The Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience: CMA Music Festival Celebrates 45 Years in 2016 Scott Frans February 29, 2016 NASHVILLE – CMA Music Festival, the Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience, celebrates 45 years in 2016 with all the non-stop music, fan engagement, and artist experiences attendees have come to expect since the event began as Fan Fair® in 1972. “Country Music festivals come and go, but this event has succeeded for four and a half decades because we constantly challenge ourselves to enhance the experience for our fans, the industry, and the artists, who make this event possible,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “We don’t just raise the bar each year, we set the bar.” 2016 CMA Music Festival will be held Thursday through Sunday, June 9-12, in Nashville. The central fixture of the Festival is the relationship between the artists and their fans, but the real beneficiaries are the hundreds of thousands of students across the U.S. who now have access to in-school and after-school music education programs thanks to CMA Music Festival. Since 2006, CMA and the CMA Foundation have donated more than $13.6 million to support sustainable music education initiatives across the country on behalf of the artists who participate in the event for free. “CMA Music Festival has a rich history and enjoys a terrific reputation as the Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience, but the future is in these students and the opportunities provided them by supporting quality music education programs,” said Trahern. “The proceeds from CMA Music Festival provide children a richer life experience through music.” 2015 was a record-setting year for CMA Music Festival. The event drew a daily attendance of more than 87,000 fans from every state and two dozen foreign countries, which was a 9.6 percent increase over 2014. The direct visitor spending generated by those visitors exceeded $46.8 million – up $7.5 million from 2014, according to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. (NCVC). For the first time, the NCVC was able to calculate non-ticket holder direct spending, which represents an additional $13.6 million in direct visitor spending, driving total spending to $60.4 million. CMA Music Festival is so much more than a week-long celebration of Country Music each June. The CMA is an enormous economic engine for Nashville and an incredible asset to Nashville’s identity as Music City. “We focus a lot of attention on letting local and regional residents know that you don’t need a four-day ticket to enjoy this event,” said Trahern. “With free music throughout downtown, it is very rewarding to see our attendance increase in those areas. It is especially nice when you consider the positive impact on the city, which has been an outstanding partner in our growth.” Everyone’s Cooler Online The CMA Music Festival app features a variety of popular options including the ability for fans to create their own personalized schedule; track Festival attendee social conversations; map and list of activations, attractions, vendors, and much more. In 2015, the Festival app had 58,600 unique active app users spanning 118 countries across the world, 1.6M total app sessions and 13.4M total screen views. This year’s app, now available in the App store for iPhone and Android, includes features that will allow fans to track popular performers and stages; receive weather updates; broadcast their location and find friends also attending the Festival; create personalized schedules and share it with friends; follow the Festival’s official Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds; plus participate in contests and sweepstakes leading up to and during the Festival. Fans can also visit CMAfest.com for schedules, maps, parking info, FAQs, and all other information to ensure the Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience at this year’s event. Big City Turn Me Loose and Set Me FREE! Tickets to 2016 CMA Music Festival are sold out, but there is so much more to enjoy than just the Nightly Concerts at Nissan Stadium. CMA Music Festival boasts numerous FREE stages featuring diverse lineups throughout downtown Nashville. CMA Music Festival is a four-day ticket, but it is a week-long event with ancillary events and activities built around the Festival schedule. CMA will announce performance lineups for the free stages in the coming weeks. X Marks the Spot Over the years, every star in the format has participated in CMA Music Festival, performing for free and greeting fans. The epicenter of that fan/artist interaction is Fan Fair X in the Music City Center. “The personal connection between the artists and their fans is what sets this format apart, and defines this Festival,” Trahern said. “We have taken that relationship and amped it up in Fan Fair X this year with autograph signings, Q&A sessions, performances, a marketplace, lifestyle vendors, and more.” With 353,000 square feet of artist booths, shopping, exhibits, and three stages fans have numerous options to keep them busy Thursday through Sunday, June 9-12 (10:00 AM-5:00 PM). The crown jewel of the Fan Fair X experience is the CMA Close Up Stage featuring intimate and interactive programming with top artists, including the featured “Artist of the Day.” The CMA Close Up Stage ballooned to 800 seats (with additional standing room) in 2015 and due to the enormous popularity of the stage will grow again in 2016 to accommodate 1,000 fans for star-packed performances, panels, presentations, and more. The hub of fan/artist interaction will be at the CMA Artist Experience booth where artists will sign autographs and meet fans. Artist meet-and-greets are a highlight of the Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience. CMA Music Festival offers the chance to do just that as well as opportunities for prizes, special VIP exclusives, and once in a lifetime fan experiences through a special drawing. The procedures for the Ultimate Fan Experiences drawing foster a safe atmosphere, and make the process for securing moments with the most popular artists equitable for all Festivalgoers. Fan Fair X Ticket to Fun Tickets to Fan Fair X are available now at Ticketmaster (Fan Fair X admission is included in four-day CMA Music Festival tickets). Fan Fair X tickets are $10 per day or $25 for a four-day pass. For the second year, fans will be able to purchase a four-day pass to Fan Fair X that includes a general admission ticket to the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum that is good for use any day in 2016. The package deal goes on sale today through Friday, June 10 and costs $39.95. The combination Fan Fair X/Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum tickets are available via the Country Music Hall of Fame website, http://countrymusichalloffame.org, and will also be sold at their box office during the week of CMA Music Festival. For upcoming talent announcements and all other info, download the 2016 CMA Music Festival mobile app for iPhone or Android to view the latest artist lineups and to plan their Festival experience. Fans can also stay connected with CMA on CMAfest.com, Facebook.com/CMA, Twitter.com/CountryMusic, Instagram.com/CMA, and sign up for CMA Exclusive CMA’s e-newsletter. CMA Music Festival will once again be filmed for a national television special to air on the ABC Television Network. This is the 13th consecutive year that the event has been filmed for a network television special, a feat no other music festival has achieved. “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” will be executive-produced by Robert Deaton. CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. Fan Fair® is a registered trademark WSM Inc. and used by permission.