CMA Festival Survival Guide

One of Music City’s biggest weeks is on the horizon. Every year artists and fans alike flock to Nashville to entertain and be entertained at the CMA Music Festival.

This year’s festival takes place June 7 - 10, so dust off your boots and pull that pair of tight jeans out of the closet. Wait, who are we kidding? Tight Fittin’ Jeans are our forte.

For those who’ve never attended the CMA Music Festival, let me issue one warning. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

There’s so much to do and not enough hours to do it all. It’s extremely easy to tire yourself out before the end. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and drink plenty of water. The only passing out we want to see is from when Jake Owen takes the stage.

While the biggest events don’t start taking place until Thursday, June 7, there’s plenty to do around town for all you early bird arrivals.

If you’re in town on Wednesday, June 6, the CMA Music Festival Kickoff Parade begins at 11 a.m. Country Legend Glen Campbell will serve as the Grand Marshall with entertainment provided by Little Big Town. The parade will run along Broadway from 10th Avenue and will end at the Riverfront Stage.

After the parade, the 7th Annual CMA Music Fest Block party will kick off with some of country music’s hottest new acts providing the entertainment.

With the CMT Music Awards broadcasting live and Marty Stuart’s Late Night Jam, there’ll be plenty to do Wednesday night around town but make sure you get your rest because Thursday morning the schedule scramble begins.

During the day you’ll find plenty of (free) music at four separate stages around downtown.

Bic Soleil Bella Beach Stage: Located in Walk of Fame Park, this stage runs from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Some of the highlights are American Idol’s Kristy Lee Cook and Lacey Brown and the sweet sounds of Morgan Frazier. Also, be sure to check out the hot Michael Ray.

Durango Acoustic Corner: Located at Fan Fair Hall in the Nashville Convention Center, this stages runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Some highlights of the Durango Acoustic Corner are country legend Janie Fricke, 90’s staples Doug Stone and Mark Willis, The Voice’s Gwen Sebastian and Survivor runner-up Chase Rice.

Bud Light Stage: Located at the Bridgestone Arena Plaza, the Bud Light stage will host artists from 11 a.m. to 5:25 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Don’t miss the soulful, sultry voice of Julie Roberts. Other highlights include Sonia Leigh, Jason Michael Carroll and Idol’s Josh Gracin.

Chevrolet Riverfront Stage: Located on the river, this stage boasts some bigger names all day long Thursday through Sunday. If I can tell you anything from last year, Broadway actress, comedian and country music sensation Laura Bell Bundy will deliver an electrifying show. This is one show you don’t want to miss. Other highlights include 90’s icons Lorrie Morgan, Tracy Lawrence and Jo Dee Messina as well as Eden’s Edge, Heidi Newfield, Jerrod Neiman and the incomparable David Nail.

The fireworks kick off nightly for those with tickets to LP Field. These shows are sure to rock your socks off. Crossover stars Carrie Underwood and Faith Hill are among the divas set to perform. Also set to take the stage are Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Alan Jackson, Eric Church, Jason Aldean and more. Fans will also be treated to an acoustic performance from Kellie Pickler.

CMA Music Festival can be a music lover’s dream but remember a little planning and a lot of rest go a long way. Yes, I am still kicking myself for missing Taylor Swift last year.

You can stay up to date by following the CMA Music Festival on Twitter @CountryMusic or Facebook at

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