Artists would sit in pipe-and-drape booths for hours, signing autographs and posing for photos. There is a legendary story about Garth Brooks, at his height of popularity, standing in a booth for 24 straight hours. And Taylor Swift achieved a similar feat a few years ago.
These days, the event has become more of what the new name implies: a music fest. On each of the three nights, there is a major concert at LP Field (where the Titans play), featuring the biggest names in our format. Tomorrow, for example, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, and Brad Paisley all headline the main stage. Go to CMAWorld.com and just check out the line-up of artists.
However, the major concerts are not the only thing about this event. For CMA Music Fest, the entire city of Nashville is overtaken by country music and its fans. There are several live music stages downtown, all running from 11am-midnight, for the three days. There are even more performances in the clubs downtown and throughout the area. It is a truly amazing festival.
What does it all mean? Why, that country music is alive and well, and brings the goods to the fans. All this is reasonably priced for the most important people to the appreciative country musicians: the fans. This is not an industry event. It is a FAN event, put on by the Country Music Association.
I have previously discussed how country music is primarily made in the same location, but this is the best example. All these acts live in Nashville, and that makes it much easier logistically to make an event like this happen. But an important sidenote is this: the artists want to do it for the fans.