lawrence. Surprise guests for Thursday night's show included Kid Rock, Tim McGraw and Kenny Rogers.

Hunter Hayes, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Kip Moore and Shelton performed on Friday. Travis was the heritage act of the evening and Gloriana performed the national anthem. Special guests on Friday included Sheryl Crow, who performed with Little Big Town and Jason Mraz, who joined Hayes.

Moore used the occasion to share a memory with the stadium audience. "I played some songs for a bigwig producer," he recalled. "He showed me what I was up against and told me to pack my stuff up and go home. I was polite, I thanked him and said, 'To hell with that, I ain't goin' nowhere.' And now I'm playin' for y'all at CMA Fest."

Dierks Bentley, Kelly Clarkson, Florida Georgia Line and Keith Urban performed Saturday. The Oak Ridge Boys returned Saturday to perform and Brett Eldredge sang the national anthem. Jason Aldean, Lenny Kravitz, and Trisha Yearwood were surprise guests.

Severe storm threats shortened sets on Sunday with a lineup featuring Gary Allan, The Band Perry, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. Lee Greenwood was the heritage act and Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis joined musical forces to perform the national anthem. Charlie Daniels joined Paisley for his performance; and Lennon and Maisy of the hit ABC series "Nashville" also performed. Owen was limited to performing one song.

At the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, Sara Evans opened before 44,000. During the festival, 40 acts performed 30 hours of concerts over the 4 days including a surprise appearance by Hayes on Friday. More than 162,000 fans passed through the gates to watch the performances at Chevrolet Riverfront Stage.

The festival was filmed for a 3-hour television special "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" airing Monday, Aug. 12 at 8 p.m. eastern and hosted for the first time by Little Big Town.

Tickets for 2014 CMA Music Festival, which will be held Thursday through Sunday, June 5-8, are on sale now and selling 52 percent ahead of this time last year.

"The pace of the advance ticket sales speaks to the strength of the event, the popularity of our music, and the experience that our fans had at this year's CMA Music Fest," said Moore.

Fans can order tickets by calling the CMA Box Office at 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378) or Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. To purchase tickets online, visit Ticketmaster.com.

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: Not playing the hit proves no problem for Bingham – Ryan Bingham may always end up being best known for collaborating with T Bone Burnett on the soundtrack for the 2009 film starring Jeff Bridges, particularly "The Weary Kind." That would not be a surprise given that he won a Grammy and Oscar for the song. One would, therefore, think that "The Weary Kind" would be one of those... »»»
Concert Review: Abbott brings the joy - even with "Front Row Seat" – To say that the Josh Abbott Band's "Front Row Seat" is an easy listen, especially in concert, would be a tremendous understatement. The Texas country singer released a five-act recording about the development, joy and ultimate dissolution of his marriage last fall. Not exactly easy subject matter, but Abbott managed to bring more than a... »»»
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

Hull lifts a weight off her mind Reaching her early twenties, Sierra Hull found herself beset by the same kinds of emotional angst and vulnerability that most of experience coming face-to-face with the challenges of life stretching out ahead. In her case, though, introduction to adulthood came at the age of 16 when she recorded her first... »»»
The Grascals embrace the change The Grascals are a well-established collection of players, featuring a six-piece mix of some of the most talented musicians in bluegrass. What happens when there's some turnover in the lineup of an established band? It either gets better or goes home. With... »»»
Blitzen Trapper explores "Mystery and Wonder" The song "Mystery and Wonder" is the centerpiece of Blitzen Trapper's latest album, "All Across This Land." It finds the band's vocalist and primary songwriter Eric Earley reflecting upon various songs and experiences over the years and vainly attempting to figure out what it all means.... »»»
Whoops, Bottle Rockets create an album Since the inception of the Bottle Rockets in the early '90s. the three basic constants have been the presence of guitarist/vocalist/primary songwriter Brian Henneman and drummer Mark Ortmann, a relatively consistent output schedule and a steady stream of great reviews for those releases.... »»»
Cox Family gets back to business On the eve of the first new release by the Cox Family in nearly two decades, "Gone Like The Cotton," Sidney Cox reflects on the national media frenzy over "Back To The Future" and the date Michael J. Fox would materialize from 1985, and the parallels to his own family's story haven't escaped his notice.... »»»
Fortune has Statlers covered The Statler Brothers were an iconic vocal group in country music. They began by backing Johnny Cash (not a bad early gig, for sure), and went on to win the CMA award for Vocal Group of the Year an astounding 8 years in a row between 1972 and 1980. The group is in both the country music and gospel music halls of fame and has won three Grammy Awards. Tenor Jimmy Fortune replaced Lew Dewitt in 1983, and continued with the group for 21 year... »»»
Ely rambles on With the cover of "Panhandle Rambler" showing a vintage Airsteam, standing solitary out on the flatlands of the Texas Panhandle, one might think Joe Ely's latest offering would be a sedentary affair. One would be wrong. Instead, the 12 songs are more a Flamenco-accented travelogue of Texas. Streaming from the Panhandle, winding through the Hill Country, deep into Big Bend and across the Rio Grande... ... »»»
The Ghosts of Highway 20 CD review - The Ghosts of Highway 20
As impressive as her last album "Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone" was, this much is true about Lucinda Williams: the next album will be as stellar or even more. That's not to say any of her releases are subpar, but the quality (and now consistency) of her output makes her a precious gem. »»»
The Driver CD review - The Driver
Many artists find inspiration from pain or life changing events. Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley got his out of sheer boredom, and it resulted in a Grammy nomination. The title track off of his first solo album, "The Driver," is up for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. With Lady A on hiatus, Kelley thought, "It's winter." "I'm bored and I want to make some music." He contacted producer Paul Worley to »»»
Scheherazade CD review - Scheherazade
The 10-year span since the last Freakwater album, 2005's "Thinking of You," combined with the busy schedules of Janet Bean and Catherine Irwin, the band's core duo, might have intimated to some that they were headed down permanently divergent paths. Between Bean's outside band activities (Eleventh Dream Day, Horse's Ha), Irwin's visual art career and both women's solo work, it seemed that Freakwater's well might have run tragically dry.  »»»
Honeycomb CD review - Honeycomb
The O's are a fun roots band, comprised of ex-Polyphonic Spree members John Pedigo and Taylor Young, who showcase plenty of inspiration from traditional American music. There is a touch of bluegrass and string band element to their sound, but they are decisively contemporary.  »»»
Ladies and Gentlemen CD review - Ladies and Gentlemen
The "Ladies" of this album's title are an impressive batch of female guest singers serving as the voice of the Infamous Stringdusters for the space of a song, lending a softer edge to the group's already smooth take on modern string band music. They come from not just bluegrass circles but rock, soul, folk and country, sending each track in a different direction that's still anchored by the instrumental dexterity of the Stringdusters. »»»
Dori Freeman CD review - Dori Freeman
Galax lies the in southwestern corner of Virginia. Mention of Galax immediately conjures the Blue Ridge Mountains and their music. The Old Fiddlers' Convention has been hosted in Galax for 80 years. So, it should come as no surprise that a new, clear and supple voicing of country music, Dori Freeman, hails from Galax, and that her music finds a vein of pure country and mines it well. »»»
Weighted Mind CD review - Weighted Mind
It has been nearly five years since Sierra Hull released a record. 2012's "Daybreak" (also on Rounder) featured startling mandolin playing by Hull and a strong, but still tentative, vocal style. "Weighted Mind" doesn't hold back on either score, and it's a beautiful work of contemporary bluegrass music. No one is the same person at 19 as at 24, and Hull is no different.  »»»
New City Blues CD review - New City Blues
Aubrie Sellers may have the musical genes, but that will go only so far because she has carved her own path on her debut. Just how one would categorize Sellers musically may not be as easy. Oh, she's definitely got a country sound going - "Losing Ground," "Something Special" and the tick tock drums of the slower "Humming Song" - are proof of that. »»»
Cayamo Sessions at Sea CD review - Cayamo Sessions at Sea
Buddy Miller has done a lot in the music business. He's been a Nashville session player, a record producer, the musical director for the frothy, but entertaining, "Nashville" TV show. He does a weekly satellite radio with the talented, but dyspeptic, Jim Lauderdale. For the last few years, Miller has been a featured artist on one of a proliferating series of mid-Winter music cruises. »»»