CBS-TV will chronicle this year’s CMA Music Festival (formerly known as Fan Fair) in a two-hour special to be broadcast this summer. The Country Music Association announced the impending special Tuesday (March 16) during a media party at Nashville’s Coliseum, the site of the festival’s major-label concerts. CBS-TV is also the network home of the CMA and Academy of Country Music awards shows.
In addition, the CMA revealed it will add a sports zone component to the June 10-13 festival that will feature the Bassmaster Tour Expo presented by BASS, the world’s largest fishing organization. The expo will include merchandise displays and sales, activities for children, interactive exhibits and a fishing tournament that will pair country artists with professional anglers. Andy Griggs’ third annual archery tournament will be part of the sports zone as well.
Among the artists attending the media party were Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn, Chely Wright, Pinmonkey and Memarie. Brooks, the CMA’s current board president, observed that no musical festival since Woodstock has been chronicled the way CBS-TV plans to cover the Nashville event. Besides the onsite concert and backstage footage, there will be segments that follow fans and artists on their way to the event. CMA executive director Ed Benson promised the special will spotlight lots of new artists. To date, Benson noted, 188 artists and celebrities have signed on for this year’s festival. More than 400 participated last year.
Top major label acts will appear at the Coliseum, while older and lesser known performers will work the Riverfront Park stages directly across the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville. A recently opened pedestrian bridge connects these two venues. Half of the income generated by the artists’ performances — over $300,000 so far — is donated to charities of their choice.
The CMA Music Festival now applies the Fan Fair label to the artist booths and related displays which will again be located in the Nashville Convention Center’s exhibit hall.
Benson said the festival’s new slogan is “Country Music’s Biggest Party.”