The Country Music Association has denied a request from the Music Row Democrats to rent a booth in the exhibit hall at the upcoming CMA Music Festival (formerly known as Fan Fair).
A spokesman for the CMA confirmed the turndown and explained
it with this statement: "Just like the country music fan base, CMA is made up of artists and industry professionals who embrace
a variety of political philosophies. It would be inappropriate to allow one political party to have a booth in the Wrangler®
Fan Fair (Exhibit Hall) without inviting all political parties to participate. While we appreciate the value of the political
process, it is not our intention to turn this unique experience for fans into a political arena."
The Music Row Democrats
was established late last year, in part to counter the perception that country music is an exclusively conservative domain.
Its founders include talent manager Bob Titley, Universal South Records' senior partner Tim DuBois, attorney and talent manager
Bill Carter and songwriter and producer Don Cook.
In addition to generating significant local coverage, the organization
has also been written about in Newsweek and MSNBC.com.