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: Jarosz brings the cheer – Sarah Jarosz justifiably was in good spirits. After all, she just released her brand new "Undercurrent" disc about 10 days prior. And she was coming home in a way as she went to college in the Boston area. Plus, she packed the club in a near sell-out gig. The good cheer extended to her music as well in a varied, change-it-up set that... »»»
Concert Review: Outlaw lives up to his name – If you're a country singer, and you use the name Outlaw as your last name, well, you'd better back it up. Los Angeles-based traditional honky tonker Sam Outlaw set the record straight, though, saying he was "going to confront it head on." He told the crowd of 45 at his Boston-area debut that he took his mom's maiden name at his stage name.... »»»
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

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 intriguing recording projects since late 2015: an EP of covers, including Tom Petty's "American Girl," and a full-length album of songs collaborating with some of the finest female singers in the Americana genre ("Ladies and Gentlemen").... »»»
Reams leaps into "Rhyme & Season" James Reams is one of bluegrass music's unconventional stalwarts. A son of Kentucky, Reams' journey has taken any number of unusual pathways since the mid-seventies. Producing albums for more than 20 years, Reams' ninth release of personable bluegrass, "Rhyme and Season," is a relaunch for Reams, an artist who has never followed a singular route. ... »»»
Solivan  turns to family, friends, heroes After scoring a 2015 IBMA nomination for Best Bluegrass Album for "Cold Spell," Frank Solivan tried something a little different this time around - an album of songs recorded by "Family, Friends and Heroes" (Compass). In an earlier musical life, Solivan served as stalwart in Country Current, the Navy's touring bluegrass band. Solivan left the service and formed Dirty Kitchen, a hat-tip to his background and continuing efforts as a chef.... »»»
Sellers garages her country Aubrie Sellers just may be onto something on her debut - garage country. After all, we've already witnessed traditional country, new country, neo-traditional, country rock, pop country and bro country. Sellers, a 25-year-old Nashvillian with a big time musical pedigree who released her debut, "New City Blues," in January, said the moniker came to mind as her bio was being written.... »»»
Waco Brothers are "Going Down in History" Twenty two years have passed since Jon Langford formed the Waco Brothers as a jalapeno-spiced country adjunct to his primary gig with his punk-infused Mekons. And while The Mekons have inserted some twang in their stomp and the Wacos have punked up their hoedown, Langford and his talented cast remain focused on each band's primary sonic direction.... »»»
Freakwater tells its tales on "Scheherazade" Janet Bean and Catherine Irwin have been together as Freakwater for over a quarter of a century, which gives their creative pairing at least the outward appearance of a marriage. And while Bean and Irwin haven't even lived in the same city for the entirety of Freakwater's existence,... »»»
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... »»»
Storyman CD review - Storyman
It's been seven years since Sam Bush released a collection of songs (2009's "Circles Around Me"), but Bush has never left the bluegrass/jamgrass consciousness. He tours, mostly festivals, with his first-rate Sam Bush Band and has popped up as instrumental collaborator with Frank Solivan, Taylor Swift, Bela Fleck, David Grisman and countless others over the years. »»»
Undercurrent CD review - Undercurrent
No longer just a startlingly talented young bluegrass musician, on her latest, Sarah Jarosz shows her growth both as a person and an artist. This is her first recording done while she wasn't in either high school or college, the first since her move to New York City three years ago, and the first time she has included only new original material. »»»
Big Day in a Small Town CD review - Big Day in a Small Town
There are two components to Brandy Clark. First is her songwriting, which gained her much street cred, penning songs for the likes of Miranda Lambert, The Band Perry, Keith Urban, Reba McEntire and a slew for Kacey Musgraves and Jennifer Nettles. And then there's her own artistic career with her major label debut finally coming close to three years after her extremely well-received (with good reason) debut, "12 Stories." »»»
EI Rio CD review - EI Rio
The rough-edged, soulful vocalist Frankie Ballard certainly receives some high-powered songwriting help on "El Rio." Chris Stapleton, considered country music's savior by some, contributes to a couple of songs, and hit makers Chris Janson and Kip Moore also each have co-writing credits on the release.  »»»
Someone to Take Your Place EP CD review - Someone to Take Your Place EP
Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark and Miranda Lambert have demonstrated that country music is loaded with smart, talented female singer/songwriters who aren't afraid to get a little risqué with their lyrics. Add Tara Thompson to that list, if the five songs from her debut "Someone to Take Your Place" EP are any indication. »»»
Colvin & Earle
Colvin & Earle aren't George Jones and Tammy Wynette, nor are they Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. No, they're not a classic duet partnership, where two voices come together in perfect harmony, like a choir in a Coca-Cola commercial. Instead, they're two fiercely independent singer/songwriters and also a few of the last hardcore troubadours. »»»
Hero CD review - Hero
Maren Morris scored a hit out of the box with "My Church," the best of 11 songs on her major label full-length debut. The Texan infuses the song she wrote with uber producer busbee with mighty vocals powering a midtempo, soulful reading extolling the redemptive powers of playing music with the windows rolled down. »»»
Deep Waters CD review - Deep Waters
The Lonely Heartstring Band offers traditional instrumentation, a jamgrass vibe, tight arrangements and a lot of heart. The band, a five-piece acoustic/bluegrass ensemble, is yet another product of the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music in Boston. "Deep Waters," the band's first release, makes their presence known. »»»
Summer EP CD review - Summer EP
Cassadee Pope's new release is officially called "Summer EP." But upon a full listen, one wonders if the working title may have been "The Road More Often Traveled." To say that the third season "The Voice" winner played it safe is a bit of an understatement. She penned three of the songs, including the obvious title track and the more impactful, autobiographical "Alien." »»»
Wondrous Traveler CD review - Wondrous Traveler
Given the fact that the duo known as The Small Glories boasts a main member with substantial name recognition, anticipation for what follows is already a forgone conclusion. Cara Luft, a founding member of The Wailin'Jennys and a solo artist in her own right, can bank on a respectable reputation that guarantees inherent interest right from the start. Her partner in this endeavor -singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist JD Edwards... »»»