Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Two Concerts - Multiple Highlights. The Last Two LP Field Concerts.

Two Concerts - Multiple Highlights. The Last Two LP Field Concerts.


In spite of the heat during the day, country music fans proved that they are the most loyal fans in the world by filling LP Field up after a day in the sun. The stadium was buzzing like a happy bee from people that love their country music and artists.

The highlights of the two last concerts were many, but two things that really stood out among the to perfection rehearsed shows were when during Chris Young's "Tomorrow", the crowd spontaneously lighted up their cell phones to show the love - he felt it to, you could see that on his smile - and the other was when Keith Urban made his way through the audience to perform on a tiny platform one section away from the stage.  He then signed his guitar, grabbed a hand that was one among twenty reached towards him and made sure that the person that hand belonged to would be the one to have his guitar.  You could feel the love then too.  That's one very genuine guy.  Well, I said two moments, let's make it four: Neal McCoy knows how to get a sleepy stadium that just have had dinner to wake up and be with it and on their feet dancing in a heartbeat.  If there was a prize for Best Opener, Neal McCoy should get that award, he deserves it. Then there's this phenomenon with a particular song that you can hear sung wherever you go and no one ever gets tired of hearing: everyone, and I do mean everyone, sang along to "Wagon Wheel".


Shelley Ridge for Country Music News International Magazine

 Brad Paisley
 Chris Young
 Cole Swindell
 Karen Fairchild in Little Big Town
 Keith Urban playing guitar out among the audience.
  The One And Only Wynonna.
The Very Entertaining Neal McCoy


RANDY HOUSER STUNS LP FIELD STADIUM

 
RANDY HOUSER STUNS LP FIELD STADIUM WITH  ACOUSTIC DELIVERY OF "LIKE A COWBOY" DURING CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL

Houser's powerful performance leaves Rolling Stone Country saying he is "long overdue for a Male Vocalist nomination"

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (June 16, 2015) -- If there was any doubt amongst the packed-in crowd at LP Field on Friday night that Randy Houser is one of the most skillful vocalists in modern country music, he crushed it with the show-stopping delivery of his Top 5 hit, "Like A Cowboy." Without so much as a soundcheck going into his set that night, Houser and his band powered through the chart-topping "Runnin' Outta Moonlight" and Houser's rollicking new single, "We Went," but it was the final song that truly got the stadium on its feet. Motioning to his band to stay silent, Houser stepped up to the mic with nothing but an acoustic guitar and his "big voice" (Taste of Country) to deliver the last ballad.

 Photo Credit: Donn Jones (CMA)

Country Music News International Newsletter June 16. 2015

Country Music News International Newsletter June 16. 2015

Here is your Country Music News of the day from Country Music News International Magazine www.CountryMusicNewsInternational.blogspot.com . Your Country Music News is supported by, The Capital Hotel Downtown Nashville www.thecapitolhoteldowntownnashville.com , Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau www.visitmusiccity.com , Tennessee Tourism, www.Tennessee.de , Curtis Braly www.studiogoldnashville.com/curtis-braly , Eileen Carey www.reverbnation.com/eileencarey , Coreopsis Publications LLC www.coreopsis.gs , Mid South Music www.midsouthmusic.us , Lucy Malheur www.lucy-malheur.info

You can publish the Newsletter to your websites or forward to your friends. If you want to publish some of the interviews, please contact me.

Hier sind jetzt Eure Country Music News des Tages von Country Music News International Magazin www.CountryMusicNewsInternational.blogspot.de . Eure Country Music News werden unterstützt von The Capital Hotel Downtown Nashville www.thecapitolhoteldowntownnashville.com , Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau www.visitmusiccity.com , Tennessee Tourism, www.Tennessee.de , Curtis Braly www.studiogoldnashville.com/curtis-braly , Eileen Carey www.reverbnation.com/eileencarey , Coreopsis Publications LLC www.coreopsis.gs , Mid South Music www.midsouthmusic.us , Lucy Malheur www.lucy-malheur.info

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Missed the show? Listen 24 h 7 days the week. Country Music News International Radio Show from June 10. 2015 with DJ Anja Krone. Specail guest Dexter Roberts interviewed by Christian Lamitschka. http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.de/2015/06/24-h-7-days-week-country-music-news_86.html

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The Magic of CMA Music Fest - AT&T U-verse Fan Fair X

The Magic of CMA Music Fest - AT&T U-verse Fan Fair X



It's hard to beat a music fest that has its focus on fans as much as the CMA Music fest does.  It is unique and very special.  Music City shows its very best and the artists give their fans every ounce they've got of their undivided attention and then some.

It started in 1972 as Fan Fair to cater to the fans, and it still does, with up close performances, autograph signings and meet-and-greets. People travel from all over the country and the entire world to experience this artist-and-fans interactive experience.  Surprise appearances by super star artists on the smaller stages do happen daily.

Walking around in the only two year young building Music City Center, where the Fan Fair X is being held, is an experience in itself.  Don't forget to read the lyric fragments of famous songs inscribed in the marble when you're walking up the stairs to enter.  In the event hall there is everything from performances and special interaction activities like taking your photo with your idol to looking at memorabilia and then there's food, snacks and drinks when walking around and interacting has your system asking for a re-fuel.

At the center of the exhibition hall, items like autographed merchandise, guitars and meet and greets donated by stars and celebrities were on display with accompanying bidding sheets for the Sixth Annual CMA Celebrity Auction. This year the auction raised $150,000, which is an $50,000 increase from last year. The items were donated by artist like Jason Aldean, George Strait, Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town, Ariana Grande, Hunter Hayes, Meghan Trainor, Luke Bryan and more.  

AT&T U-verse was he sponsor of Fan Fair X for the third consecutive year in a row.


Shelley Ridge for Country Music News International Magazine
 Fans Going up the stairs and the escalators to Fan Fair X. There were around 50 people per minute going up the escalator.
 Inside Dailey & Vincent's Tour Bus
 Lady Antebellum Autographed Painting at silent auction benefitting the CMA Foundation. When we were there the bid was at $450.
 The Entrance To AT&T U-verse Fan Fair X
 What Music Means Notes

CD: Hannah Bethel - NEVER ENDING SKY

NEVER ENDING SKY
Hannah Bethel


“Never Ending Sky” is Hannah Bethel’s latest release, following 2011’s five-track EP. The eight tracks on the new project prove that Bethel is truly a force to be reckoned with in contemporary music.

She effortlessly blends the strands of country, folk and pop with hints of Appalachian bluegrass and Americana. But what is consistent throughout is Bethel’s sure-footed songwriting and her distinctive, crystal-clear voice.

She seems to bring out the best in her co-writers (that on this album include David Myhre, Matt Vrba, Susan Ruth, Josh Matheny and David Velasquez) while maintaining her own personality on each song.

Bethel is a storyteller and each song on the album presents an intriguing tale from the playfully seductive “You Wanna Be My Man” to “Come Back Down” that starts out almost as a confiding whisper and grows to a plaintive cry of someone helplessly watching a loved one in the grip of substance abuse. “Frigerator” tells the story from the point of view of a person seeing their relationship gradually cooling: “And now the only thing turned on in this house / is the frigerator.”

Bethel’s voice is allowed to stand out front-and-center on every track, thanks to co-producer Brennin Hunt’s skillful hand on the tiller. (Multi-instrumentalist Hunt also contributes acoustic guitar, ganjo, lap steel, mellotron and keyboards, as well as background vocals.)

Standout tracks: “The Lie,” “Frigerator,” “Tumbleweed.”


CD review by Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine

# # #

THE KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS ESCAPE 'MUDDY WATERS'

The Kentucky Headhunters - Colfax, LA flood aerial
GRAMMY Winning Group's June 13 Concert at Louisiana MudFest Cancelled, 113 Rescued, After Levee Break Floods Festival Grounds

Brand-New Album, 'Meet Me In Bluesland', Debuts at No. 3 On Billboard Blues Chart

 
COLFAX, La. (June 15, 2015) – GRAMMY, CMA, and ACM winning southern rock group, The Kentucky Headhunters, whose name was coincidentally inspired by legendary blues musician Muddy Waters' band, the Headhunters, had only cancelled one show in 46 years of touring due to weather. But after heavy rain at the Louisiana Mudfest on Saturday, June 13, they were forced to make it two.

The Kentucky Headhunters were scheduled to perform a full concert in support of their new blues album, Meet Me In Bluesland, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard blues chart last week, at the 400-acre Colfax Mudfest Recreational Park in Colfax, Louisiana at 9 p.m CT. However, a severe rain and wind storm impacted the area, placing pressure on a temporary, private levee that had been built a few weeks prior in order to protect it from the rising Red River. Fearing for the safety of the audience and all involved, the band pulled the plug on the show and chose not to play.

"After the storm we made the decision not to take the stage, fearing for the safety of the audience, local help and our own crew and band," said Richard Young, The Kentucky Headhunters. "We just knew it was too big of a risk for the show to go on."

According to the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office at KABT-TV, at approximately 2 a.m. CT on Sunday, June 14, a sheriff's deputy noticed that the levee was cracking, and began moving concert-goers to higher ground. Within minutes, the levee was breached and the MudFest grounds were severely flooded.

Though most concert-goers and crew members had gotten to higher ground, 113 people had to be rescued from the floodwaters. The Associated Press reports that wildlife agents, troopers and sheriff's deputies used boats to rescue people, while Louisiana Army National Guard soldiers flew overhead to bring everyone to safety. No fatalities or injuries have been reported, according to KALB-TV.

"Thank the Lord that most people had gone by the time the levee was breached," Young said. We want to thank the promoter, the audience and all the other bands and crews for what was set to be a wonderful day of music and fun in the mud."

"God had a backstage pass to this show," he added.

The Kentucky Headhunters' new album featuring Johnnie JohnsonMeet Me In Bluesland, hit stores on June 2 and is holding strong at No. 3 on the Billboard Blues chart. Check it out on iTunesAmazon and other locations where music is sold.

The band is currently on tour, performing over 80 dates throughout the United States in 2015.

Darin & Brooke Aldridge make CMA Music Fest debut


Darin & Brooke Aldridge make CMA Music Fest debut
 
Nashville, TN --- Thousands of music fans from all over the world descended on Nashville for the annual CMA Music Festival and the Darin and Brooke Aldridge were among the artists who performed to the delight of those fans.

The Durango Music Spot, sponsored by Durango Boots, is presented each year by WSM Radio which airs live performances from the festival.

Darin and Brooke were among the top-name artists, hit-makers and legends who appeared on the stage this year, including Grammy Award winner David Ball, Lynn Anderson, T. Graham Brown, Mickey Gilley, Ken Mellons and more.

It was a long day for the couple and their band, who not only performed, but participated in a full slate of media interviews, as well as a meet & greet with fans, and an autograph signing session at the Digital Rodeo booth.

“We were so excited to be a part of CMA Fest and to represent bluegrass and traditional music to the fans,” Brooke says. “We also got to be fans ourselves and meet some of the artists we admire.”

Indeed, backstage was a veritable fan fest all its own, with artists meeting and reconnecting with one another. Darin and Brooke were photographed with T. Graham Brown (more than 20 Billboard charting singles) and Lynn Anderson (12 No.1 hits, and more than 50 Top-40 hits, including “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden”), and they chatted with Grammy award winner, David Ball.

Darin and Brooke shared songs from their latest album, Snapshots (Mountain Home Music Company), including “Tennessee Flat Top Box.” The Johnny Cash tune, later also recorded by his daughter Rosanne Cash, was especially well-received by the huge audience of country music fans.

Boasting four days of music from hundreds of artists including live concerts, meet & greets, autograph signings, celebrity sporting events, and more, the annual CMA Music Festival is produced by the Country Music Association.

ERIC CHURCH CELEBRATES WITH FANS IN SURPRISE-FILLED WEEK

 
ERIC CHURCH CELEBRATES WITH FANS IN SURPRISE-FILLED WEEK

Named ‘Country’s Preeminent Alpha Male’ by Rolling Stone, the singer/songwriter shares special moments with Church Choir all over the map

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (June 15, 2015) – Even by Eric Church’s always-rising expectations, last week was a pretty damn good week.

The acclaimed country rocker known for his blue-collar attitude put in extra work last week with some of his most memorable performances, partied with Church Choir members at a secret party and raised more than $20,000 for his Chief Cares charity fund.

Church capped a week of heartfelt and personal performances on Sunday night at the CMA Music Festival at LP Field where he started his set with Little Feat’s “Sailin’ Shoes” and finished the night with a surprise  performance during Keith Urban's set of their shared #1, "Raise 'Em Up." The Little Feat cover was part tribute to his favorite band and part history lesson for fans who may not know of that seminal rock ‘n’ roll group’s impact on modern country music and Church’s own sound.

“I’m a huge Lowell George fan,” Church said of Little Feat’s late guitarist. “There are two huge influences on my life, The Band and Levon Helm, and Lowell George is my favorite guitar player ever. He’s just my guy. I grew up on those records. To me, musically that’s the DNA of who I am and that’s the DNA currently of what country music should be.”

The week of memorable performances started Wednesday night when the North Carolina native performed his latest single “Like a Wrecking Ball” – a performance that will be immortalized as the music video, premiering on CMT this Wednesday – from 2014’s smash success The Outsiders at the CMT Music Awards before walking across Lower Broadway to Ryman Auditorium for Marty Stuart’s Late Night Jam.

There he played The Band’s “The Weight” for fans and caught everyone by surprise by offering an off-the-cuff cover of Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” with that quartet’s Karen Fairchild and Phillip Sweet along with special guests Chris and Morgane Stapleton.

“It was when (Stuart) welcomed Eric Church onstage a little after 1:00 a.m. that the evening truly heated up, reenergizing a crowd that had taken their seats hours earlier,” Rolling Stone wrote of the night, noting of “Girl Crush”: “Here was country's preeminent alpha male singing the year's most sultry torch song - and the fans hearty enough to still be awake ate it up. Fairchild stepped in to finish the song, balancing Church's growl with her own purr.”

Then on Friday night, Church pulled another surprise out of his ball cap, opening his own The Outsiders World Tour stop for a record crowd at The Amphitheater at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama. He played an acoustic set for 45 minutes, then brought out his band for his regular show. He then joined Kenny Chesney’s The Big Revival Tour at the Georgia Dome on Saturday night in Atlanta before returning to Nashville with the Atlanta Journal Constitution raving, “Between his clenched fists and grimaces, it was obvious that Church feels every note he sings and plays,” before acknowledging, “Church offers a refreshing blast of originality in a country music market that can get mired in sterility.”

Church also raised money for his own charity, opening “The Outsider’s Joint” pop-up store in East Nashville during the festival. Shoppers had a chance to buy rare and unique items, helping Church raise more than $20,000 for the Chief Cares 501c3 non-profit charity run by Church and wife Katherine. The charity serves more than 2.5 million people around the globe with charitable giving. For more information on Chief Cares Fund, visit http://www.ericchurch.com/chiefcares.

Church will resume The Outsiders World Tour, which has already set five venue attendance records, on June 20 at the Black Diamond Harley-Davidson in Marion, Illinois.


 Photo Credit: John Russell/CMA

2015 CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL SETS ATTENDANCE RECORD WITH 87,680 FANS



2015 CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL SETS ATTENDANCE RECORD WITH 87,680 FANS
NASHVILLE – 2015 CMA Music Festival sold out seven months in advance prompting large, enthusiastic crowds at the Festival’s numerous free stages and event areas with a record-setting daily attendance of 87,680 fans – besting 2014 numbers by 9.6 percent.
“The advance sell out speaks to the strength of the event, but great weather and the numerous free stages and activities downtown contributed to our attendance bump,” said CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern. “The popularity of our artists and the entertainment value of this Festival is what increased attendance and filled the streets and parks of downtown Nashville.”      
Attendance figures for 2015 include four-day ticket packages and promotional tickets, as well as attendance in the AT&T U-verse® Fan Fair X, and free areas downtown. In all, more than 500 artists participated in more than 250 hours of concerts on 11 stages (seven of which were free). 
Fans obviously liked what they saw: tickets for 2016 CMA Music Festival, which will be held Thursday through Sunday, June 9-12, are selling fast with 62 percent of available tickets already sold to returning fans. The national on-sale date is Friday, June 19. Fans can order tickets by visiting CMAfest.com or calling the CMA Box Office at 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378). 
Attendance in the numerous free areas, including The Buckle, Fan Alley, and concert stages, was brisk and showed significant growth year-to-year. For the first time in Festival history, Chevrolet Riverfront Stage reached capacity Saturday afternoon with 25,000 fans in attendance.  
Crowds at the Bridgestone Arena Plaza increased over 2014 and the new Gildan Broadway Stage at the Hard Rock Café stayed busy all four days. The BMI Tailgate Party stage at LP Field, which debuted in 2012, was a hit with fans entering the stadium for the Nightly Concerts.
Corporate brand partnerships are a key element to the marketing, fan experience, and support of the Festival with more than 40 different brands participating in the CMA Music Festival.
“We are pleased to have a number of returning partners, some of which are expanding their presence, as well as many brands that are new to the Festival,” said Damon Whiteside, CMA Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships. “This year more than ever, the brand activations enhanced the fan experience and continued to differentiate our Festival with unique and exciting partnerships. The overwhelmingly positive response from our brand partners illustrates the power of Country Music, the appeal of our fans, and the efforts of our CMA Partnerships staff.” 
It’s for the KidsCMA Music Festival supports music education. The artists and celebrities participating in CMA Music Festival donate their time. They are not compensated for the hours they spend in meet and greets and performing. In appreciation of their exhaustive efforts, the CMA Foundation donates proceeds from the event to local and national music education programs on the artists’ behalf as part of the Music Education Matters initiative. Since 2006, CMA has donated more than $11 million to this worthy cause.
Keith Urban was introduced as the first Music Education Matters ambassador on Thursday to a standing-room-only crowd of 2,500 people at the CMA Close Up Stage. Urban was treated to a performance by students who have benefited from the program and performed with four guitar players from Nashville School of the Arts, another beneficiary of the program.
Linda Friend of JFK Middle School, who led the student singers in Urban’s hit “Days Go By,” said: “It’s just sitting there. The talent is sitting there in a lot of our kids, and the instrument in their hands allows them access to the magic that’s in each of our children.”
On Sunday, Ron Samuels, Chairman of the CMA Foundation Board of Directors, presented a grant check to The Quest Center for Art and Community Development during Charlie Worsham’s fan club party in Nashville. Worsham is a passionate supporter of the Center, which is a music education and resource center located in Dickson, Tenn., a largely rural community with limited access to music programs. The Center makes music education accessible to all members of the community, including individuals with disabilities, while providing leadership and a positive, affordable, and safe environment for students.
Saturday’s Artist of the Day Chris Young and Farmers Insurance “Thank America’s Teachers” paired up inside AT&T U-verse® Fan Fair X at the Farmers Thank America’s Teachers bus when Young surprised one of his own music educators, Brenda Gregory, with a $2,500 check on behalf of Farmers. 
CMA fans are contributing to the CMA Foundation's worthy and important initiative, too, by bidding on one-of-a-kind experiences and signed items in the Sixth Annual CMA Celebrity Auction, which was held in AT&T U-verse® Fan Fair X benefiting the CMA Foundation. The auction raised $150,000 ($100,000 in 2014) from bids for more than 100 items including meet and greets, guitars, autographed merchandise, and more from stars and celebrities including Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Ariana Grande, Hunter Hayes, Sam Hunt, Little Big Town, George Strait, Meghan Trainor, and Zac Brown Band.
Global AppealCMA Music Festival, which started as Fan Fair® in 1972, is about the fans and their relationship with the artists and the music. The theme is universal and in 2015, Festival attendees and media came from all 50 states and 20 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.
Fans Connect DigitallyCMA continued its practice of interacting with fans through digital and social channels at the 2015 CMA Music Festival, to both inform and reward loyal Festival attendees.
The free CMA Music Festival app presented by AT&T U-verse® for iPhone and Android saw 38,748 total active users – a seven percent increase over 2014. New app features this year included schedule sharing with friends via Facebook, a CMA Fest radio station powered by Pandora, and a live stream of the AT&T U-verse® Showcase Stage.
The app featured a popular option for users to create their own personalized schedule – the full schedule PDF was clicked 43,412 times and the FFX Meet and Greet schedule was clicked 19,874 times.
Additionally, CMA social media streams and news bulletins were integrated, including push notifications to update attendees on weather alerts, schedule changes, and surprise performances. For the first time, CMA was featured as an official “Story” on Snapchat, which attracted at least 5.5 million views.  
CMAfest.com traffic increased this year as well:
  • Unique Visitors Week Of: Up 13 percent versus week of 2014 (284,855 total for the week)
  • Unique Visitors YTD: Up 22 percent versus YTD 2014 (1.04 million total for the year)
At LP Field, fans were invited to post their Festival photos to Instagram throughout the weekend using #CMAfest. During the day, social posts from Twitter and Instagram were featured on the screens at four different stages, powered by Postano. Overall, 28,000 social interactions per day were sent to the video screens at the daytime stages.
CMA once again partnered with Spotify to create the CMA Music Festival Spotify Jukebox. The Jukebox powered the in-house music that played between performances. Fans were invited to Tweet requests to the Jukebox using #SpotifyCMA.
In addition, Pandora utilized their unique music discovery platform to suggest artist performances fans could catch on the daytime stages based on performers they like at LP Field. 
2015 CMA Music Festival Research RecapWith so many ardent Country Music fans in one place, opportunities abound for CMA to conduct research with this important consumer group. In particular, CMA focused on how fans engage with AT&T U-verse® Fan Fair X to inform future Festival planning.  
The findings reported are based on on-site intercept research with attendees of Fan Fair X during the four-day event. These results are considered preliminary.
  • Overall, 48 percent of attendees were attending CMA Music Festival for the first time. This number jumps to 60 percent among those attending with the single-day Fan Fair X ticket, which is an indicator of success in bringing the Fan Fair X experience to more new people each year.
  • Visitors of Fan Fair X were primarily made up of four-day LP Field tickets holders (81 percent); 11 percent of visitors had the one-day FFX ticket option; and 9 percent purchased a four-day Fan Fair X ticket.   
  • Among four-day LP Field ticket holders, 93 percent were onsite for the Festival four or more days with 30 percent of those attending more than four days of the week-long festivities.
  • 50 percent were drawn into Fan Fair X for a specific scheduled performance or event. Among this group, nearly three-quarters were aware of the performance or event before they arrived, which they discovered through CMA Music Festival marketing sources.
  • For each visit to Fan Fair X, attendees spent an average of two hours inside the venue listening to music and enjoying all the Ultimate Country Music Fan Experiences that Fan Fair X had to offer; the majority of fans visited Fan Fair X each of the four days and many visited multiple times per day.
  • 49 percent of attendees have an annual household income of more than $75,000 (48 percent in 2014).
  • 31 percent of attendees traveled by airplane to attend CMA Music Festival (30 percent in 2014).
“As the Country Music audience continues to expand among all segments of the population, particularly among the younger millennial and diversity segments, it’s all about the experience,” said Karen Stump, CMA’s Senior Director of Market Research. “Our research among Festival attendees about their preferences for on-site experiences serves the very important role of helping CMA to build upon experiences year after year.  It is a very important priority for CMA that we integrate the ‘fan voice’ into our event each and every year.”
Kick-Start the PartyThe fun kicked into high gear with the expanded CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Concert at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage featuring SiriusXM Highway Finds. The event, curated by SiriusXM and hosted by SiriusXM The Highway’s on-air talent, included performances by 23 acts featured on The Highway’s Highway Finds, the SiriusXM channel’s ongoing initiative to introduce new Country artists to SiriusXM listeners. Attendance at the Kick-Off Concert increased 26 percent over 2014.
AT&T U‐verse® Fan Fair XThe epicenter of the Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience was AT&T U-verse® Fan Fair X with meet and greets, concerts, lifestyle exhibits, marketplace, live broadcasts, and more in the Music City Center.
Little Big Town kicked it off on Thursday with an official ribbon cutting and Q&A session with the fans. At the ceremony, the group announced that they will be returning to host “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” for the third time. The special airs on the ABC Television Network on Tuesday, Aug. 4 (8:00 PM/ET). 
“We just love CMA Fest,” said Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town. “It’s just about the fans. I don’t think there’s any other genre that could do this kind of thing – a weeklong celebration of our fans. I love that our artists all participate. I love that the fans come from around the world and we have this big ol’ party here. Nothing compares to it.”
Other artists of the day included Hunter Hayes, Chris Young, and Darius Rucker. All Artist of the Day appearances attracted between 2,000 to 2,500 fans. Also popular were special performances by “Nashville’s” Charles Esten, Sara Evans in an exclusive CMA Songwriters Series showcase, Jo Dee Messina, and Kellie Pickler.
More than 72,000 visitors passed through the turnstiles into Fan Fair X throughout the Festival, which was a 14.3 percent increase over 2014. Four-day ticket holders have free access to Fan Fair X, but fans were able to purchase tickets to visit the popular artist meet and greets, marketplace, and exhibits. Single and four-day ticket purchases for Fan Fair X increased 26 percent over 2014.
“It was important for people to know that just because they didn’t have a ticket to the Nightly Concerts at LP Field that there were plenty of free concerts and activities for them to enjoy,” Trahern said. “The increase in attendance at Fan Fair X and the increase in ticket purchases is a strong indication that locals and regional residents are attending in higher numbers.”
Over the four days, 371 artists participated in concerts, events, and meet and greets inside Fan Fair X. Charles Esten, Brenda Lee, Marshall Tucker Band, Darius Rucker, and Darryl Worley all carved out additional time for fans. Other popular meet and greets included Lauren Alaina, Keith Anderson, Kelsea Ballerini, Craig Wayne Boyd, Jessie James Decker, Sara Evans, Florida Georgia Line, Nick Fradiani, Hunter Hayes, Little Big Town, Lonestar, Dustin Lynch, Joe Nichols, Cassadee Pope, Josh Turner, Phil Vassar, Wynonna, and Chris Young.
Reigning CMA New Artist of the Year Brett Eldredge made a surprise appearance Saturday on the AT&T U-verse® Showcase Stage.
This marks the third year that AT&T U-verse® has been title sponsor of the exhibit hall experience at the Music City Center. The AT&T U-verse® Showcase Stage featured appearances by 36 of Nashville’s recognized stars and up-and-comers with performances and Q&A’s live streamed on uverse.com/CMAfest and recorded to be featured as VOD clips on the Country Deep TV, online, and mobile platforms.
“Once again, AT&T U-verse Fan Fair X gave Country Music fans unparalleled access to the artists and music they love with live performances, autograph signings, and our Country Deep app,” said Brian Collins, Vice President of Wireline Consumer Marketing, AT&T Home Solutions. “We’re proud to be a part of the Festival and we look forward to next year’s CMA Music Festival.”
Durango® returned to present the Durango Music Spot, which launched in 2004 as a showcase for independent artists, and featured more than 50 performers. The Music Spot was expanded this year and was an extremely popular destination for fans. All performances were broadcast and streamed live by 650 WSM-AM Nashville. 
Chevrolet Riverfront StageGary Allan opened four days of music at the popular Chevrolet Riverfront Stage with an energy-packed morning performance Thursday. It was an auspicious start to a full slate of performances. The stage bustled with a roster of outstanding artists delivering longer sets for the appreciative crowd.
In all, more than 36 acts performed 30 hours of concerts over the four days with 132,000 fans passing through the gates to watch the performances at Chevrolet Riverfront Stage. Throughout the footprint, Chevrolet logged more than 51,000 vehicle interactions and for the first-time the longtime partner brought their Chevrolet Riverfront Studio to the event featuring a variety of artist meet and greets and radio interviews.  
“We had an incredible week at CMA Fest this year,” said Michael Weidman, National Promotions Manager, Chevrolet. “The crowds have been larger than we have ever seen. Each year we try to bring something new to enhance the fan’s experience. The CMA team is an integral part of that; and they provide all the support we could ever ask for to bring new ideas to life.”
Bud Light Plaza Stage at Bridgestone Arena PlazaThe audiences at the Bud Light Plaza Stage at the Bridgestone Arena Plaza were enthusiastic and didn’t hesitate to demonstrate their appreciation for the 72 artists performing on the stage during 23 hours of concerts. The exceptional lineup included up-and-comers, established stars, and legends. 
Bud Light brought their popular “House of Whatever” experience to the Festival for the first time this year. The custom-built environment was stationed outside LP Field and included a karaoke stage featuring surprise performances by Brett Eldredge, Kelsea Ballerini, Cassadee Pope, and Dan + Shay
“The partnership with CMA Music Festival continues to be an important component for the Bud Light brand because of the authentic connection with Country Music fans,” said Kevin Boyd, Manager, Region Brand Activation for Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “The four day Festival gives us a great platform to enhance an already incredible music experience for fans with meaningful Bud Light engagement and unique experiences. We’ve seen firsthand the growth of the Festival over the years and how loyal the fans are, not only to the artists, but to the partners as well. Bud Light is proud to part of the Festival and look forward to continuing and growing our partnerships with CMA.” 
Belk Park Stage in Walk of Fame ParkFor the first time this year, Belk hosted the Belk Park Stage, where concertgoers had the chance to listen to music by soon-to-be stars and established artists with the addition of screens providing everyone a front-row view. The park setting and enhanced staging proved popular with the fans who enjoyed performances by 38 acts.   
“At Belk, we understand the role that music and the outdoors play in the Southern lifestyle, and the CMA Music Festival brings the best of both to Nashville,” said Jon Pollack, Executive Vice-President of Marketing, Sales Promotion and e-commerce. “The event provides Belk an opportunity to reach its customers in an environment that offers the best in Country Music, through a variety of activities, in a great Southern city. We love bringing our Modern. Southern. Style. to the CMA Music Festival.”
Gildan Broadway Stage at the Hard Rock CaféThis year saw the addition of a new official CMA Music Festival Stage at the foot of Broadway and First Avenue. The Gildan Broadway Stage at the Hard Rock Café rocked with up-and-coming talent each day.
“The 2015 CMA Music Festival was a very successful event for Gildan,” said Keith Whitaker, Gildan Director of Marketing. “It provided great exposure for our brand and allowed us to interact with our consumers in a fun and meaningful way. The CMA has been a great partner over the last five years and we appreciate how hard they work for us.”
Nightly Concerts at LP FieldThe Nightly Concerts at LP Field featured more than 28 acts spanning four nights of star-packed shows.
Pre-show activities Thursday included the national anthem performed by Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, with a welcome by the Mayor of Nashville, Karl Dean.
Performing Thursday were Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt, and Rascal Flatts. The evening was bittersweet with the passing of 2015 Country Music Hall of Fame member Jim Ed Brown. During his performance, Alan Jackson performed “Pop A Top” in honor of the format legend.
Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Randy Houser, Lady Antebellum, Maddie & Tae, The Band Perry, and Zac Brown Band performed Friday. Restless Heart performed the national anthem.
2015 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees The Oak Ridge Boys were the heritage act of the evening performing, “Elvira” with Little Big Town. The legendary brothers of harmony also honored Brown in their remarks to the press backstage.
Brett Eldredge, Little Big Town, Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, and Chris Young performed Saturday. The heritage act was Wynonna & The Big Noise, while Kellie Pickler performed the national anthem. Pickler also received the Operation Troop Aid Chris Kyle Patriot Award, presented by Kyle’s parents, Wayne and Deby Kyle, founder and CEO of Operation Troop Aid Mark Woods, and previous award recipients Mark Collie and Darryl Worley.
Eric Church, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Cole Swindell, and Keith Urban performed Sunday. Neal McCoy was the heritage act. Lee Greenwood performed the national anthem on saxophone.
During the nightly press conference leading up to the concert, Paisley was presented the CMA International Artist Achievement Award by Trahern and Urban. The banter was quick and clever:
Urban: It’s a huge honor to be able to do this for you Brad. I know travel internationally has always been important to you. I know you’ve travelled to Japan. Maybe down to Cabo?
Paisley: International waters.
Urban: Maybe we’ll get to do an international tour sometime.
Paisley: That would be great. Hey, where are you from?
BMI Tailgate PartyFor the fourth year, the BMI Tailgate Party was located outside LP Field with a strong lineup of more than 23 BMI songwriters and artists warming up the audience and providing a popular pre-show destination before fans entered the stadium for the Nightly Concerts.

 Photo Credit: Dusty Draper / CMA

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