As country music fans from all over the globe prepare to make their annual pilgrimage to Nashville for CMA Music Fest, taking place June 5-8, Music City is bracing for the onslaught of fan club parties, charity benefits, autograph sessions and concerts that make it Country Music’s biggest party. Launched in 1972 as Fan Fair, the first gathering drew 5,000 people to Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium and expanded to the Nashville Fairgrounds a decade later. Since relocating to downtown Nashville in 2001, where it was rebranded CMA Music Fest, the event has grown exponentially. In 2013, the festival’s daily attendance was a record-setting 80,000. This year’s Music Fest sold out 15 weeks in advance. Attendees are traveling from all 50 states as well as 24 foreign countries.
CMA Music Fest 2014 will feature 450 artists on 11 different stages, totaling 130 hours of concerts. The nightly stadium shows at LP Field will once again be filmed for an ABC TV special, “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock,” hosted by Little Big Town and airing Aug. 5.