The 2009 CMA Music Festival doesn’t officially start until June 11, but the early momentum should prove to be stronger than usual, thanks to a rare club appearance by Alan Jackson and added star power in the kick-off parade and block party concert. All three events will take place June 10 in downtown Nashville.
Jackson’s appearance at Cadillac Ranch, a restaurant and bar on Lower Broadway, was announced Tuesday (June 2). His concert is free and open to the public. However, the venue’s Web site lists a capacity of 1,000 patrons, so it’s a given that the superstar’s show will be one of the hottest tickets of the entire CMA Music Festival.
Admission to the show will be on a first come, first served basis. Wristbands for entrance will be distributed at the front doors of Cadillac Ranch beginning at 4:30 p.m. following the fifth annual CMA Music Festival kick-off parade. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m.
Jackson’s concert celebrates his 20th anniversary as a recording artist. He signed his contract with Arista Nashville in June 1989 and released his debut album, Here in the Real World, in 1990.
The festival kick-off parade begins at 2 p.m. with Rodney Atkins serving as grand marshal. Most of the parade is routed along Broadway before ending at the Sommet Center. The 2008 parade failed to bring out a lengthy list of familiar artists, but that’s not the case this year. Participants are scheduled to include Deborah Allen, Lynn Anderson, Katie Armiger, Mandy Barnett, Bo Bice, Bomshel, Caitlin & Will, the Carter Twins, Jeff Cook (Alabama), Brad Cotter, Sarah Darling, Due West, Dan Evans (The Biggest Loser), Colt Ford, the Grascals, Halfway to Hazard, Heartland, Ty Herndon, Steve Holy, Jypsi, Kate & Kacey, Sammy Kershaw, Brenda Lee, the LoCash Cowboys, Lonestar, the Lost Trailers, Justin Moore, Megan Munroe, the Oak Ridge Boys, One Flew South, Michael Peterson, Collin Raye, Ricochet, Rio Grand, Brady Seals, Sunny Sweeney, Trent Tomlinson, Trent Willmon and Chris Young. NASCAR drivers Jeff Burton and Robert Richardson will also be featured.
Following the parade, the fourth annual CMA Music Festival block party will take place in front of the Sommet Center. Rodney Atkins will headline the free concert that begins shortly after 3 p.m. with a performance by Trent Tomlinson. The show will also include sets by the LoCash Cowboys, Jason Michael Carroll, the Lost Trailers, James Otto, Emerson Drive and Eric Church. The concert is scheduled to end shortly before 8 p.m.
The CMA Music Festival officially begins June 11 with Gretchen Wilson’s 10 a.m. performance on the Riverfront Park stage. The festival runs through June 14 and includes four full days of free daytime concerts at Riverfront Park and ticketed shows nightly at LP Field.