2009 CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL ATTENDANCE UP 7.2 PERCENT
Tickets for 2010 CMA Music Festival Selling Fast; Consumer Ticket Sales 4.6 Percent Ahead of the Same Time Last Year
NASHVILLE - CMA Music Festival hit an all-time high attendance record in 2009 despite a downturn in the economy and a general decline in festival attendance across the nation with a 7.2 percent increase over 2008 during the four-day Festival, Thursday through Sunday, June 11-14, in Downtown Nashville.
"Even with gasoline prices more than $2 a gallon and weak economic conditions around the country, we saw increases in our attendance from local and regional residents," said CMA Chief Executive Officer Tammy Genovese. "We believe that is due in large part to a strong regional advertising push, the addition of free concerts, the popularity of our artists, and the entertainment value of the nightly shows at LP Field."
The average daily attendance in 2009 was 56,000. By comparison, in 2008 the average daily attendance was 52,000. The uptick was felt in single concert tickets and attendance in the Festival's free zones and concert venues including Riverfront Park, which was free to the community for the first time.
Fans definitely enjoyed themselves and made it known at the box office. Tickets for CMA Music Festival 2010, which will be held June 10-13, went on sale Saturday and consumer ticket sales, which include pre-sale tickets, are up 4.6 percent over 2008. 2010 CMA Music Festival tickets go on sale nationwide today.
"You know you are giving the fans what they want when they put down their hard-earned money - especially in light of economic uncertainty - for an event that is 12 months away," remarked Genovese.
When the final counts were tallied Sunday night, there was a slight 3.6 percent drop in four-day ticket sales. The biggest increases were in single night tickets, which increased 19.5 percent, and record attendance in the free areas - including Riverfront Park, the Dr Pepper®-McDonald's® Family Zone, Fun Zone, Sports Zone, and the new Music City Zone on the Public Square at Metro Courthouse.
"The Music City Zone was a hit and is a lock for the future - more value, more music, more fun!" said Butch Spyridon, President of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, which programmed the concerts and activities in the Music City Zone.
According to the NCVB, the direct visitor spending generated by CMA Music Festival in 2008 was $22 million. And it seems that 2009, was a boon to business again. Figures for 2009 will be released at a later date.
"This was another home run," Spyridon said. "Hotels were full, sales were up downtown, and it seemed like the fans came earlier than ever."
"This was absolutely the best CMA Music Festival EVER," said Brenda Sanderson, owner of The Stage on Broadway Legends Corner, Second Fiddle and Nashville Crossroads. "Crowds were over the top and so excited to be here in Music City. CMA really created an attitude that Nashville puts on a great party. I saw a lot of families this year and people of all ages seemed to enjoy all the diverse events going on."
Surprise appearances are a hallmark of this event. And 2009 didn't disappoint. The lineup Friday night at the VAULTTM Concert Stage at LP Field included an unannounced appearance by Kid Rock. On Sunday, Sugarland delighted the crowd.
"Each year we strive to give the fans something fun and unexpected," Genovese said. "We delivered again this year."
And it all benefits children and music education in Music City. The artists and celebrities participating in CMA 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 more than $2.2 million on behalf of the artists who participate in the Festival.
To supplement the thousands of instruments purchased by funds from the Festival, the Nashville Alliance collected gently-used band instruments in the Dr Pepper-McDonald's Family Zone, including a clarinet from "American Idol" finalist Bo Bice. The potential value of the program prompted the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum to be a drop off location for the instrument drive through the end of June. Instruments may be dropped off during regular Museum hours at Guest Services in the Conservatory. As an added incentive, the Museum is offering a $5 discount off admission to the Museum for up to five family members that can be used until Dec. 31, 2009.
This year, the Hard Rock Cafe Nashville stepped up to support the music education program by creating two collectible pins for the Festival with funds going to support "Keep the Music Playing." By Friday, the CMA Music Festival branded guitar pin was sold out.
"We are thrilled about how well-received Hard Rock's partnership with CMA has been by the fans during this 2009 CMA Festival season," said Vilma Salinas, Sales and Marketing Manager for Hard Rock Cafe Nashville. "Thanks to the success of our co-branded pin program, Hard Rock is pleased to foster continued music education and help 'Keep the Music Playing' for many years to come in Music City."
CMA Music Festival is - and always will be - about the fans and their relationship with the artists and the music. The theme is universal and in 2009, Festival attendees came from every state, including Washington, D.C., and 26 foreign territories including Africa, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (which includes England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland).
The Festival got underway Wednesday with Grand Marshall Rodney Atkins leading the way for "The Fifth Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade."
Following the procession, the fun kicked into high gear with "The Fourth Annual CMA Music Festival Block Party" on the Sommet Center Plaza Stage. Atkins, Jason Michael Carroll, Eric Church, Emerson Drive, LoCash Cowboys, The Lost Trailers, James Otto, and Trent Tomlinson performed for an estimated crowd of more than 6,000.
In all, nearly 30 acts participated in the star-packed Nightly Concerts on the VAULT Concert Stage at LP Field.
Lightning and high winds interrupted the concerts for three hours Thursday. Fans were safely evacuated into the corridors of LP Field to wait it out. The storm passed, and the show went on, ending at 2:00 AM.
Show closer Brad Paisley had this to say from stage: "Good morning, Nashville! You guys are hardcore! Half the time I say we'll stay until 2:30, jokingly. Heck, if we play three songs, we'll be here until 3:00 in the morning!"
The lineup Thursday also included Dierks Bentley, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, and Darius Rucker. Several artists had previous commitments, including out of town concert dates, forcing them to leave before the all clear from the weather service including Rascal Flatts, Julianne Hough, and Jimmy Wayne, who had been scheduled to perform an acoustic set.
Pre-show activities included the presentation of the Stars and Stripes by the United States Marine Corps Recruiting Station Nashville Color Guard and a fly over with FA-18s from The Thunderbolts of VMFA 251 from Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, S.C., a tradition that was a crowd pleaser all four nights. Artist and "Dancing with the Stars" alum Chuck Wicks sang the national anthem, and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean officially welcomed fans to Music City for the 38th annual event, which began as Fan Fair® in 1972.
Fans were treated to performances Friday by Jason Aldean, Rodney Atkins, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Jake Owen, and Zac Brown Band. Martina McBride made a surprise appearance to sing the Kid Rock/Sheryl Crow duet "Picture" with Kid Rock.
"He just called and asked if I wanted to do the duet with him, and I said 'Absolutely,'" McBride recalled of being asked to perform with Kid Rock. "He's a great guy and it was a blast. I had so much fun."
Saturday's lineup featured Trace Adkins, Jamey Johnson, Martina McBride, Josh Turner, Lee Ann Womack, and
Wynonna (with a special appearance by The Judds). Jason Michael Carroll delivered an acoustic performance.
After performing a selection of her memorable hits as a solo artist, Wynonna primed the crowd with an announcement:
"The time has come. Get your cameras ready. It's Bring-Your-Mom-To-Work Day! So, come on out wherever you are Mama!" With that introduction, Naomi joined her daughter for a reunion of The Judds.
Sunday's lineup rocked the house with Jack Ingram, who was introduced by the stars of Lifetime's "Army Wives" Sally Pressman ("Roxie") and Wendy Davis ("Joan"), Miranda Lambert, Montgomery Gentry, John Rich, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, and reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney, who capped the night and closed the Festival. Heidi Newfield performed an acoustic set.
"I'm really proud to be back here this year," Chesney said to the adoring crowd. "Thank you for loving Country Music."
After an hour-long delay due to rain and high winds, fan favorite Gretchen Wilson got the 2009 CMA Music Festival off to an energetic start Thursday morning during the kick-off concert at Riverfront Park. Fans were waiting before dawn to see the powerhouse performer.
The stage bustled throughout the four days with a talented roster of outstanding performers delivering longer sets for the appreciative crowd. In all, 44 acts performed nearly 32 hours of concerts over the four days.
Sommet Plaza Stage
The single stage at Riverfront made it easier between sets for fans to experience some of the other daytime concert venues in the new Music City Zone, the Sommet Center Plaza Stage, and the Hard Rock stage in the Fun Zone.
The lineup at the Plaza Stage included 39 acts performing 20 hours of concerts. The lineup included up-and-comers, established stars, and legends. The Hard Rock stage hosted 33 acts performing for nearly 18 hours. The venue also presented several songwriter performances, featuring 15 of Nashville's best tunesmiths.
Greased Lightning® Fan Fair® Hall
The state of continuous commotion that's been the standard for the Greased Lightning Fan Fair Hall was back in force with 433 artists and celebrities appearing at the Nashville Convention Center. Exhibit booths sold out with 86 exhibitors. Attendance over the four days exceeded 53,000.
Making her first appearance in the Exhibit Hall in 13 years was Reba McEntire, signing 350 autographs. Also signing this year were Carrie Underwood, who signed for four hours, and Taylor Swift, who signed for five hours Sunday.
Dedicated fans camped out on the street outside of the Exhibit Hall starting at 2:30 PM Saturday for an opportunity to be first in line to meet Swift on Sunday.
Jennifer Kardell, 23, from Lincoln, Neb., was camped out to be first in line to meet Underwood. "We were definitely dedicated to being the first in line," she said. "A lady here in line was saying that there were always these same two guys in front; that was their goal as long as they've been coming here. And she was like, 'They'd better watch their back!' We're the new competition!"
Autograph seeking as a competitive sport aside, there are perks for the patient. Neal McCoy stopped by at 7:00 AM Thursday to visit with the people waiting to get into the Nashville Convention Center.
Other popular draws were Jason Aldean, Rodney Atkins, Dierks Bentley, Jason Michael Carroll, Bucky Covington, Emerson Drive, Julianne Hough, Lady Antebellum, The Lost Trailers, Montgomery Gentry, James Otto, LeAnn Rimes, Chuck Wicks, Gretchen Wilson, Wynonna, and Zac Brown Band.
Durango® Boots presented the Acoustic Corner, which launched in 2004 as a showcase for independent artists, featured 24 solo or group performers. The area on the second floor of the Convention Center hosted a steady stream of fans during nearly 18 hours of music.
Premiere on the Air
CMA's official radio partner, Premiere Radio Networks, brought 20 of Country radio's top-rated stations from markets including Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Louisville, Nashville, Norfolk, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa, Washington, D.C., and overnight syndicated radio program "After MidNite with Blair Garner" to Nashville for three days of remote broadcasts from the Convention Center. Seventy-five artists and celebrities participated in the remotes reaching 14.7 million listeners ages 12+ according to Arbitron Nationwide Fall 2008 figures.
CMA Music Festival Merchandise
The official CMA Music Festival merchandise line was very popular with attendees. According to Music City Merchandise, which designs and produces the collection, the Festival experienced record sales in 2009. The most popular items were related to the weather with CMA Music Festival rain ponchos and pink tank tops popular choices with attendees. Music City Merchandise, which had booths at the Greased Lightning Fan Fair Hall, Daytime Stage at Riverfront Park, Dr Pepper-McDonald's Family Zone, the Sommet Center, and VAULT Concert Stage at LP Field, has been CMA's merchandise partner for the past 15 years.
CMA's free Sports Zone was a huge hit with participants and fans looking for fun and friendly competition.
The Field & Stream Celebrity Total Outdoorsman Challenge was a highlight Thursday with Country Music artists and other celebrities showing off their hunting and fishing skills in a lively competition. After casting, shooting and archery, Rhean Boyer of Carolina Rain was first, followed by Matt Dame from the duo Taylor Dame, and Scot Marcin, the 2005 Total Outdoorsman Challenge winner. Boyer will be featured in Field & Stream magazine and the top three finishers each took home a Diamond Archery bow.
On Friday, Field & Stream held a regional event with 50 pre-qualified local sportsmen and sportswomen competing to move on to the National Championships to be held Sept. 10-13, in Springfield, Mo. Tom Boatright, of Perdido, Ala., had the best overall score among the competitors moving on to the National Championship, with a grand prize of $25,000, a Yamaha ATV, a trip to Nashville for the 2009 CMA Awards, and a spread in Field & Stream magazine.
Also on Friday, Daniel Lee Martin, of The Sportsman Channel's "Backstage & Backroads," hosted the Outdoor Life Save-A-Stream Charity Pro-Am with artists and the Primos Hunting Pro staff testing their game-calling skills in a friendly competition. The winning team was artist John Stone and Keith Burgess of Primos Hunting Calls. Stone donated his $1,000 winnings to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
Another fan favorite, the K9s In Flight "Ultimate K9 Sports Show Presented by Waggin' Train," returned to the Sports Zone with shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with packed bleachers of cheering pet lovers.
The Mahindra Tractors Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge returned to the Sports Zone on Friday with artists and champion bull riders competing for the best mechanical bull ride. The event was hosted by Susie Dobbs, singer and executive producer/co-host of "Beyond Rodeo" on RFD-TV. The winning team, who took home belt buckles, was professional rider Jake Littlefield and artist Jason Brown, who also won the event in 2008.
Sunday's "Fifth Annual New Holland Celebrity Tractor Race, hosted by Michael Peterson" had artists and celebrities revved up with contestants racing against the clock through an obstacle course on a New Holland BoomerTM compact tractor. The winner in a VERY close contest was singer/songwriter Darby Ledbetter (last year's champion), with an astounding time of 48.31 seconds, besting second-place finisher Stephen Barker Liles, of Love and Theft with 48.34 seconds. Joey Feek, of Joey + Rory, defeated her husband, Rory Feek, for a third place score of 49.31 seconds.
Dr Pepper®-McDonald's® Family Zone
Growing in popularity each year since it was introduced in 2001, the free Dr Pepper-McDonald's Family Zone was buzzing during CMA Music Festival with activities for youngsters and the young at heart.
The Family Zone was a popular destination Sunday for the Dr Pepper-McDonald's Family Picnic, with McDonald's providing free sandwiches to the first 500 attendees. McDonalds distributed 21,000 coupons for McCafe Coffee, 22,000 coupons for Apple Dippers, 12,500 coupons for Fun Meals and Cookies, and handed out 1,800 Happy Meal toys.
"We are excited to once again to have been a part of the CMA Music Festival," said Ted Bertuca Jr., local McDonald's Operator. "The fans coming to our booth in the Dr Pepper-McDonald's Family Zone are always so appreciative of our efforts. This year we served Apple Dippers and McDonald's Fun Cookies. We distributed coupons good for a free McCafe Coffee and invited fans to use them while in Nashville or back home at their local McDonald's restaurant.
"We were also pleased to be selected to provide the food for Sunday's picnic in the Family Zone. The first 500 fans received McDonald's Southern Style Chicken along with Apple Dippers and Cherry Pies. We believe in supporting the fans of the music that made Nashville 'Music City USA.' We are appreciative to the folks at CMA and Dr Pepper for allowing us to participate in this wonderful event."
ABC Block Party/ABC Daytime
Drama is a staple of both Country Music lyrics and daytime television series, and the artists and actors met at the crossroads during 2009 CMA Music Festival when the ABC Daytime stars of "All My Children," "General Hospital" and "One Life to Live" made their return at the Festival.
Cameron Mathison ("Ryan Lavery" on "All My Children") hosted the ABC All-Star Block Party Friday and Saturday at the Hall of Fame Park. The Divas of Daytime: Kathy Brier and Kassie DePaiva ("Marcie McBain" and "Blair McBain," respectively, from "One Life to Live"), and Bobbie Eakes ("Krystal Carey" on "All My Children"), made their Nashville debut as a musical trio at the ABC event. The Divas also signed autographs and participated in audience Q&A sessions along with their fellow ABC Daytime stars.
There were special musical performances by Sara Evans, and up-and-coming Country artists including Sarah Buxton, Caitlin & Will, and Love and Theft. Over the four days of the Festival, a popular attraction was the toned-down, but hilarious ABC reality show "Wipeout" obstacle course with rolling log and punch wall.
"It was cool and a lot of fun to be up there, but it is not as easy as it looks," said Johnny Edwards, of Johnson City, Tenn., of the "Wipeout" course.
More than 700 journalists from more than 200 domestic and international media outlets were credentialed for 2009 CMA Music Festival. Among the domestic outlets credentialed for CMA Music Festival were ABC.com, ABC Radio Networks, AOL/The Boot, Associated Press, Associated Press TV, Blender.com, CMT.com, "CMT Insider," CMT Radio Network, Country Weekly, Digital Rodeo, E! Entertainment Television, ESPN, GAC Radio Network, GACtv.com, Getty Images, "Good Morning America," "Headline Country," "Honky Tonk TV," "Inside Music Row," "Larry King Live," Marie Claire.com, MSN.com, OK Magazine, Pentagon Channel, People, People.com, Premiere Radio Network, Reuters, RFD, Rhapsody.com, SiriusXM Radio, SoapNet, The Tennessean, TrueCountry.TV, TV Guide, USA Today, USA Today.com, US Weekly, Westwood One Radio, and Yallwire.com.
International media from 12 countries were credentialed as well, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Middle East, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and UK. Among the 42 international outlets represented were Bayern 3 (Germany), BBC Radio Lancashire (UK), Highland Radio (Ireland), Morgenpost Sachsen (Germany), NRK (Norway), and RTL (France).
Sponsorship is a key element to the marketing, fan experience and financial support of the Festival. CMA partners gave out nearly 800,000 product samples.
VAULT, the title sponsor of the LP Field concert stage, distributed 70,106 samples in the Fun Zone, LP Field, and Exhibit Hall.
"The CMA Music Festival once again proved why it is the ultimate Country Music experience and VAULT was proud to refresh the more than 56,000 fans," said Neil Golson, VAULT Brand Manager. "The event gave VAULT so many different ways to bring Country Music to the great fans in Nashville including taking the VAULT Taste Challenge in the Fun Zone on Broadway, rockin' under the stars at the VAULT Concert Stage at LP Field, and getting autographs from Montgomery Gentry and others at the VAULT stage in the Exhibit Hall."
Greased Lightning Cleaning Products, the title sponsor of the Fan Fair Hall, passed out more than 32,000 samples, 25,000 glow sticks, and 12,000 yellow Greased Lightning logoed grocery bags during the Festival.
"We are so delighted to have once again been a part of such a legendary event," said Natalie Brooke, Assistant Marketing Manager, Greased Lightning Cleaning Products. "The CMA Music Festival provides an outlet like no other for Greased Lightning to connect with customers and promote brand awareness. For the first time, this year, Greased Lightning claimed title sponsorship of the Fan Fair Hall, located in the Nashville Convention Center. Expanding our presence in the Hall truly afforded Greased Lightning a wonderful opportunity to get our product into customer's hands and to celebrate with the music industry's more loyal fans."For up-to-the-minute information about tickets, travel information, schedules, artists appearing at 2010 CMA Music Festival and more, visit www.CMAfest.com. Sign up for CMA Exclusive, the official eNewsletter of Country Music, where fans get connected to Country and receive exciting updates about your favorite artists, contests, free stuff and more. Join the free CMA Mobile Community by texting CMAINFO to 66937 (standard text rates apply).
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