Photo credit: John Russell/CMA.
The Eighth Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade claimed Broadway from Tenth to First Avenue on Wednesday before an estimated 20,000 cheering spectators. Country Music Hall of Fame member Glen Campbell served as Grand Marshal. Little Big Town invited 40 lucky fans on their flotilla of four Premier pontoon boats and the Keep the Music Playing All Stars Marching Band, which is made up of high school musicians representing eight Metro Nashville Public Schools, made its second appearance in the parade.
Following the procession, the fun kicked into high gear with The Seventh Annual CMA Music Festival Block Party. An estimated 11,400 fans gathered at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage for the kick off with Little Big Town followed by full-tilt performances from Brazilbilly, Eric Lee Beddingfield, and LoCash Cowboys. Angie Johnson performed the national anthem.
2012 CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL SETS NEW ATTENDANCE RECORD WITH 71,000 FANS
Hundreds of Artists, New Stages, and More Music Attract Thousands of Visitors to Nashville
NASHVILLE – CMA Music Festival set a new attendance record in 2012 with daily attendance topping 71,000 fans, a 9.2 percent increase over the 65,000 in attendance in 2011 and a sell out for the third consecutive year at LP Field.
The increase was attributed to expanded seating at LP Field for the nightly concerts and mild temperatures that drove increased attendance in the free event and concert areas downtown.
“Third time’s the charm and to achieve a sell out for a third straight year and increase attendance says a lot about the strength of this event, the dedication of our fans, the support of our industry and local community, and the popularity of our music and artists,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer.
Attendance figures for 2012 include four-day ticket packages, promotional and single night tickets, as well as attendance in non-ticketed free areas and events. In all, more than 450 artists performed more than 200 hours of concerts.
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. In fact, there was record attendance on Friday and Saturday at Chevrolet Riverfront Park with more than 25,000 fans attending the free concerts throughout each day on the sloping bank of the Cumberland River. Crowds for the new BIC® Soleil Bella® Beach Stage were strong and attendance at the Bud Light Stage on the Bridgestone Plaza increased over 2011. The new BMI Stage at LP Field was bustling each evening as crowds entered the stadium for the nightly concerts.
“Eighty percent of our four-day ticket holders come from outside of Tennessee,” said Moore. “What we are seeing is gains with our locals who are coming out to support our free areas in increasing numbers.”
According to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, the direct visitor spending generated by CMA Music Festival in 2011 was $30 million, a $6 million increase over 2010 making the Festival the top annual generator of tourist income in Nashville. And it appears that 2012 was a boon to business again. Figures for 2012 will be released by the NCVB at a later date.
“More stages, more music, and more fans. This event outperforms itself every year and at every level and the ‘halo’ effect lasts all year long,” said Butch Spyridon, President of the NCVB.
“For us, the Grand Ole Opry and CMA Music Festival go hand in hand,” said Melissa Fraley Agguini, Director of Retail, Opry Originals on Broadway, which premiered its Accessories Bar this year. “Although we are open year-round, we definitely see a peak during Festival week. This year we brought in extra staff and added security due to the number of artist autograph signings in-store. And while we had increasing traffic throughout the week, Sunday was our largest day because people feel they can carry what they purchase directly home, and the Country fans definitely love us for our unique apparel and accessory offerings.”
“The CMA Music Festival has been everything as advertised,” said Brian Pedrick, Manager, Bailey’s on Broadway. “Money-wise, CMA Music Festival increases about 400 percent of the normal business we do here downtown in a week.”
“We’ve tripled our inventory for these four days, and it was much needed,” said Linda Gorby, Manager of Boot Country on Broadway. “The store has been packed nonstop.”
CMA Music Festival benefits downtown businesses, but it also 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. In appreciation of their exhaustive efforts, The CMA Foundation donates proceeds from the event to music education on the artists’ behalf through CMA’s Keep the Music Playing program. To date, CMA has donated more than $6.1 million to the cause.
CMA Music Festival, which started as Fan Fair® in 1972, is about the fans and their relationship with the artists and the music.
The theme is universal and in 2012, 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.
“Martin Guitars has enthusiasts from all over the world which was evident by the performers in our Martin Jam Tent; from Japan, Cuba, France, Germany, Holland and the U.S.A. all strummed their finest tunes at the CMA Music Festival,” said Amani Duncan, VP Brand Marketing, CF Martin & Co., Inc.
Cuban artist Pancho Amat performs at the Bud Light Stage at the Bridgestone Arena Plaza in Downtown Nashville on Saturday, June 9 during the 2012 CMA Music Festival.
Photo credit: Karen Hicks/CMA.