CMA Music Festival Generates Record $46.8 Million in Spending

Chase Rice performs at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage on Friday, June 12 during the 2015 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville.

Chase Rice performs at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage on Friday, June 12 during the 2015 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville.

The 2015 CMA Music Festival generated a record $46.8 million in direct visitor spending, an increase of $7.5 million over last year according to numbers released by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp (NCVC) today (July 9).

“The CMA Music Festival is a big part of our brand as Music City, and the event’s enormous economic impact through direct visitor spending is a great thing for Nashville,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “The CMA Foundation’s contribution of instruments to Metro Schools students further strengthens the festival’s positive impact. I appreciate both the CVC and CMA as incredible partners in bringing more visitors to Nashville and congratulate them for the continued growth and success of CMA Fest.”

This year’s CMA Music Festival sold out seven months in advance prompting a record-setting daily attendance of 87,680 fans—besting 2014 numbers by 9.6 percent, the CMA reported in June. According to the NCVC, the estimated number of room nights for festival attendees was 158,000—up from 150,000 last year—and the average length of stay was 5.2 days.

“As the city’s largest event, CMA Music Fest continues to outperform itself year after year, generating more visitor spending than any other event and providing prime-time national TV exposure for Music City,” said Ken Levitan, chairman of the NCVC board of directors and president of Vector Management. “The CMA’s expansion of the footprint, offering more free music than ever before and extending event days all resulted in record spending, record attendance and record room nights sold. These figures show the CMA’s strategy of keeping the event at an affordable value is important to the overall growth of the event.”

For the first time, the NCVC was able to calculate non-ticket holder direct spending, which represents an additional $13.6 million in direct visitor spending, driving total spending to $60.4 million.

“We worked very hard this year to let local and regional residents know that you don’t need a four-day ticket to enjoy this event,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “There were seven free stages throughout downtown and it’s rewarding to see our attendance increase in those areas. It is especially nice when you consider the positive impact on the city, which has been an outstanding partner.”

In addition, the NCVC’s survey results showed:

83 percent of attendees traveled more than 50 miles
46 percent of attendees were attending for the first time
87 percent indicated they were likely to return next year
55 percent have an annual household income of $75,000 or more
10 percent of visitors were from international markets

The figures are based on the NCVC’s onsite/in-person surveying of 2,219 attendees during the event in June.


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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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