A Sizzlin’ Survival Guide to the CMA Music Festival

Prepare for Hot Weather, Construction and a Terrific Time in Nashville

The CMA Music Festival is right around the corner in Nashville. And while you might be a little overwhelmed as you pack and plan your pilgrimage to the country music mecca, have no fear: We’ve got a list of essentials you’ll need to prepare for the most incredible country music experience this side of Eric Church’s latest album.

This year, the corner is likely to be under construction as Music City continues to expand with more new condos and businesses than you can count around downtown Nashville. With appearances by Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, the Zac Brown Band and scores of other top stars, careful planning and navigation will pay off during the festival that runs Thursday-Sunday (June 11-14).

Sharpies … and a Working Camera

You’ll want to be prepared if you plan to brave the autograph line during CMA Fest, so keep an extra Sharpie on hand and make sure your camera is ready to go! The lines move quickly, and with everyone from Little Big Town to Darius Rucker to icon Brenda Lee and even Hee Haw’s Lulu Roman scheduled to appear for signings, you won’t want to risk missing the chance to snag a signature or capture the moment forever.


Bring your favorite pair or buy a new set while you’re there, but whatever you do, do not get caught strutting around downtown without a kick-ass pair of cowboy boots. You will be the Lone Ranger -- and not in a wonderful, Western kind of way. Just make sure they’re broken in and comfortable. Much of downtown shuts down for the festival -- so those boots will definitely need to be made for walkin’. And if you decide comfort trumps style, you’ll be happy if you pack a pair of athletic shoes and thick socks.

Headwear and Sunscreen

You’ll be spending much of your time outdoors, and the Tennessee sun can catch you by surprise. A hat or cap and some sunscreen will keep you healthy and happy as the week progresses.

Things to Leave at Home

Tiny purses, high heels, long-sleeved plaid shirts, fanny packs, bad attitudes and fightin’ words.

Suggested Theme Songs

For the ladies: “Little Red Wagon” by Miranda Lambert

For the Guys: “Drunk on a Plane” by Dierks Bentley

Your Music Playlist

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