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: The Earls of Leicester mesh it up – The parts of the Earls of Leicester are extremely solid, but so is the sum. That became quite apparent when the bluegrass superstar sextet released its debut in September 2014 along with its first live foray into Boston. Jerry Douglas, considered by many the best Dobro player on Planet Earth, summed up the evening just right when he said, hopefully... »»»
Concert Review: Watkins steps out on his own – At the ripe old age of 39, Sean Watkins is doing things a bit differently when it comes to his music. By far the biggest sign is that he is in the midst of his first ever solo headlining tour. That may seem a bit odd almost after having released four solo albums since 2001. But when you have your main gig being in the trio Nickel Creek, pus other... »»»
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

Presley rises above (with) "American Middle Class" Some in the mainstream country audience may only know Angaleena Presley as one of the two other singers in Miranda Lambert's side group, Pistol Annies. But to view Presley in only that limited light would be selling her severely short. For starters, Pistol Annies is a trio of extra strong female country music writers and by no means merely Lambert's side group.... »»»
Jorma Kaukonen kicks back (sort of) and comes full circle with "Ain't In No Hurry" Jorma Kaukonen has reached that stage in life where any break he takes is well earned and completely deserved. The 74-year-old singer/songwriter is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee for his work with Jefferson Airplane and his solo career has kept him busy - and fans deliriously happy - for an astonishing 41 years when he's not sometimes playing with Hot Tuna.... »»»
6 String Drag ends two decade smoke break with "Roots Rock 'N' Roll" The last time Kenny Roby assembled 6 String Drag to record a new studio album, Bill Clinton had just handily secured his second term as president. That album was 1997's acclaimed "High Hat," and within months of its release, 6SD had dissolved, sadly capping a brief Americana/roots rock run that had seemed so promising after their brilliant 1994 self-titled debut...... »»»
Hensley, Ickes get together "Before the Sun Goes Down" There is no shortage of country and bluegrass artists who can say that they have been performing at high-profile Nashville venues like the Opry, Ryman and Station Inn for more than half their lives, but in the case of singer and guitar virtuoso Trey Hensley, he's still only 23.... »»»
Brooks takes the long road Garth Brooks was country radio for years. But a lot has changed since Brooks went silent in 2001. Country has shifted even further away from its roots with rock and hip hop part of the landscape. As for Brooks, he retired to spend time raising his three daughters, far away from the bright Nashville lights in Oklahoma. Yes, he did a residency in Las Vegas... ... »»»
Brown becomes "In Style Again" Surely there is some irony in the title of Jim Ed Brown's new album - "In Style Again." At least it's a little ironic for his fans, for as far as they're concerned neither Brown nor his music have been out of style. His strong, mellow voice flows like liquid gold over and around any song he chooses to sing.... »»»
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."... »»»
Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys CD review - Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
Asleep at the Wheel have never shied away from acknowledging where their musical influence comes from. "Still the King" is the group's third tribute to the music of Bob Wills. While past attempts have been worthy acknowledgements of the influence of the Texas swing legend's music... »»»
Complicated Game CD review - Complicated Game
The first album by James McMurtry in six years proves that some simply get better with age. And it opens with a gorgeous, deliberate performance, "Copper Canteen," and a line about cleaning his gun before hunting season comes to a close. From there, McMurtry looks back at his youth and the changing world today "before the pension kicks in." »»»
Brotherhood CD review - Brotherhood
Over the more than 20 years since upstate (way, way upstate) New York natives Eric and Leigh Gibson debuted on the bluegrass scene, it has been more or less de rigueur for the journalists and reviewers who write about them to link them to the long and proud tradition - especially in country music in all its forms - of siblings... »»»
Mono CD review - Mono
The Mavericks returned in 2013 with an acclaimed new album and much touring after nearly a decade's absence. Here they are back again in 2015, minus one of their founding members, but with another dynamite new effort. »»»
The Underdog
It's been a long road, but 12 albums and 15 years later, Texas country singer Aaron Watson has finally arrived. Until his debut with Big Label/Thirty Tigers, Watson worked as a totally independent artist; even then, though, other Texas artists, from Willie Nelson and Dale Watson to Billy Joe Shaver, recognized his talent and collaborated with him.  »»»
Black Beauty CD review - Black Beauty
In 2007, Elana James released an acclaimed self-titled album. The singer, songwriter, and violinist - best known for her work with the Western swing/hot jazz trio Hot Club of Cowtown - strikes gold again with her new album. The disc is a collection of five new originals and several songs she has always loved from »»»
Wrote a Song for Everyone CD review - Wrote a Song for Everyone
Considering that Creedence Clearwater Revival's back catalogue contains some of the most beloved and iconic music of the rock era, and John Fogerty himself - the man who made all those great songs great - will be dueting with you, an artist has to feel like he's got two strikes against him when he sets out to contribute to a cover album tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogerty. »»»
This World Oft Can Be CD review - This World Oft Can Be
Although it isn't rare to hear women singing and playing bluegrass-inspired music, it is still unusual to take in a five-girl band doing so. Della Mae are not what The Runaways and The Go-Go's meant to rock & roll, perhaps, but they're nevertheless significant and unique. »»»
Wilderness CD review - Wilderness
"Wilderness" is another twisted menagerie of The Handsome Family songs. Once again, husband Brett Sparks sings their songs, sometimes in a bellowing gravedigger voice, after adding music to wife Rennie's lyrics. This time out, each and every tune is named after an animal, insect or other such nature creature. However, Rennie studies animals the way Flannery O'Connor wrote about humans, which is with the weirdness and character flaws in primary focus. »»»
Love Is Everything CD review - Love Is Everything
George Strait may have reached his seventh decade, but he shows zero signs of slowing down. In fact, Strait seems to be getting even more consistent as he gets older. Strait doesn't stray all that far from the formula that has resulted in superstar status. First and foremost, that means his sonorous voice is mixed far above the music, a very good thing. »»»