Don’t be sad that it is over, smile because it happened. The 2013 CMA Festival has sadly come and gone, but it has left thousands anticipating next year’s event.
Downtown Nashville accompanied some of the greatest country music sensations as stages were set on fire from the energetic performances which ensued throughout the festival week. The Bud Light Stage, The Chevrolet Riverfront Stage and HGTV’s The Lodge were home to some of the free concerts that were generously offered to eager fans from artist such as Sara Evans, Kip Moore, Gloriana, Jerrod Niemann, Dustin Lynch, Chris Janson, Craig Morgan and Lonestar, to name a few. Attractions such as AT&T U-Verse Fan Fair X pulled thousands of visitors through the doors to participate in Q & A’s, meet-and-greets, live performances, autograph signings and much more.
If you were lucky enough to hold passes to the nightly concerts at LP Field then mega stars such as Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift surely set your country music world on fire as they belted out their most popular tunes for country fanatics. As fans well know, CMA fest wouldn’t be complete without a surprise or two. Thursday night gave perhaps the greatest surprise of all, Tim McGraw and Kid Rock serving as a pleasant performance addition to adoring fans. At Friday night’s performance the crowd was happily shocked to see Jason Mraz take the stage to perform a duet with Hunter Hayes followed by another thrilling surprise when Little Big Town introduced Sheryl Crow to the excited crowd. It was a VIP cast that, no doubt, left a lasting impression.
Although patrons came from faraway lands to witness the extensively impressive line-up of stars, one cannot forget the up and coming artists that sprinkled the honky tonks and stages. Breakthrough country artist, Chris Janson, is paving his way as one of country music’s finest new acts with his debut single “Better I Don’t” following his hit song “Truck Yeah” which country music icon Tim McGraw released as a single last summer. Due to his most recent success, Chris hosted his first ever fan club party at Whiskey Bent Saloon where he gave fans just what they came for, a good time. Despite his career taking off he remained humble as he discussed what he most anticipated this year at CMA fest, “I am most excited about performing for the true fans.” And true fans were not hard to find as they rocked out to his relatable and catchy songs as he took down the saloon.
Since debuting in 1972, the festival has grown, attracting thousands of out-of-towners each year. In speaking with Lee Greenwood, made most famous by his iconic song “God Bless the U.S.A.,” he recalls the earlier years of CMA fest compared to the festival today. “Now it is more sophisticated, it’s excitement on a larger scale and sophistication on a larger scale – it has grown. CMA has done a great job embracing the artists.”
In addition to the sophistication that has led to one of the most reputable and sought-after festivals, the country music community has also opened its heart to charitable causes. Events such as Rodney Atkins’ 2013 Music City Gives Back to benefit tornado victims, City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge, and Marty Stuart’s Late Night Jam to benefit MusiCares were a few of the affairs reflecting the giving hearts of the CMA fest artists. With the amount of giving back the country music world provided during this popular week, it is no wonder it has gained so much appeal in the last years. Whether you are just settling back home from a long week in Nashville or missed out on Music City’s biggest week, it’s not too early to start thinking about next year’s event as tickets are already on sale!