CMT Booth Brings Stars to the Fans

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It’s not unusual at Fan Fair to hear screams and cheers of excitement when an artist is in the vicinity, and that means the cheering at the CMT booth on the Fair’s exhibit floor is pretty much nonstop. From the time the doors open at 10 a.m. until the last fan files out late in the afternoon, country artists appear in the booth for an hour apiece to sign autographs, smile and wave at the gathered throngs and to pose for pictures with their admirers.

The popularity of the CMT booth increases each year, requiring more space, more traffic control and more security. CMT is so popular at the fair this year that artists sign autographs in the booth on one side of the exhibit hall while the CMT Truck conducts games, prize drawings and CMT merchandise giveaways on the other. Both areas boast a constant stream of fans, waiting for the opportunity to get a CMT T-shirt or to snap a photo of their favorite artist. And for the first time, CMT is giving its viewers at home a greater opportunity to participate in Fan Fair by showing live and taped interviews with artists every 30 minutes throughout the day. Hit Trip host Jeff Ross, former Hit Trip host Heather Joel and CMT Most Wanted Live host Lance Smith are keeping the artists in touch with network viewers while creating excitement for fans in the exhibit hall. Artists seen during the two-minute television cut-ins are Brad Paisley , Terri Clark , Sara Evans , Jessica Andrews , SHeDAISY , Andy Griggs , Billy Ray Cyrus and others.

Although the lines to meet the stars are long, fans don’t mind the wait. The CMT booth features large monitors that play music videos for people to watch while artists sit inside the booth to sign autographs. CMT staff is on hand to make sure that as many fans as possible get to meet the stars, and they even take pictures for people while the artists pose with them. Just outside the main exhibit floor, another contingent of patient fans awaits their turn to get inside.

Andrew Larson of Des Moines, Iowa, came away from his meeting with Andrews with a smile on his face. “I love being here,” said the five-time Fan Fair attendee. “I love to see the stars and get autographs from anyone I can meet. I wish Shania Twain was here, but I’m still having fun.”

Lynn Swiney of Pikeville, Ky., was waiting for Gary Allan to appear in the CMT booth. “I love Alan Jackson and wanted to see him here,” she said. “But I think Gary Allan is great, too. I like [Allan’s song] “Right Where I Need to Be.”

The artists enjoy the experience, too. “I’m in a great mood today,” announced Clark to the crowd. “This is so much fun.” Evans reminisced of earlier years with a friend of a friend, while Elbert West traded kisses for autographs with his smiling fans. Everyone involved seemed to be buzzing with Fan Fair energy.

Nine-year-old Sara Dew of North Carolina clutched her newly signed photo of Evans. “I like her, she’s nice,” she said of meeting the singer. “She’s also a really good singer.”

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