"To meet the outstanding sell out of 2010 again in 2011 speaks volumes about the strength of this event, the dedication of our fans, the support of our local community, and the popularity of our music and artists," said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer.
In 2010, Festival attendance jumped 16.7 percent over 2009 when attendance was 56,000. The 65,000 attendance in 2011 includes four-day ticket packages, promotional and single night tickets, as well as attendance in non-ticketed zones and events.
"Last year there was a terrific amount of support for our event following the floods that ravaged our city," Moore said. "We hit a benchmark that was higher than anyone expected and to meet that number again this year is an accomplishment and speaks directly to the music."
Despite record-setting temperatures in Nashville, attendance in the numerous free Zones, public events, and concert venues was equally strong. In fact, there was record attendance Saturday at Chevrolet Riverfront Park with more than 25,000 fans attending the free concerts throughout the day on the sloping bank of the Cumberland River.
"Eighty percent of our four-day ticket holders come from outside of Tennessee," said Moore. "And we are seeing gains with our locals who are coming out to support our free areas and purchasing a growing number of tickets to attend the single night concerts at LP Field."
According to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, the direct visitor spending generated by CMA Music Festival in 2010 was approximately $24 million, about $1 million above the 2009 figure, easily the top annual generator of tourist income in Nashville. And it appears that 2011 was a boon to business again. Figures for 2011 will be released by the NCVB at a later date.
"Almost unbelievably, this event continues to get bigger and better every year," said Butch Spyridon, President of the NCVB. "CMA Fest is not only Country Music's biggest bash, it's Nashville's too, and we anticipate record spending again this year."
"CMA Music Festival is obviously one of our busiest weeks of the year," said Julien Salley Jr., Senior Sales and Marketing Manager, Hard Rock Cafe Nashville. "We really have no choice but to open up doors an hour earlier than usual and keep the lights on as late as possible. We order much more stock than usual as well as other items. We even need to order a tent outside to keep everyone cool as they're waiting to get inside."
Rory Musil, General Manager of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, maximizes the positive impact of the Festival on his bottom line by taking note of who has been confirmed to perform. "We try to keep our store extremely well stocked year-round," he said. "But I would say that CMA Music Festival week is the equivalent of the Christmas season for mall retailers. It's really when we do a large chunk of our business."
CMA Music Festival was a boon to downtown businesses, but it also benefits music education in Music City. The artists and celebrities participating in CMA Music Festival donate their time. They are not compensated for the hours they spend signing autographs and performing. In appreciation of their exhaustive efforts, CMA donates half the net proceeds from the event to music education on their behalf through a partnership with the Nashville Alliance for Public Education called "Keep the Music Playing." To date, CMA has donated $4.7 million.
"CMA has consistently kept its commitment to music education and stood behind it," said Pam Tidwell, NAPE Executive Director. "This is how you make great things happen, with consistency over time. I always want to thank the artists. Their contributions are such an enormous benefit. This program has made a difference in the lives of so many children. The bigger this gets the more impact it has. It gets better and better."
"This was an exciting year for the partnership with CMA and Metro Nashville Public Schools," said Carol Crittenden, Coordinator, Visual and Performing Arts, Metro Nashville Public Schools. "For the first time, we had a volunteer marching band made up of students from five of our high schools participate in the CMA Festival Parade. We also had 51 music teachers drive press vans throughout the Festival and some of them volunteered for two or more shifts. It gave us a wonderful opportunity to share our stories with press from all over the world about our partnership with CMA and the great contribution they have made to music education in Nashville."
CMA's valued partners are contributing to the cause, too.
For the second consecutive year, longtime partner Chevrolet invited music industry professionals to a pre-Festival Industry Test Drive. Held at CMA on June 3, the event featured the electric Volt, and a wide variety of Chevrolet cars and trucks. For every test drive, Chevrolet will donate $25 to CMA's Keep the Music Playing program.
"If you look at what Chevrolet represents, it's about giving your everyday person a chance to accomplish something," said Phil Caruso, Chevrolet National Promotion Manager. "With our close relationship to CMA, it was natural for us to give back through Keep the Music Playing, which is a great cause not only for Country Music but also for Chevrolet to help young, up-and-coming artists who want to try to make it."
Gildan made use of the Festival to break the Guinness World Record for Largest T-shirt. Unveiled at Centennial Park, the tee measures 180.9 feet by 281.3 feet, nearly the size of a football field, weighed two tons, and took six weeks to make. An equivalent amount of fabric will be used to create 12,000 T-shirts that will be distributed to Metro music students through Keep the Music Playing.
"We're excited to not only break the Guinness World Record but also, more importantly, to align with Keep the Music Playing through our donation. Music education is so important to today's youth and we're thrilled to support the cause," said Randy Brown, Gildan Vice President Retail Sales.
Corporate brand partnerships are a key element to the marketing, fan experience, and financial support of the Festival. More than 45 different brands participated in the CMA Music Festival - generating a combined activation and consumer engagements of more than 924,000, which was significantly higher than the 700,000 figure in 2010. These various engagement elements included product sampling, dedicated registrations and sales leads, and brand impressions.
Jack Daniel's has long had ties to music, and this marks our second year of partnership with CMA," said Jennifer Powell, Jack Daniel's Senior Brand Manager. "Our USO/Toast to the Troops campaign resonates with Country Music fans - and friends of Jack Daniel's, alike - and we're excited for CMA Music Fest attendees to learn more about this program through the eyes of our partner and military veteran Craig Morgan."
"We are excited to be a part of the Festival in a larger way than in the past and happy to extend our partnership that has been in place for many years," said Cindy Hutchings, American Airlines Promotions Manager Midwest Region. "Country Music fans from all over the world have always been a major part of our business. Now our larger partnership has allowed us to increase the number of flights to Nashville, reopen the Admiral's Club, and retain flights we wouldn't have been able to otherwise."
CMA Music Festival, which started as Fan Fair in 1972, is about the fans and their relationship with the artists and the music.
The theme is universal and in 2011, Festival attendees came from all 50 states and from 26 countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.
Tickets for 2012 CMA Music Festival, which will be held Thursday through Sunday, June 7-10, go on sale Saturday, July 30 (10:00 AM/CT). Tickets were previously announced to go on sale during the event however due to the high demand for renewals from 2011 ticketholders that are still being processed, the date was pushed back to ensure the best possible seating options for the Festival's loyal fans.
Fans can order tickets for 2012 CMA Music Festival by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378). To purchase tickets online, visit www.CMAfest.com or www.Ticketmaster.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the Bridgestone Arena Box Office. Prices do not include applicable handling fees. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice. All sales are final and non-refundable. Four-day ticket package categories correspond to a different level of seating at LP Field. Children 3 years and younger are admitted free.
2012 CMA Music Festival Four Day Ticket Package Prices
Lower Level Premium-$225
Club Level Premium-$180
Upper Level Reserved-$125
Upper Level General Admission-$115
2011 CMA Music Festival Research Recap
The 2011 CMA Music Festival offered new opportunities for the CMA to better understand the Country Music fan. Three different research studies were conducted during this years' CMA Music Festival. More than 600 one-on-one interviews were conducted using iPads asking attendees questions ranging from size of travel party to participation in social networks.
More than 1,300 Festival attendees registered to become a CMA Insider. A CMA Insider will be part of an exclusive group of Country Music enthusiasts who share their opinions and provide feedback to shape the future growth of Country Music.
In addition, more than 100 Festival attendees were recruited to participate in a mobile interactive qualitative study over the four-day event. The mobile interactive qualitative study provided rich user generated results.
Top line research findings from the 2011 CMA Music Festival:
- · Average age: 38.6
- · 69% are college educated
- · 85% are active on Facebook with 74 percent visiting Facebook more than once a day
- · Average travel party size was 3.2
- · Satisfaction level is extremely high with 94 percent of the respondents stating they plan to return to next years' Festival
Highlights of 2011 CMA Music Festival
The Seventh Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade wound through Downtown Nashville on Wednesday before an estimated 16,000 cheering spectators. Country Music Hall of Fame member Bill Anderson and The Oak Ridge Boys served as Co-Grand Marshals. First-time parade participants included the Budweiser Clydesdales, the City of Hope Charity Softball Tournament, a fleet of Harley-Davidsons, and the Rascal Flatts Big Machine Camaro with designs by West Coast Customs.
Following the procession, the fun kicked into high gear with "The Sixth Annual CMA Music Festival Block Party." An estimated 14,500 fans gathered at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage for a beautiful a cappella rendition of the national anthem by Carter's Chord, followed by full tilt performances from Josh Thompson, Lee Brice, The Eli Young Band, Uncle Kracker, and Randy Houser.
Nightly Concerts at LP Field
The Nightly Concerts at LP Field featured a variety of artists representing the four decades of the Festival. In all, 43 artists participated in the star-packed performances.
Each night at LP Field, a special recorded announcement played on the Jumbotron from Chris Evans, star of the movie "Captain America: The First Avenger." After announcing "Hey, Nashville, hope everyone's having a great time," Evans introduced a clip of the upcoming summer blockbuster.
Pre-show activities Thursday included pre-taped remarks from television personalities including "E! News" Co-Hosts Giuliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest; Craig Ferguson, host of "The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson"; Mario Lopez, host of "Extra"; Robin Roberts of "Good Morning America"; and all the hosts of "The View" (Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Sherri Shepherd) congratulating CMA on the Festival's 40th anniversary.
Artists also recorded their well wishes including Alabama, Bill Anderson, Little Big Town, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood. Welcoming remarks followed from CMA's Moore, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, who declared: "There are lots of great places to live in the world - but nothing beats Tennessee!"
Performing Thursday were Zac Brown Band with guests Alan Jackson, Amos Lee, Sonia Leigh, and Randy Travis; Sara Evans; Jason Aldean, with special guest Kelly Clarkson; and Brad Paisley, with surprise guest Alabama. "American Idol" alumnus Casey James delivered a solo acoustic set, and the national anthem was sung by The Isaacs.
"The last time I was here was three years ago," Evans announced to the welcoming audience. "It is so great to be back at CMA Music Fest!"
Ashton Shepheard, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Keith Urban, and Reba performed on Friday. Shania Twain made a surprise appearance to introduce Sugarland, and Jake Owen joined Urban on "Don't Think I Can't Love You." The Cleverly's and Clay Walker did acoustic sets, and Paul Harris of The Cleverly's delivered a stand-up comedy performance. Gary Morris sang the national anthem to open the show.
"CMA, we love you so much," said Lady Antebellum's Dave Haywood. "You have changed our lives!"
"This is the greatest week of the year," said Walker. "God bless the CMA and the CMA Music Festival fans!"
Performing Saturday were Chris Young, Little Big Town, Josh Turner, Trace Adkins, Martina McBride, and Rascal Flatts. Clint Black and Thompson Square performed acoustic sets. It was a night of surprises with Big & Rich and guest Gretchen Wilson making an unannounced appearance; and special guest appearances by "American Idol" 2011 winner Scotty McCreery (with Turner), "American Idol" 2011 runner-up Lauren Alaina (with McBride), and Little Big Town (with Rascal Flatts). In addition, reigning "Celebrity Apprentice" John Rich introduced "Celebrity Apprentice" runner-up Adkins' set.
Thanking his fans for offering support and assistance after losing his home to a fire exactly one week prior, Adkins added: "Please take that feeling of generosity and point it somewhere else. Give it to the Red Cross or somebody like that because we're OK."
Moved by the powerful audience response to her performance of "A Broken Wing," McBride, with deep emotion, said, "I wish you all could know what that feels like to me. I have been so inspired by you guys this week. I love y'all so much and you're the reason that I do this."
And more in the spirit of a celebration, midway through Rascal Flatts' closing set, Joe Don Rooney called out, "I know it's getting late, but we love you guys so much, so we want to keep the party rockin'!"
The Sunday lineup featured the Janedear girls, The Band Perry, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Taylor Swift, who closed the Festival. Adkins returned for a guest appearance with Shelton, and The Pistol Annies (featuring Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley) performed during Lambert's set. Eden's Edge sang the national anthem. Jimmy Wayne, Eli Young Band and Tracy Lawrence performed acoustic sets.
"I've been waiting to play on this stage for 13 years," said Wayne. "Thank you all so much for listening and for your support."
"I know we have stuff to do tomorrow, but I don't give a crap about that," said Shelton just before beginning his set. "How about we raise a little Hell?"
"They told me it would be alright if I just stood up on stage and told my stories," said Swift. "There's just one question. Are you ready?"
Hosts at LP Field included Bill Anderson and Steve Wariner on Thursday; Clay Walker and GAC on-air personality Storme Warren on Friday; Evan Farmer and Kristin Chenoweth on Saturday; and Warren again on Sunday.
Chevrolet Riverfront Stage
"Good to see everyone up so early. I was hoping someone would actually be out here with me," said Gary Allan as he opened his set - and four days of music - at the popular daytime Chevrolet Riverfront Stage in front of one of the biggest opening day crowds on record.
The stage bustled with a roster of outstanding performers delivering longer sets for the appreciative crowd. In all, 45 acts performed nearly 31 hours of concerts over the four days.
Lay's Stage at Bridgestone Arena Plaza
The single stage at Riverfront made it easier between sets for fans to experience some of the other daytime concert venues including the Lay's Stage at the Bridgestone Arena Plaza, where the lineup included 35 acts performing more than 26 hours of concerts. The lineup included up-and-comers, established stars, and legends.
Fan Fairr Hall
The state of continuous commotion that's been the standard for Fan Fair Hall was back in force with 443 artists and celebrities appearing at the Nashville Convention Center - well over the 253 who appeared in 2010. All exhibit booths were sold out in advance of the event.
Average Fan Fair hall attendance was just under 14,000 each of the event's four days. The Fan Fair Hall was exclusive to four-day ticket holders.
Among the artists and celebrities who appeared were Adkins, who signed at the Waggin' Train booth; "American Idol" favorites McCreery and Alaina, who met with 150 fans for two hours at the CMA booth; Jason Michael Carroll, who stayed for half an hour after the exhibit hall closed to finish signing autographs and meet fans; Billy Ray Cyrus, who signed at the CMA booth and continued signing for another half hour as he exited the building; Dolly Parton, who met with 40 lucky fans in honor of the 40th anniversary of the event and posed for photos for the huge crowd of onlookers. It was her first appearance in the Fan Fair hall in more than three decades. Chris Young, signed multiple days, for multiple hours.
Some of the largest numbers of autograph seekers were drawn by Bill Anderson, Laura Bell Bundy, Kristin Chenoweth, Easton Corbin, Charlie Daniels, Diamond Rio, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Justin Moore, Kellie Pickler, Montgomery Gentry, Craig Morgan, David Nail, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, Ricky Skaggs, Steel Magnolia, Clay Walker, and Darryl Worley. And for the second year in a row, the new tradition of a Sunday morning line dance through the aisles of the Fan Fair Hall continued by CMA event staff and was led by Lulu Roman.
Dedicated fans camped on the street outside of the Exhibit Hall starting at 11:00 AM/CT on Wednesday - a new record - for an opportunity to be first in line to meet their favorite stars when the Fan Fair Hall opened at 10:00 AM Thursday.
Durangor Boots returned to present the Acoustic Corner, which launched in 2004 as a showcase for independent artists, and featured 46 solo or group performers. The area on the second floor of the Convention Center hosted a steady stream of fans during nearly 20 hours of music. All performances were broadcast and streamed live by WSM-AM Nashville, including interviews conducted by on-air personalities Bill Cody, Joe Limardi, Charlie Mattos and Eddie Stubbs. WSM's daytime signal is heard by as many as 35,000 listeners in 27 states, with nearly half a million throughout the United States tuning in to their online stream.
City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge
An official CMA Music Festival event in 2011, the Saturday morning game pitted two teams of Country stars against each other at Greer Stadium. The 9-5 win went to Team "After Midnight with Blair Garner" (including Jaron and the Long Road to Love, David Nail, Chuck Wicks and more) over Team Grand Ole Opry (Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Robin Meade, "American Idol" winner McCreery and more). Proceeds from tickets to the game will be donated to City of Hope to fund research into curing cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.
Ultimate Air Dogs
Another fan favorite, the Ultimate Air dogs, hosted canine dock-jumping competitions throughout the four-day event, leading to the finals on Sunday. Winners were Shela, a Jack Russell owned by Sarah McDougall in the Novice category (8'1"); Clay, a mixed breed owned by McDougall, in the Junior category (9'2"); Deacon, a German Shorthaired Pointer owned by Stacy Kulpit, in the Senior category (18'1"); and Trout, a German Shepherd owned by Pat Trainor, in the Ultimate category (25'4").
Premiere on the Air
CMA's official radio partner, Premiere Radio Networks, brought 18 of Country radio's top-rated stations, plus syndicated radio programs "After MidNite with Blair Garner" and "Crook & Chase," to Nashville for three days of remote broadcasts from the Nashville Convention Center. Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Cleveland-Akron, Columbus, Los Angeles, Louisville, Nashville, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, St. Louis, San Diego, Seattle, and Tampa were among the markets represented by Premiere. More than 70 artists and celebrities participated in the remotes. In total, approximately 13.5 million audience members heard the remote broadcasts or viewed through station Internet sites.
Dancing in the Streets
The free Family Zone was buzzing during CMA Music Festival with activities for youngsters and the young at heart. On Thursday on the Family Zone Main Stage, Gloriana served as final-round judges of their Music Video Dance Contest, The winner, Jordan Williams, 16, of South Haven, Miss., will appear in an upcoming video by the group. "I'm so excited to be in y'all's video," she exclaimed as Gloriana posed with her for photos.
Commemorating 4 decades of Fan Fair, CMA hosted a 40th Birthday Party, where fans enjoyed 500 free, mini Gigi's Cupcakes. Forty lucky fans won birthday presents from CMA, with popular presents including an iPad, a 32" LED HDTV, a Blu-Ray player, tickets to future CMA Music Festival events and this November's CMA Awards, and more.
Sporting competitions with fans and celebrities are a popular feature of the Festival. Fort Nashboro (adjacent to Riverfront Park) was home to several exciting events. On Friday the Field & Stream Celebrity Total Outdoorsman Challenge pitted artists and celebrities against each other, testing their skills in fly casting, archery, and air rifle shooting. The overall winner was Lucas Hoge, followed by Ty Brown and Chris Reed in second and third place.
Good Causes Benefit
This year's YWCA Celebrity Auction with Martina McBride, which supports the Weaver Domestic Violence Center, drew more than $154,000 in bids - an increase of nearly 50 percent more than in 2010, according to Gail Sonia, Director of Special Events at the Nashville YWCA.
The Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund also held an auction in the Family Zone, offering "Guitars for the Stars" to raise money for members of the Country Music community in need. The top bid, from Nancy Lei, of Columbus, Ohio, was $8,000 for a guitar owned and decorated by Carrie Underwood; the total amount raised was $23,000.
CMA credentialed more than 770 journalists/photographers/camera crew members representing more than 210 domestic and international media outlets including: ABC News Radio, AOL/The Boot, Associated Press Television, BBC Radio 2 (UK), "Better TV," Billboard, CBC (Canada), Cork Evening Echo (Ireland), Country Music Channel (Australia), "CMT Insider," Country Aircheck, Country Weekly, "E! News," FOX News Channel, Gray Communications, "Headline Country," MSN.com, Music Row, OK! Magazine, People, Premiere Radio Network, Reuters, RTL (France), Sirius/XM Radio, Tennessean, TV Guide, TV Guide Network, US Magazine, UPI, USA Today, USA Today.com, Yahoo! Music, and more.
International media outlets came from the following countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
For the second year, CMA enlisted volunteers for the Festival. More than 400 people stepped up from across the country and around the world to volunteer their time for various jobs including the Fun Team, shuttle drivers, assisting with the Gildan World's Largest T-shirt event, managing lines at the Fan Fair Hall, as well as balloon and banner holders for the Kick Off Parade.
ABC Television Special
As previously announced, the Festival was filmed for a three-hour television special "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" to air later this summer. Robert Deaton is the Executive Producer. The special was shot in high definition and will be broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound.
This is the seventh year the show will air on ABC. The primetime event debuted on the CBS Television Network in 2004. The special features stadium concerts and intimate club-like performances with behind-the-ropes access to the artists.
On the Web
New digital applications made it easier for younger fans to get involved creatively with CMA Music Festival. The numbers tell the story: More than 30,000 downloads of the CMA app for Android and iPhone took place during the Festival - a remarkable 566 percent increase over the figures for 2010. Fans downloaded more than 7,000 customized Festival schedules.
Membership in the CMA MOB (mobile database) increased by 8,000, bringing the total to 140,000 subscribers. Traffic on CMAfest.com increased by 6 percent over the 2010 numbers. And more than 30,000 unique fans texted comments to the Jumbotrons in LP Field during the four evening concerts.
Fans who engaged with CMA's digital properties had access to exclusive promotions and chances to win. Prizes such as LP Field Gold Circle seat upgrades; Fan Photo Line Fast passes; meet-and-greet passes for Shania Twain, Dolly Parton, Kellie Pickler and Darius Rucker; tickets to the City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game, the CMA Fan Social presented by CMT, and the 2012 CMA Music Festival; and more were awarded through CMA's on-site text program, plus social media scavenger hunts via Facebook and Twitter.
For up-to-the-minute information about tickets, travel information, schedules, artists appearing at 2012 CMA Music Festival and more, visit www.CMAfest.com. Sign up for CMA Exclusive, the official eNewsletter of Country Music, where fans get connected to Country and receive exciting updates about your favorite artists, contests, free stuff, and more. Join the free CMA Mobile Community by texting CMAINFO to 66937 (standard text rates apply).