The 2015 Country Music Festival (CMA Fest) drew a record-setting daily attendance of 87,000 fans this year. It was up 9.6 percent compared to last year. Festival goers braved the heat at the Riverfront Stage and for the first time in the festival’s history it hit capacity on Saturday afternoon with 25,000 loyal fans. Visitors this year came from all 50 states and 20 countries. The rise in digital participation was also predominant, not only from those not in attendance, but those who were in town who found the CMA Fest app very helpful in planning their events. The artists were also very active in getting their information out to the masses through the digital world as well.
We were able to work out a last-minute set up for me to attend this year, which I was thrilled to do. For those who have been you will understand my statement, and for those who have not take heed: ‘You CANNOT be everywhere all at once.’ There is so much going on at many different times and places it is just impossible to get it all done. My thought process has been to focus on what is most important to you during the festival and how you can accomplish it. There are Fan Club parties, concerts, autograph sessions, parties and more parties. Any trip is what you make it out to be and CMA Fest is no exception. I had little time, focused on what I knew I could do and made the best of it. I did miss some artists I truly wanted to see but the times just did not work out.
The easiest way for me to share some of this is put together a video of some of what I did. Had some wonderful experiences with new people I had met, as well as with friends who I had already known. The Montgomery Gentry and Ray Scott Fan parties were fun adventures all to themselves. Caught shows with Brian Collins, and Matt Kennon as part of Combat Boots & Country Roots event for the Soldiers Wish Organization. Also caught up with April Kry at the Hard Rock stage and James Carothers at the rooftop bar in the George Jones Museum. The talent alone with these artists is lacking the attention they deserve. As you walk around downtown there is no shortage of good music resonating from all the local honky tonks which are filled to capacity. One of my favorite highlights aside from all the music and fun is the opportunity to talk with people from all over the country and the world, I never tire of listening to their adventures. Oh and let’s not forget kudos to the Southern hospitality along with the good food and drink I had the pleasure to experience.
I appreciated the opportunity to be in attendance this year, a short but very sweet trip. I want to thank my hostess where I stayed, all the PR people who were so helpful and gracious, the Lyft drivers who were all a hoot, and the good Lord for keeping me safe in my travels. Next year? Well it just might happen, one never knows.
Check out more from the artists, and events we experienced: