CMA Fest marked its 50th anniversary in Nashville this past weekend, wrapping on Sunday (June 11) after four straight fun-filled days. The milestone anniversary of the largest and longest-running country music festival in the world brought over 90,000 estimated attendees from all 50 states as well as a record-breaking 51 countries each day, a 12 percent increase from 2022.
Packed lineups of both established and rising acts hit the daytime stages, while Nissan Stadium—which alone saw a 10 percent increase in attendance—and Ascend Amphitheater featured performances by a variety of stars at night.
Parmalee, Lauren Alaina, Ingrid Andress, Priscilla Block, Tyler Braden, Breland, Jackson Dean, Travis Denning, Madeline Edwards, Morgan Evans, Corey Kent, Maddie & Tae and more took the Chevy Riverfront Stage. The Dr Pepper Amp Stage included A Thousand Horses, Avery Anna, Rodney Atkins, Blanco Brown, Craig Campbell, Mackenzie Carpenter, Callista Clark, among others.
Tyler Booth, Dillon Carmichael, Carter Faith, Ryan Griffin, Chapel Hart, Home Free, Kat & Alex, Tiera Kennedy, Brett Kissel, Jerrod Niemann and more serenaded crowds from the Chevy Vibes Stage at Walk of Fame Park, and the Maui Jim Reverb Stage at Bridgestone Plaza hosted the likes of Justin Champagne, Ben Chapman, Kyle Clark, Abbey Cone, Taylor Edwards, Drew Green, Jonathan Hutcherson, Willie Jones, Bryan Martin, Chase McDaniel, Madeline Merlo and more.
Throughout the four days, BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) and Ryman Auditorium gave 19 emerging artists the opportunity to showcase their talent during the Ryman and BMI Block Party. During the event, BMI’s VP of Creative, Nashville Clay Bradley presented The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award to its first-ever recipient, Macy Dot Neal, in honor of the legendary artist.
Fans also headed to Skydeck on Broadway for UMG Nashville’s inaugural Music Is Universal event as well as Spotify House at Ole Red and Fan Fair X in Music City Center, which hosted daily performances on the Spotlight Stage from nearly 50 artists to full audiences. Chapel Hart, Blanco Brown, Adam Doleac, Tiera Kennedy, Kimberly Perry, Mason Ramsey, Randy Travis, Sam Williams, Bailey Zimmerman and many others participated in anticipated meet-and-greets with excited fans.
On Friday (June 9), Wilson and Tractor Supply co-hosted Lainey Wilson’s Bell Bottom Barn Dance presented by Tractor Supply for her fan club at downtown Nashville’s Bell Tower, and Carrie Underwood launched her exclusive year-round SiriusXM channel Carrie’s Country in person from SiriusXM’s Music Row Happy Hour at the Margaritaville Cafe.
On Night One, Nissan Stadium hosted King Calaway, Jo Dee Messina, Jordan Davis, Luke Combs, Carly Pearce, Dan + Shay and special guests on the main stage as well as RVSHVD and Ashley Cooke on the platform stage. Night Two featured Tanya Tucker, Lainey Wilson, Cody Johnson, Miranda Lambert, Jelly Roll, Keith Urban and Hardy along with more surprise guests in addition to Hailey Whitters and Dalton Dover on the platform stage. Johnson surprised special guest Reba McEntire with a Gold plaque for their hit duet “Dear Rodeo” backstage before his set.
Ascend Amphitheater returned for a fifth year with a packed crowd on Friday night. The party started with headliner The Cadillac Three bringing the energy alongside Little Big Town. Additional acts included Boy Named Banjo, Randy Rogers Band, Elvie Shane and Tenille Townes.
Tracy Lawrence, Little Big Town, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi and Eric Church took Nissan’s big stage and Ian Munsick and Alana Springsteen took the platform stage during Night Three.
On Sunday, The Black Excellence Brunch was held at the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) and featured notable Black artists and industry leaders while honoring BMI Executive Director, Creative, Shannon Sanders. After the cancellation of the afternoon shows due to bad weather, Nissan’s Final Night housed thousands of fans as Josh Turner, Ashley McBryde, Dierks Bentley, Tim McGraw and Luke Bryan sang on the main stage and Megan Moroney and Nate Smith served as platform stage performers. Bryan also closed out the final day of CMA Fest with his Nut House at Luke’s 32 Bridge to celebrate 15 years of the fan club.
Ticket proceeds directly benefit music education initiatives across the country through the CMA Foundation. This year, CMA will donate $2.5 million to the CMA Foundation. Additionally, the three-hour primetime concert special CMA Fest was filmed during this year’s festival and will air July 19 on ABC.
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