Nashville’s live music events this year elevated the local economy and generated millions of dollars in visitor spending for the city.
Events like CMA Fest and Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th and giant stadium shows from Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and George Strait all served as catalysts for strong leisure demand and bolstered the city’s tourism numbers.
Additionally, the NHL Draft and the NHL Awards in June and SEC Media Days in July continued to expand Nashville’s stature as a sports city and both brought national TV coverage on ESPN, TNT, the SEC Network and more – with the 2023 NHL Draft in Nashville being the most viewed on record. Both CMA Fest and Let Freedom Sing! were nationally broadcasted as well.
“The summer was chock-full of live music and brought visitors from all over the world to Music City, helping bolster the city’s economic activity,” says Deana Ivey, President & CEO, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp (NCVC). “The city welcomed stadium tours and music events that drove hotel demand to new heights, along with visitation and exposure for the city.”
Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th generated $11.6 million in estimated direct visitor spending for the city. An estimated 250,000 attendees came to Nashville for the free downtown concert and fireworks show, and the event drove hotel room demand on July 4th with an eight percent increase over last year.
Swift’s three-night stand at Nissan Stadium for “The Eras Tour” in May amassed nearly 212,000 people in total. At the time of her performance, Swift set a record for most attendees at Nissan Stadium for a single event each night with 71,000 attendees on Sunday, May 7. Hotel occupancy was through the roof all three nights, notably 96 percent on Saturday, May 6, which was 26 percent higher year over year. The three days combined brought in an estimated $2.2 million in hotel taxes alone.
In July, Sheeran performed at the Ryman Auditorium before setting an attendance record at Nissan Stadium with 73,874 fans on Saturday, July 22, breaking Swift’s recent record. Daily hotel occupancy in the county was 91 percent, up 15 percent year over year.
When Strait performed with Chris Stapleton for two nights in front of sold-out crowds at Nissan Stadium, hotel room demand for these two nights was just as strong as the Swift weekend.
CMA Fest produces the highest level of direct spending of any annual tourism event held in Nashville, with estimated Director Visitor Spend at $74.7 million, an increase from the previous year. The festival saw the number of hotel rooms sold increase three percent from last year and hotel revenue increased by 7.4 percent with an average length of stay of 4.9 nights. 61 percent of visitors said this was their first-time attending CMA Fest, an increase from 2022. The event also saw an increase in international visitors at nine percent.
More highlights from the Nashville CVC’s CMA Fest survey results:
- Average spend in the city’s economy per traveling party: $3,244
- Average size of traveling party: 3.3
- Average length of stay: 4.9 nights
- First-time attendees: 61%
- Likely to attend next year: 94%
- International visitors: 9%
- Accommodations: 69% chose hotels; 15% chose short-term home rentals
- Top five feeder states of visitors: Florida, New York, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio
- Attendees likely to recommend to others from a scale of 0 (not likely) to 10 (very likely): 9.5
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