As Nashville grows, so does CMA Music Festival.
Since moving to downtown Nashville in 2001, the Festival has grown with the city – embracing opportunities to present new exciting venues for thousands of fans who travel from around the globe for the Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience™.
“Music is the foundation of CMA Music Festival, and we are always exploring new venues and settings for fans to enjoy everything from intimate acoustic performances to our full-tilt stadium shows,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “With 11 stages this year – including our two new stages – we have numerous opportunities for music discovery.”
New in 2016 are AT&T Skyview Stage and Budweiser Acoustic Stage – both located at Ascend Amphitheater, which opened in 2015.
“Nashville’s popularity is booming and the city is growing at a tremendous pace, which provides more hotel rooms for our visitors and new options to help keep the Festival fresh for our attendees,” Trahern added. “A great example is our move into the Music City Center in 2013 with Fan Fair X, which has increased in attendance each year.”
To celebrate the new venue, CMA is hosting a free Kick-Off Concert and Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday, June 8 (11:00 AM). The Opening Ceremonies will be hosted by Country star Chris Young and feature appearances by the Mayor of Nashville Megan Barry, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and Metro Nashville Public Schools students who have benefited from CMA Foundation funds generated by the Festival.
Immediately following the Opening Ceremonies the party continues with the CMA Music Festival Kick Off Concert featuring SiriusXM Highway Finds, a full afternoon of performances showcasing live performances by artists played on SiriusXM’s The Highway as part of “Highway Finds” – the channel’s ongoing initiative to introduce new Country artists. The lineup includes Frankie Ballard, Clare Dunn, High Valley, Steve Moakler, William Michael Morgan, Old Dominion, Michael Ray, Aubrie Sellers, and Kalie Shorr. Artists and schedule subject to change.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are to work with CMA again this year and kick off CMA Music Fest with our ‘Highway Finds’ stage! We’ve curated a tremendous artist lineup and are looking forward to another outstanding show!” said J.R. Schumann, SiriusXM Senior Director Country Music Programming.
Highlights from the CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Concert featuring SiriusXM Highway Finds will air on SiriusXM’s The Highway, via satellite on channel 56, and through the SiriusXM App on smartphones and other connected devices, as well as online at siriusxm.com.
But that’s only the beginning! The newest stage at the Festival, AT&T Skyview Stage at Ascend Amphitheater, will feature back-to-back concerts, including several never-before-seen collaborations, Thursday through Sunday, June 9-12.
Appearing on the AT&T Skyview Stage are Bobby Bones and The Raging Idiots and “The Wonderful Women of Country”; Sara Evans; Tracy Lawrence and Friends; Marshall Tucker Band and Friends; Ashley Monroe; Music City Hit-Makers; Shenandoah; Sister Hazel; and The Oak Ridge Boys – “A Salute to America.”
Artists scheduled to appear with Bobby Bones and The Raging Idiots during “The Wonderful Women of Country” are Danielle Bradbery, Lindsay Ell, Jana Kramer, Maddie & Tae, Cassadee Pope, Hillary Scott, Lucie Silvas, and Natalie Stovall.
Lawrence will celebrate Country Music and artists from the ‘80s, ‘90s, and 2000s, including special appearances from John Berry, T. Graham Brown, John Michael Montgomery, Lorrie Morgan, and T.G. Sheppard.
Performances will be hosted by WUCZ-Nashville’s Dennis Banka and RJ Mitte from AMC’s hit show “Breaking Bad.”
The Budweiser Acoustic Stage, also at Ascend Amphitheater, will offer intimate performances from Country’s hottest new talent. Artists scheduled to appear include Seth Alley, Carlton Anderson, Chris Bandi, Rylie Bourne, Jeston Cade, Hannah Dasher, Hannah Ellis, Lacy Green, Emily Hackett, Kree Harrison, Jillian Jacqueline, Like Strangers, Hunter Phelps, Post Monroe, Jameson Rodgers, Brent Rupard, Shelley Skidmore, CJ Solar, and Mitchell Tenpenny. The Budweiser Acoustic Stage will be hosted by iHeartRadio personalities.
Gates for Ascend Amphitheater open 30 minutes early each day for four-day ticketholders. Four-day ticketholders also have access to first-come, first-served VIP seating. Visit CMAfest.com for the latest performance schedules.
Also new to the Festival this year, the Budweiser Country Club is a three-story structure located in Fan Alley that offers elevated views and activities brewed to be enjoyed while drinking America’s No. 1 full-flavored lager. The open-air space features two 20-foot bars with Budweiser Signature Draught towers, along with outdoor games, handcrafted goods produced by local Nashville craftsmen, and surprise guests throughout the weekend.
In addition to performances at the AT&T Skyview Stage, fans can cool off and connect at the AT&T l DIRECTV Lounge inside Fan Fair X. The lounge offers charging stations for fans to use while taking in all the entertainment options DIRECTV can provide. As the home of NFL Sunday Ticket, AT&T is bringing select Tennessee Titans players, as well as Country Music’s rising stars to the lounge during the Festival. The lounge will also feature a GIF photo booth to capture CMA Fest memories and a Chevrolet Connected Car. AT&T will be creating fan experiences throughout the Festival, including with the AT&T CMA Fest photo frames.
To help CMA Fest attendees upload their favorite moments to social media faster than ever before, AT&T has also improved the network services at the event. AT&T is deploying two Cell on Wheels (COWs) at key locations in Nashville and has installed Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) at Nissan Stadium, Bridgestone Arena, and the Music City Center. These two COWs and DAS will help provide attendees with increased network capacity to help them snap, tweet, post, and stream as much as they want during CMA Music Fest.
For upcoming talent announcements and all other info stay connected with CMA on CMAfest.com, Facebook.com/CMA, Twitter.com/CountryMusic, Instagram.com/CMA, “CMAsnaps” on Snapchat, and sign up for CMA Country Connection, CMA’s e-newsletter. This year’s app, presented by AT&T, is now available in the App store for iPhone and Android and includes features that allow fans to create individual concert schedules and be the first to know which of their favorite stars will be appearing on the free stages throughout the Festival.