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: No arguing, years end great for Johnnyswim – Don't bother arguing with Abner Ramirez and his wife, Amanda Sudano about what a great year the two enjoyed in 2014. After all, they enjoyed two releases this year, an appearance on NPR, touring throughout the country and at the last show for the duo this year, Sudano sported a decidedly noticeable bulge around the middle.... »»»
Concert Review: Lowe gets on with tour – Nick Lowe made reference to the downer that's been a most unfortunate part of his Quality Holiday Revenue, not exactly the time of year when music, particularly of the holiday variety, should be sad. But veteran British keyboardist Ian McLagan, who was slated to open the tour, died of a stroke as the tour was opening two weeks ago.... »»»
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 "Beauty" of Price continues Before Ray Price died - just over one year ago, on Dec. 16, 2013 - he told his wife, Janie, that she would have to carry on his legacy by going out, promoting the album that he had just recorded, "Beauty Is...," and visiting with his legions of fans. He told me, Janie says, "you're gonna be the closest thing to me that people are going to want to reach out to."... »»»
Fullbright writes the "Songs" John Fullbright didn' grow up around musicians or like-minded songwriters in his little hometown of Bearden, Okla. You'd never know it, though, from his raw, stark, pure and honest songwriting that's drawn comparisons to Townes Van Zandt. His debut album, "From the Ground Up," was nominated for a 2013 Grammy as the Best Americana Album, catapulting him into the company of Bonnie Raitt, Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers and The Avett Brothers.... »»»
Book dishes on guys writing the songs Jake Brown can't stop writing about music. Over the past 10 years, he's published 35 books, ranging from "Rick Rubin: In the Studio" and "Suge Knight: The Rise, Fall and Rise of Death Row Records" to "Heart: In the Studio." In 2012, he won the Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards in the category of Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.... »»»
Finally, Skaggs and White duet Perhaps there are few more beloved names in the world of country and bluegrass music than Ricky Skaggs and his wife Sharon of the country music family act The Whites. The two have been close friends since their teenage years through music, first meeting at a festival where White was performing with her father Buck White and sister Cheryl, and Skaggs was playing with Keith Whitley.... »»»
Douglas dreams on Taking a second look at the two-album deal he had recently signed with the Rounder/Concord group, and then at his busy upcoming touring schedule, Jerry Douglas suddenly realized he didn't have a lot of time to waste. The first album, "Three Bells," a collaboration with fellow resophonic guitar (aka "Dobro") titans Rob Ickes of Blue Highway and the late Mike Auldridge was pretty much ready to go, the sessions having been completed shortly before Auldridge's passing in December 2012 following a lengthy struggle with cancer.... »»»
Trampled by Turtles get wild Trampled By Turtles is an indie folk group, an alt.-country band or a bluegrass act - depending on how you choose to look at them. Perhaps it's best to view the outfit as the ultimate combo platter consisting of just about everything that's good about American music. They play wonderfully, yet they also write intelligent songs that draw everyone from Townes Van Zandt to Nirvana to Ralph Stanley. It's all good, and some (or all) of these influences can be spotted in most of Trampled By Turtles' enjoyable sounds.... »»»
Don't try labeling Parker Millsap If you move in alt.-country/Americana circles, you simply cannot get away from the name Parker Millsap. He's certainly one of the biggest buzz artists of 2014. Better still, his self-titled album lives up to all the hype. He's a smart songwriter and a passionate singer and is essential listening for anybody looking for high quality contemporary music. Millsap also creates music appealing to a wide variety of musical tastes. You can make a case that he's a country guy, but you can also hear a lot of blues and folk. And if you attempt to put a label on him, he'll quickly tear it right off.... »»»
The Music Of Nashville: Original Soundtrack Season 3 Volume 1 CD review - The Music Of Nashville: Original Soundtrack Season 3 Volume 1
As the winter finale of ABC's "Nashville" draws closer, the plot lines grow thinner and this scant 10-song soundtrack follows suit. Domestic turmoil is the major theme this season as diva Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) becomes unexpectedly pregnant before the filming of a Patsy Cline biopic. Unfortunately, Panettiere's excellent rendition of "Crazy" is omitted on the album. »»»
December Day (Willie's Stash Vol. 1) CD review - December Day (Willie's Stash Vol. 1)
A multi-tasker by nature - at age 81, Willie Nelson's constant output and frequent touring schedule puts any number of younger performers to shame - "December Day" offers another example of his ability to reinvent himself while shifting into the same melodic mode that made his original standards set "Stardust" so tempting and timeless. »»»
Chasing the Sun CD review - Chasing the Sun
You have to hand it to The Sweet Lowdown. They certainly know a thing or two about truth in advertising. On their lovely new album - their third to date - this Canadian trio live up to their collective handle by presenting a set of songs that's so sweet, so lovely and so enticing, it's akin to love at first listen. Making do with little more than their collective harmonies... »»»
While No One Was Watching: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records CD review - While No One Was Watching: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records
It's a magnanimous record company indeed that celebrates its own 20th anniversary by inviting artists from other labels to join in the festivities. Then again, this is Chicago's Bloodshot Records after all, the insurgent outfit out of Chicago that's made its mark by booting tradition up the backside. Consequently, the 2-disc, 38-song set "While No One Was Watching: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records" puts a new spin on the usual catalogue compilation... »»»
Man Against Machine CD review - Man Against Machine
After releasing his debut album in 1989, Garth Brooks released music almost every year until he announced his retirement in 2000. Since then, he has released repackaged hit collections, new music on "Scarecrow" and "The Lost Sessions" and last year's cover song collection "Blame it All on My Roots." Over the years, there have been live recordings, concert and music video collections. The country songwriter became a pop culture icon... »»»
Maddie & Tae CD review - Maddie & Tae
Most casual listeners will be wondering if singing duo Maddie & Tae have another attention-getter in them like "Girl In A Country Song" when it comes to the act's debut EP. Although there's nothing that rivals the bro-country answer song of "Girl," the other three tracks on this initial release show great promise. »»»
Best Medicine CD review - Best Medicine
"Best Medicine," the opening song and title track to The Stray Birds' album, is a beautiful, touching ode to music and the record stores that still survive in this digital age. With a few sly musical references in the lyrics ("Doctor tells me he can hear the beetles in my bones...") and some gorgeous three-part harmonies, it's one of the best and most heartfelt songs of the year. »»»