Country music fans descend

Country music has again proven itself as a true cornerstone of our culture in America as tens of thousands fans descended on downtown Nashville for the 47th Annual CMA Festival.

Record numbers of visitors from all 50 states, 36 international countries and Puerto Rico made the trip for the four-day event.

Country is the fastest growing music genre in the U.S. today, and in that, there's a place for most any musical taste. As a rule, country music is strong in lyrics with emphasis on keeping it simple, relating to what's going on in our lives in the present, as well as giving us a sense of home and where we belong with values of the past.

There's also a host of genre-blending of current and new artists that are becoming popular among younger, diverse audiences that is appealing to brands, corporations and the entertainment industry that, along with the CMA, has taken it to a mainstream status. 

This year, 47 percent of domestic festivalgoers attended the longest-running Country Music Festival in the world for the first time. Millennials ranging in age from 22 to 37 accounted for 41 percent of the newcomers, speaking well for the growth of country music. 

Over the four-day period, more than 300 acts performed on 11 stages with proceeds going to music education through the CMA Foundation. The artists give up their time at no charge in appreciation of the fans and the Foundation. On Aug. 8th at 7 p.m., Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini will air a three-hour special on the ABC network. It's the 15th consecutive year for the broadcast. 

"CMA Fest is a marathon music celebration that energizes our entire community," Sarah Trahern, CMA chief executive officer, said. "We thank our Nashville business community, our ABC partners, and of course all the artists and industry for working with us to make it a successful event for the fans. The diversity of talent featured throughout the footprint this year ranged from emerging to legendary artist." 

Few things have changed the perspective of our lives more than social media, and the CMA uses that as a tool in the present, as well as training for future festivals. Schedules for artists, stages and special events were available online days before the event so fans could plan their experience. Special locations such as Music Streaming Lounge at Xfinity Fan Fair X offered hands-on education of music streaming platforms investing in the future. Over the four-day period, conversations around CMA Fest totaled nearly 900 million socially. The CMA Fest app proved its worth with nearly 50,000 total users over the four days. 

"The heart of CMA Fest is supporting new music and the artist discovery and do that through our many engaging marketing and brand partnerships," Damon Whiteshide, CMA chief marketing officer, said. "This year, we took that to the next level by creating an experience that allowed top music streaming platforms to interact with and educate fans directly about the benefits of their services to empower new music discovery." 

CMA Fest 2019 is scheduled for June 6-9. Verified fan pre-sale begins Monday, July 30, with a national on-sale date of Monday, Aug. 6, at cmafest.com/tickets.

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