June 2019. 3 years ago. That was the last time that the mile long strip of Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee was last host to thousands of country music fans from all over the world for the CMA Festival.
It is no secret that the past 2 years have been tough on everyone, they have taken their toll and this event that brought together a strong country music community was postponed two years in a row. It was almost seeming like we would never get back to the norm that we so desperately were craving.
June 2022. It was back! It seemed like a lifetime but as the festival organizers were setting up stalls, stages and more in downtown Nashville, we were preparing ourselves for the town to once again be buzzing with the sound of Country Music. Given the chance to yet again cover once of Country Music biggest events we of course jumped at the chance to be immersed in this and it was something truly special and a CMA Fest to remember!
Make sure you check out our individual articles that we will be posting for each night at Nissan Stadium!
As in previous years there were multiple stages set up around downtown Nashville and BMI, Warner and other labels has put on their own stages and events not only during the festival but in the run up. As the city flooded with thousands of people a day there was more than enough to go round. The Maui Jim stage, situated outside the Bridgestone Arena, saw acts such as Caroline Jones who held a captivated audience in her palm as she rocked out on the slide guitar and, the now duo, Temecula Road.
The Chevy Riverfront stage saw American Idol alumni, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina as well as new artist Priscilla Block who has broken onto the scene in a big way with her single ‘My Bar’. A great mix of old and new artists, names that were all to familiar to fans such as Easton Corbin and LOCASH to some of the newer breakthrough artists such as Elvie Shane and BRELAND.
It was truly something special to see so many people together bonding over this one love, the music. There was smiling, laughing, a little drinking and a damn good time to be had!
The pop up stages didn’t stop there. The Chevy Vibes stage even saw Rita Wilson opening the stage on day one of the festival; a great way to kick off what was sure to be a memorable 4 days. The stage also played host to Lily Rose who would also appear on the spotlight stage at Nissan Stadium.
The CMA Close Up stage gave fans a chance to get up close and personal for a more in depth experience with some of their favorite artists and featured acts like Russell Dickerson, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan and Chris Tomlin. If there is one thing I have learnt over the years it is that CMA Fest isn’t just a chance to see your favorite artists perform on a big stage; it’s a chance to get to know them. A chance to experience them like you never have before.
That isn’t all! The Dr Pepper Amp Stage brought even more music and a plethora of new and old artists to this captive audience, Shy Carter, Spencer Crandall and Hailey Whitters were just a small selection of the faces you may have been lucky enough to see on that stage. A chance to see some of the newest names in the genre alongside other artists like Jerrod Neiman.
The final official CMA stage associated with the festival was the Spotlight Stage which again did not disappoint. It saw performances from British act Catherine McGrath and newly signed Kimberly Kelly, who just signed a record deal with Toby Keith’s Show Dog Records.
As well as just the festival going ahead after these past few years the event saw another milestone. At one of Nashville’s newest venues, the Skydeck at Assembly Food Hall, the opening day of CMA Fest saw a dedicated LGBTQ+ stage as part of Country Proud. Many LGBTQ+ artist call Nashville their home and to see a Country music festival celebrate that and embrace the community was something truly special. It marked the first ever pride activation in American Country Music Festival History.
Check out our other CMA Fest articles that we will be posting!