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Sunday, 17 May, 2009 1:08 PM

CMA Announces Exciting Developments Ahead for CMA Music Festival

Photo credit: Amanda Eckard / CMA

The Daytime Stages at Riverfront Park will be free and open to the public during CMA Music Festival, June 11-14, 2009.

By Scott Stem
© 2009 CMA Close Up News Service

Leaders of CMA, the Metro Government of Nashville and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau (NCVB) assembled at the historic Metro Courthouse in March to unveil exciting new plans for CMA Music Festival. Among the most important changes revealed at the press conference were the addition of a new stage on the Public Square in front of the Courthouse and free public access for the first time to the concerts at Riverfront Park.

"We have always enjoyed a great relationship with the City, but this takes our partnership to a whole new level," said CMA CEO Tammy Genovese. "We are now able to offer the residents of Nashville and the surrounding communities even more opportunities to access free music, family-friendly activities and more. CMA Music Festival is the best entertainment experience of its kind and now it can be enjoyed by more people than ever before."

"Nashville is Music City and the CMA Music Festival, which draws tens of thousands of music fans from across the world, is an important part of that identity," said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. "With the additions to the Festival this year, this world-class event will be more accessible than ever to our local residents. I look forward to looking out the window at the Courthouse and seeing music fans from Nashville and abroad enjoying two of our city's greatest amenities - the Public Square and Riverfront Park."

"CMA is definitely on the right track and their timing couldn't be better," said Butch Spyridon, NCVB President. "While they are already successful, they are looking for ways to broaden the event, extend the stay of our visitors and reach out to include the local community. More music and more value will do all of those things. Great 'free' music and more money for our schools."

This area at the Public Square, known as the Music City Zone and programmed by the NCVB, will provide residents and visitors an opportunity to enjoy the breadth and diversity of musical styles found in Music City, free of charge.

"Adding the Music City Zone gives us a chance to showcase even more local stars and gives us an opportunity to broaden the styles of music that are readily available any day in this city," said Spyridon.

CMA has also waived admission charges for the daily concerts at Riverfront Park, which feature many of today's most popular performers on stage with longer sets.

"We feel like this is an undeniable value for everyone who loves great music," said Steve Moore, CMA Board President and Chairman of the CMA Music Festival Steering Committee. "With the state of the economy, families are belt-tightening and going without. We don't want them to go without great, free family entertainment this summer. And this is it."

The Festival is not only fun for the entire family but beneficial to the City of Nashville - in 2008, the NCVB estimated that the event generated $22 million in direct visitor spending.

This year's Festival will also allow residents of Middle Tennessee and visitors to support music education beyond the cost of their Festival ticket purchase. CMA donates half the net proceeds of the Festival to Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) through its Keep the Music Playing (KTMP) program. The Nashville Alliance for Public Education (NAPE) will be collecting new and "gently used" band instruments to be provided to students in need. The instruments can be dropped off during the Festival in the Dr Pepper-McDonald's Family Zone.

"If you have a clarinet in the closet or a trumpet in a trunk, dust it off and bring it to us so we can 'Keep the Music Playing' in Nashville public schools," said Pam Garrett, NAPE Executive Director. "One instrument can have a huge impact on the life and future of a child and your donation of a gently used band instrument can make a difference."

As an incentive, McDonald's is offering a free Extra Value Meal to the first 500 Festival attendees who donate a musical instrument. "We're glad to be able to help CMA with this program," said Ted Bertuca Jr., a local McDonald's owner. "Music is an important part of our public education and we applaud those who donate used instruments for these students."

Lending their talents to the cause is an exceptional lineup of artists, including Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, Rodney Atkins, Dierks Bentley, Brooks & Dunn, Luke Bryan, Julianne Hough, Jamey Johnson, Lady Antebellum, Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Montgomery Gentry, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley, John Rich, Taylor Swift, Lee Ann Womack, Zac Brown Band and more to be announced.

Surprise performances and guest appearances are a hallmark of the Nightly Concerts on the VAULT Concert Stage at LP Field. The excitement will be filmed for a network television special on ABC - which, in another first, will expand from two hours to three to include even more high-wattage performances. The special, which airs later this summer, is a primetime postcard inviting the nation to experience the music and hospitality Nashville is known for.

As the footprint of the Festival grows, so does CMA's relationships within the business community. The Festival represents the values that attract business to Middle Tennessee, whether entertaining clients or providing tickets as incentives for employees. For example, since 2004, HCA has purchased nearly 5,500 four-day Festival tickets, and nearly 8,000 single-night tickets as staff giveaways.

"CMA Music Festival has given HCA the opportunity to support the arts and education while giving our employees the opportunity to participate in one of Nashville's most loved yearly events," said Jana Davis, VP, HCA Corporate Communications and Marketing.

"This is only the beginning of what can be accomplished when the talents of the music community combine with the limitless enthusiasm and creativity of Nashville's business and arts community," said Moore. "We invite the businesses and organizations interested in partnering with us to grow this event to get involved."

And because the Festival supports music education in MNPS, business leaders appreciate that half the net proceeds go directly to the students who need it most.

"We all know the importance of music and art programs in keeping kids in school and improving graduation rates," said Bert Mathews, President, The Mathews Company and Vice Chairman, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. "This benefits the entire community for years to come."

Groups and organizations are stepping up. For example, the new Music City Drum and Bugle Corps, the flagship unit of the non-profit organization Music City Youth in the Arts, has selected the Fifth Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade to launch their program, which provides exceptional learning and performing opportunities for local students.

"It will be an honor for the corps to be part of the Parade, especially since the Festival does so much to support music education," said Keith Hall, Executive Director, Music City Drum and Bugle Corps.

The winner of the Music City Corporate Band Challenge, presented by the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, will be one of the acts booked to perform in the Music City Zone.

"What makes Nashville a truly creative community is the amazing scope and depth of artistic talent in all genres and at all levels - from visual arts to performing arts and from non-profit to commercial," said Connie Valentine, President/CEO, Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville. "The Arts & Business Council is excited to be part of a pioneer collaboration with CMA and NCVB to expand Nashville's signature Festival, by embracing Music City's broad creative community that reaches far beyond the Country Music scene."

Since it was established in 1971, Hard Rock International has been committed to a wide variety of philanthropic causes and activities around the world. Hard Rock Cafe Nashville has participated in numerous charity events with key partners, most notably for the past four years with the Festival. This year, it puts the power of its retail muscle behind a co-branded pin that will be available during the event to stress the importance of music education in public schools.

"Hard Rock is elated to be partnering with CMA and Keep the Music Playing for its latest charitable co-branded pin," said Vilma Salinas, Sales and Marketing Manager, Hard Rock Cafe Nashville. "In alignment with Hard Rock's motto 'Love All, Serve All,' both philanthropic organizations work tirelessly to preserve Nashville's beloved Music City moniker and ensure that its future continues to thrive for many years to come."

Tickets for CMA Music Festival are available at 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378),, or 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at Ticketmaster outlets.

For up-to-the-minute information about tickets, travel information, schedules, artist appearances and more, visit and sign up for CMA Exclusive e-news.

CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. CMA Board member Tony Conway is the Executive Producer of CMA Music Festival. Premiere Radio Networks is the official radio broadcaster. Partners include: Chevy: The Official Ride of Country Music; CMT; Dr Pepper; Durango; Greased Lighting; Great American Country (GAC); McDonald's; VAULT Citrus Soda; and Wrangler: The Exclusive Jean of the CMA Music Festival. is Detroit's exclusive media outlet for this syndicated weekly column!




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Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer.