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CMA Fest 2018 a record-breaker with capacity crowds – by Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

CMA Fest 2018 a record-breaker with capacity crowds – by Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

47-year high in ‘fan engagement’

CMA Fest 2018 was a huge success by just about any standard. The Country Music Association (CMA) reported the ‘highest fan engagement’ in the festival’s forty-seven year history. Country music fans from all fifty states, Puerto Rico and thirty-six international countries poured into Music City to attend the longest-running country music festival in the world.

Overseas fans arrived from as far away as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Chile. Attendance from European countries, including Germany and Poland was up, as was attendance by fans from Great Britain, possibly helped by new direct flights between Nashville and London, England, on British Airways.

This year, fans could see more than 300 acts performing on 11 official stages.  Ticket proceeds go directly to helping enrich and sustain music education programs across the country through CMA’s nonprofit arm, the CMA Foundation, thanks to every artist at the festival donating their time.

Among this year’s highlights..

·         A sold-out CMA Songwriters Series show at the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum featuring Mary Chapin Carpenter, Vince Gill, Mac McAnally and Don Schlitz.

·         The Ultimate Fan Experiences Drawing, which offers fans special access to artists meet-and-greets and performances, saw a 36 percent increase in participants. Traffic on the festival’s official website CMAfest.com increased by more than five percent over last year.

·         Over the course of the four-day festival, Xfinity Fan Fair X welcomed 71,000 attendees, up 10% over 2017, and hosted 365 artists across meet-and-greets and three indoor stages in the exhibit hall, including the expanded Radio Disney Country Stage.

·         Fans enjoyed listening to and meeting the 51 up-and-coming artists featured on the new CMA Spotlight Stage.

·         Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation was a “pup-ular” highlight inside Fan Fair X again with 55 dogs finding their forever homes.

·         Fan safety and security was enhanced this year. A ‘clear bag’ policy was implemented across the CMA Fest footprint. CMA ramped up safety precautions with upgraded breakaway fencing at the Chevy Riverfront Stage, which was utilized Sunday afternoon as lightning neared the area  allowing fans to exit the area swiftly.

·         Fans got see some of country’s biggest stars, including Carrie Underwood, Charley Pride, Chris Stapleton, Dan + Shay, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean, Jon Pardi, Kane Brown, Keith Urban, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Combs, Maddie & Tae, Trisha Yearwood and many more.

For me, and for many other country fans, CMA Fest offers an unrivaled opportunity to see and meet the rising artists who are performing here just as their careers begin to take off. Many years from now, when those acts are headlining, we’ll look back and say, “I saw them when…”

Among the emerging artists that I saw and spoke to this year were Adam Rutledge, Band Steele, Dallas Remington, Dugger Band, Harper Rae, Mags, Matt Rogers, Patrick Darrah, Shane Owens, Uncle Si and the Sicotics and Zach Stone.  Many of my interviews with these artists have appeared (or will soon appear) here at this blog.  Although they are all unique in their own way,  each of these acts impressed me with their courage, their persistence and their resolve to do what it takes to achieve their goals. Remember those names!

The festival was filmed for a three-hour special, ‘CMA Fest,’ which will be hosted by Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini and airs Wednesday, Aug. 8 on the ABC Television Network. This year marks the 15th consecutive year of the broadcast.

Ready to get your tix for next year?  Verified fan pre-sale for CMA Fest 2019 begins Monday, July 30, with a national on-sale Monday, Aug. 6 at www.cmafest.com/tickets 

Watch a ‘sizzle reel’ of all four days of CMA Fest 2018 at YouTube here https://t.e2ma.net/click/tchs0/dg1to2/xb7q5n

#cmafest2018  #preshiasharrisofficial

Michael Ray at CMA Fest. Photo credit: Caitlin Harris/CMA
Nissan Stadium during CMA Fest. Photo credit: Hunter Berry/CMA
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