Keep The Music Playing

Each year, hundreds of Country artists perform at CMA Music Festival for free, and to show its appreciation for their dedication and time, CMA donates half the net proceeds from the event to benefit music education programs on behalf of the artists and celebrities as part of the Foundation’s Keep the Music Playing initiative.

The origins of the program began in 2001, when CMA Music Festival, then known as Fan Fair, moved to downtown Nashville for the first time. From 2001-2005, participating artists could select individual charities for donations and CMA contributed more than $800,000 to hundreds of worthy causes.

In 2006, the CMA Artist Relations Committee, led by Kix Brooks formerly of Brooks & Dunn, decided to channel those financial resources into a single cause – music education – through CMA’s “Keep the Music Playing” campaign to have a more meaningful impact in an area of importance to the entire music community.

Through the generosity of the Country artist community, CMA has been able to donate $9 million to programs furthering music education nationwide. This includes:

  • 6,600 instruments in 144 Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Tennessee Performing Arts afterschool Disney in Schools program
  • Notes for Notes recording studios at the Boys & Girls Club
  • Two music classrooms at NYC’s Hector Fontanez Public School 103
  • Music Summer Camp at W.O. Smith School
  • Country Music Hall of Fame Words & Music program


The Foundation’s priority is music education. And, we’ve only just begun.

What is Keep the Music Playing?

Artist visits to schools

“Keep the Music Playing” also brings music into schools by connecting Country artists and students during in-school visits. To date, Country stars Kix Brooks, Laura Bell Bundy, Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans, Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry, and Kellie Pickler have shared their love of music with the next generation of artists.

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