One of my favorite weeks during the year in Nashville is CMA Music Festival. It’s 4 days filled with fun and music at the largest country music festival in the world held in the home of country music! Oh, and there’s ALWAYS the summer heat that seems to turn up a notch on that week, too. It’s always a given! Grab your sunblock and drink plenty of water, you’ll survive it! There’s too much to enjoy about the festival and great music to be had to let those high temps keep you away.
Truth be known, my CMA Music Festival week did not start on the day of the festival, it started 3 days before at the very beginning of the week. First, there was the “Soul of Nashville” unveiling and preview of the new renovations at the historic Ryman Auditorium that included a press conference, nice reception, screening of the new day tour multimedia experience called “Soul of Nashville” and even a fun photo op onstage at the iconic venue. With my lack of singing ability, I think that will be the first and last time I’m allowed on that stage! Ok, I KNOW it will be! haha Have I mentioned that I am NOT a singer??
On Tuesday, there was “Stars For Second Harvest” benefit concert at the Ryman Auditorium featuring Dierks Bentley, Charles Esten, Chris Carmack, The Stella Sisters, host Craig Wiseman and many more. This is Craig Wiseman’s annual event benefiting the Second Harvest Food Bank and he always puts together a great show. There was also a great show by Craig Campbell just across the alley at The Stage on Broadway where I enjoyed a special happy hour in the VIP section with friends from Broken Bow Records that I fit in between the interviews and the show at the Ryman. Multi-tasking and enjoying all the fun offered that week!
Wednesday for me was all about the CMT Music Awards as I shot still photographs of all the attending stars walking the Red Carpet. Such fun and a great televised show on CMT! Everyone looked great walking the carpet that night!
Thursday began early with the NRA Country Kegs and Eggs event with Sony artists Tyler Farr and Josh Dorr performing. Who doesn’t like beer and eggs to start the morning off right?! haha Actually, NOT my normal routine, I’m much more of an orange juice person in the mornings, but it was a special week filled with fun, so what the heck! Then, I attended CMT’s Next Women of Country event held at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Loved this show featuring RaeLynn, Angaleena Presley, Danielle Bradbury, CAM and Kelsea Ballerini in a fun, acoustic round. All of the women brought their A game and gave us a fantastic, intimate performance. After that, I wondered around the festival and then attended the Big Machine/VEVO DSCVR Nashville special event at Events on 3rd in Printer’s Alley. What a fun event in such a cool location as I was given the VIP treatment with a nice reception and open bar to enjoy along with fantastic performances from A Thousand Horses, Drake White and RaeLynn.
Friday I started the day at Kelsea Ballerini’s fan club party at 3rd and Lindsley. Love her! Fans packed the room to have a chance to listen to an acoustic performance, have a short Q & A segment and a chance to meet country’s newest darling and the first new female artist to break through on country radio in a very long time. Afterwards, I attended Ty Herndon’s Love and Acceptance concert at City Winery, a very special event filled with many artists including Crystal Gayle, Melinda Doolittle, Billy Gilman, Shellie Fairchild, host Ty Herndon and many more.
Saturday begun with the always fun “green” carpet of the annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game at the brand new Sounds baseball stadium. Loved the new location and covering this event is always a fun experience! Packed with many celebrities like Lauren Alaina, Love & Theft, Chuck Wicks, JT Hodges, Bucky Covington and many more, the most notable was Brett Michaels who even wore his signature cowboy hat for the game.
On the last day of the festival, I started the day with Amber Hayes’ Sweet Sunday Singin’ event at the Listening Room with coffee and Gigi’s Cupcakes enjoying some great acoustic performances by Amber Hayes, Mary Sarah and more. A nice way to start the day! Following that, I attended Charlie Worsham’s fan club party at the Warner Experience at AVenue where I had a chance to talk to Charlie about his new partnership with a local music education organization and CMA Foundation.
Of course, each day was filled with lots of great performances at CMA Music Festival itself as I roamed the festival grounds in downtown. I stayed down at the Budlight stage in front of Bridgestone most of the time, had some fun at the Martin Guitar tent and then on to the huge nightly shows at LP Stadium. If you’re getting the impression this was a whirlwind week for me, you’re right, but I wouldn’t have it any other way and hated to see it end. Can’t wait for next year! I’m already counting down the days! Thanks CMA for always putting on such a wonderful festival that seems to only get bigger and better with each passing year!
Don’t forget to tune-in for the televised CMA Music Festival “Country’s Night To Rock” on ABC on Monday, August 4th at 7pm/central!