This week, Nashville is projected to host at least 85,000 people a day for the 2016 CMA Music Festival, and if the bands onstage are doing their job, the good times will roll and new friends will be made.
And if the singles are lucky, maybe they’ll find the one who will rock their world for forever and ever, amen.
For those coming to CMA Fest for a romantic getaway, keep the PDA family-friendly. The reality is the event is really for the kids. Acts performing this week do so for free, with proceeds from the ticket sales supporting music education through the CMA Foundation.
We polled a few artists who have seen it all from the stage and are party-trained in the basics of love at live shows. Public proposals, cat fights, drunk messes, you name it. They’ve seen it.
They want what’s best for their fans — to have a good time and get home safely. And for those looking for that special someone at country concerts this summer, here are a few pro tips on falling in love to the beat of the music.
Survival Tools Are Better Than Beer
“At CMA Fest, bringing a girl a bottle of water — or maybe an umbrella or some sunscreen or a popsicl, or an ice cream — might be better than a beer because it’s just so hot. It’s really like survival dating. You’ve got to get more creative than a beer.” — Frankie Ballard
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Down
“I think a guy at a concert should ask a girl to dance. He should use the upbeat songs to kind of do his thing, look around, maybe get a little confidence. Then on a slow song, go find the girl and say, ‘Hey, let’s dance.’ No one does that anymore.” — Frankie Ballard
Don’t Miss the Slow Songs
“We try to do something for the fellows every single time. We throw it back with Boyz II Men with ‘I’ll Make Love to You’ and that’s like the moment where we kind of make it happen. We kind of give the guys the opportunity to take a girl, wrap her up and do a little slow dancing. It happens. I mean, we see some kissing out there. It gets legit.” — Dan & Shay
No Need to Yell
“You can’t try to talk when the band’s playing. That’s the worst thing ever when you’re yelling at somebody over the music.” — Parmalee’s Matt Thomas
Pick Your Public Proposals Wisely
“We’ve had people that pop the question in the meet-and-greet line before, which is crazy. But that’s cool when you inspire people and you’re part of their moment.” — Matt Thomas
Keep Introductions Simple
“My best advice would be to have confidence. Have the courage to go up to somebody and ask, ‘Hey, how’s it going?’” — Lindsay Ell
Mind the Squad
“Analyze the right time to approach a woman. Don’t interrupt the squad. If you’re going to interrupt the squad, don’t do it during a song they love. If they’re all just hanging out and talking, maybe that’s a little more casual than them singing along to a band. When I’m watching a show, and I’m watching guitar solos, I don’t want anybody to talk to me. I want to be able to watch every single note of what’s going on. The right time is a huge thing.” — Lindsay Ell
Put the Claws and Paws Down
“We’ve had a lot of fights at our shows. And it’s the craziest thing. A lot of times there’s two girls going at it. I don’t know, man. I guess they get all worked up from all the romance onstage. But it’s kind of crazy. It’s weird.” — Thompson Square’s Keifer Thompson
And the Phone Down, Too
“There’s a time and place for cell phones. I understand that there are moments to film and document, but the problem is when you’re watching the show through the lens, you’re not in the moment. How could you be interested in some guy if you’re in the moment and he’s in his phone, texting or videoing the whole show?” — Keifer Thompson
Sneak Attacks Never Work
“I have seen many guys try to sneak a kiss and get slapped. Don’t try it, fellas. It doesn’t work! — Chase Bryant
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Shot Down
“If I saw someone I thought was cute, I’d probably move in their general direction, stand by them for a bit, dance, and just lean over and say, ‘Awesome band/song, right?’ and let the conversation go from there. That’s worked for me. At the end of the day, you just have to put yourself out there. They may not be interested but how do you know unless you try? — Olivia Lane
If All Pickup Lines Fail, There’s Always This …
“’Hey, do you like country music?’” That would be a good one. — Frankie Ballard