Changes: The Music City Music Council Blog. Photo Credit: Craig Havighurst
Changes: The Music City Music Council Blog. Photo Credit: Craig Havighurst

CMA Fest: It's A Wrap

The Country Music Association has published a huge debrief on its recently concluded CMA Music Festival, and everybody seems quite pleased with the long weekend of events downtown. Here are highlights from the full document, which can be obtained by getting in touch with the CMA press team at 615.244.2840.



NASHVILLE - For the second year in a row, CMA Music Festival sold out each night at LP Field. With crowd estimates from free areas and the nightly ticketed concerts at LP Field, CMA Music Festival reached an average daily attendance of 65,000. Tickets for 2012 CMA Music Festival, which will be held Thursday through Sunday June 7-10, go on sale to the public onSaturday, July 30 (10:00 AM/CT).

"To meet the outstanding sell out of 2010 again in 2011 speaks volumes about the strength of this event, the dedication of our fans, the support of our local community, and the popularity of our music and artists," said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer.

In 2010, Festival attendance jumped 16.7 percent over 2009 when attendance was 56,000. The 65,000 attendance in 2011 includes four-day ticket packages, promotional and single night tickets, as well as attendance in non-ticketed zones and events.

"Last year there was a terrific amount of support for our event following the floods that ravaged our city," Moore said. "We hit a benchmark that was higher than anyone expected and to meet that number again this year is an accomplishment and speaks directly to the music."

Despite record-setting temperatures in Nashville, attendance in the numerous free Zones, public events, and concert venues was equally strong. In fact, there was record attendance Saturday at Chevrolet Riverfront Park with more than 25,000 fans attending the free concerts throughout the day on the sloping bank of the Cumberland River.

"Eighty percent of our four-day ticket holders come from outside of Tennessee," said Moore. "And we are seeing gains with our locals who are coming out to support our free areas and purchasing a growing number of tickets to attend the single night concerts at LP Field."

According to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, the direct visitor spending generated by CMA Music Festival in 2010 was approximately $24 million, about $1 million above the 2009 figure, easily the top annual generator of tourist income in Nashville. And it appears that 2011 was a boon to business again. Figures for 2011 will be released by the NCVB at a later date.

"Almost unbelievably, this event continues to get bigger and better every year," said Butch Spyridon, President of the NCVB. "CMA Fest is not only Country Music's biggest bash, it's Nashville's too, and we anticipate record spending again this year."

Rory Musil, General Manager of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, maximizes the positive impact of the Festival on his bottom line by taking note of who has been confirmed to perform. "We try to keep our store extremely well stocked year-round," he said. "But I would say that CMA Music Festival week is the equivalent of the Christmas season for mall retailers. It's really when we do a large chunk of our business."

CMA Music Festival was a boon to downtown businesses, but it also benefits music education in Music City. The artists and celebrities participating inCMA Music Festival donate their time. They are not compensated for the hours they spend signing autographs and performing. In appreciation of their exhaustive efforts, CMA donates half the net proceeds from the event to music education on their behalf through a partnership with the Nashville Alliance for Public Education called "Keep the Music Playing." To date, CMA has donated $4.7 million.

"CMA has consistently kept its commitment to music education and stood behind it," said Pam Tidwell, NAPE Executive Director. "This is how you make great things happen, with consistency over time. I always want to thank the artists. Their contributions are such an enormous benefit. This program has made a difference in the lives of so many children. The bigger this gets the more impact it has. It gets better and better."

"This was an exciting year for the partnership with CMA and Metro Nashville Public Schools," said Carol Crittenden, Coordinator, Visual and Performing Arts, Metro Nashville Public Schools. "For the first time, we had a volunteer marching band made up of students from five of our high schools participate in the CMA Festival Parade. We also had 51 music teachers drive press vans throughout the Festival and some of them volunteered for two or more shifts. It gave us a wonderful opportunity to share our stories with press from all over the world about our partnership with CMA and the great contribution they have made to music education in Nashville."

Corporate brand partnerships are a key element to the marketing, fan experience, and financial support of the Festival. More than 45 different brands participated in the CMA Music Festival - generating a combined activation and consumer engagements of more than 924,000, which was significantly higher than the 700,000 figure in 2010. These various engagement elements included product sampling, dedicated registrations and sales leads, and brand impressions.

CMA 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 2011, Festival attendees came from all 50 states and from 26 countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.


Tickets for 2012 CMA Music Festival, which will be held Thursday through Sunday, June 7-10, go on saleSaturday, July 30 (10:00 AM/CT). Tickets were previously announced to go on sale during the event however due to the high demand for renewals from 2011 ticketholders that are still being processed, the date was pushed back to ensure the best possible seating options for the Festival's loyal fans.

 2011 CMA Music Festival Research Recap

The 2011 CMA Music Festival offered new opportunities for the CMA to better understand the Country Music fan. Three different research studies were conducted during this years' CMA Music Festival. More than 600 one-on-one interviews were conducted using iPads asking attendees questions ranging from size of travel party to participation in social networks.  

In addition, more than 100 Festival attendees were recruited to participate in a mobile interactive qualitative study over the four-day event. The mobile interactive qualitative study provided rich user generated results.

Top line research findings from the 2011 CMA Music Festival:

·         Average age: 38.6

·         69% are college educated

·         85% are active on Facebook with 74 percent visiting Facebook more than once a day

·         Average travel party size was 3.2

·         Satisfaction level is extremely high with 94 percent of the respondents stating they plan to return to next years' Festival

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