CMA to Present Inaugural Touring Musician Award During 2011 CMA Music Festival

NASHVILLE - The Country Music Association's longstanding commitment to honoring excellence in the Country genre will be expanded to honor the hard work of touring instrumentalists and background vocalists through the new CMA Touring Musician Award. The inaugural award will be presented during the 2011 CMA Music Festival, held Thursday through Sunday, June 9-12, in downtown Nashville.

The Touring Musician Award was established by the CMA Board of Directors and will be presented annually at CMA Music Festival. This Award will be given in recognition of a touring musician who is known primarily as an instrumentalist or background vocalist in a non-headlining capacity. In order to qualify, a musician must have toured with an artist in the Country Music industry.

"The Awards and Recognition Committee felt that it was time for CMA to recognize the amazing talent, accomplishments and contributions of our touring musicians and vocalists," said Ed Hardy, Chairman of CMA's Awards and Recognition Committee and President of Great American Country (GAC) Television. "These performers play a significant role in the quality of entertainment that our artists' tours bring to their fans day in and day out. We are excited that the first will be awarded in 2011."

"CMA represents professionals in all areas of the Country Music industry, and we're delighted to shine a spotlight on this important part of our community," said CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore.

Beginning Tuesday, May 10, CMA members in the Affiliated, Artist, Musician, Personal Manager, Talent Agent/Promoter, and Talent Buyer categories will be able to nominate and vote for the award recipient. Final ballots must be submitted by 5:00 PM on Tuesday, May 24.