Sign up for newsletter
 

CMA Fest draws crowds, surprises

Monday, June 12, 2017 – The 46th CMA Music Festival drew sold-out crowds to the nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium, capacity crowds at Chevrolet Riverfront Stage and the Cracker Barrel Country Roads Stage at Ascend Amphitheater.

The event had 11 stages, 7 free to the public with 167 hours of music from 350 plus artists.

The overall attendance was not released by the CMA.

The Cracker Barrel Country Roads stage at Ascend Amphitheater, headlined by Big & Rich, Sara Evans, Hunter Hayes, and Dan + Shay, as well as the daytime Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, hit capacity numbers over the course of the four-day event. Halfway through Old Dominion's CMA Fest kick-off set Thursday morning in Riverfront Park, entry was halted due to the volume of excited fans pouring in.

In a surprise appearance, 2016 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Randy Travis joined Michael Ray Thursday on the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage for "Forever & Ever, Amen."

Garth Brooks played Nissan Stadium as a surprise, singing "Friends in Low Places" and "The Thunder Rolls," as well as his newest single "Ask Me How I Know." This was Brooks' first CMA Fest appearance in nearly 20 years.

"This is definitely one for the record books," said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. "This year's Festival was marked with memorable moments and one-of-a-kind experiences. We're happy how fans embraced not only our new stages, but also the city during an exciting historic Stanley Cup run for the Nashville Predators."

The percentage of returning attendees held steady at 48 percent. Among 4-day passholders, the returning attendee level is even higher at 51 percent returning for 2017.

Gen X and Millennials now make up the biggest base of Festival fans with equal shares of attendees from both of these demos.

Millennials, attendees ages 18-34, delivered a key segment for new attendees with a share of 57 percent attending for the first time compared to 52 percent across all age ranges

The festival benefits music education programs across the country, as every artist donated their time, performing for free.

The previously-announced 3-hour ABC special, "CMA Fest," co-hosted by Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini, airs Wednesday, Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. eastern.

Tickets for the 2018 CMA Music Festival, which is Thursday, June 7 through Sunday, June 10, go on pre-sale Monday, June 19. The national on-sale date is Tuesday, June 27. Order tickets online or call the CMA Box Office at 1-800-262-3378.

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: Combs, Gill, Harris, Crow comprise one final musical platter – Vince Gill played host to an entertaining guitar pull, a show which also featured his longtime friend, Emmylou Harris, slightly newer friend Sheryl Crow and brand-new friend Luke Combs. Gill joked from the outset that this All for the Hall fundraising show needed Combs to sell tickets, and by the audience's response, it was clear many came only to see Combs.... »»»
Concert Review: Stapleton shows his traditional roots – Chris Stapleton's All-American Road show feels like a singular mission to rid the genre of the bro country scourge that has plagued it for years. He came out with a blazing one-two punch of "Second One To Know" and "Without Your Love" and packed a stadium sized onslaught into a 9,000-seat arena. He never once veered from his... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time  Subscribe to Country News Digest  Follow Country Standard Time on twitter  Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook 

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Willis, Robison spin "Beautiful Lie" Eleven years ago, Kelly stepped away from music. She had just finished touring on 2007's exquisite "Translated From Love" and felt the angst of being a travelling musician with family at home. At that point, Willis and her husband, musician/producer Bruce Robison,... »»»
Chip Kinman celebrates brother, career on "Sounds Like Music" For a brief moment last summer, the news of Tony Kinman's death was, if not greatly exaggerated, then at least fortuitously premature. The roots rock icon, known for his work in The Dils, Rank and File, Blackbird and Cowboy Nation with his younger brother Chip, had been diagnosed with cancer in March 2018,... »»»
Shiflett learns "Hard Lessons" Until recently, Chris Shiflett took a somewhat obsessive/compulsive approach to his music career. For the past two decades, Shiflett has been the primary guitar foil for Dave Grohl in Foo Fighters; early in his tenure, Shiflett was so self-deprecatingly... »»»
Threads CD review - Threads
With "Threads," Sheryl Crow gets the all-star-guest treatment on what she says is her swang song, with each song featuring a favorite fellow artist. She seems a little too young for this kind of tribute. Nevertheless,  »»»
Let it Roll CD review - Let it Roll
Midland is more magicians than musicians. When the trio came out with their omnipresent 2017 single "Drinkin' Problem," they pulled off their first trick: a brand-new band to radio who sounded like old friends. Their sound and their look (matador »»»