Curate your own CMA Festival in Nashville, TN

While we wait for CMA Fest to return in 2022, plan your own mini version of the festival. | Photo via Unsplash

CMA Festoriginally scheduled for this weekend — is on pause for the second year due the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, more than 50,000 country music fans attended nightly sold-out shows at Nissan Stadium during the city’s largest annual tourism event.

In the spirit of all things CMA Fest + country music, we’ve put together this guide to help you curate your own festival this summer.

Tune into the CMT Awards

The CMT Awards — traditionally held at Bridgestone Arena the night before CMA Fest gets underway — is still on this year, and it’s happening live tonight. Hosted by Kane Brown + Kelsea Ballerini, the awards show features performances by Carrie Underwood, Mickey Guyton, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert + many more.

Presenters include Brett Young, Carly Pearce, and Little Big Town, as well as Anthony Mackie, Busy Philipps, and Michael Strahan. The fan-voted show is set to air at 7 p.m. on CMT, MTV + Paramount Network.

Relive some of the best moments

From Garth Brooks‘ 2017 surprise appearance at Nissan Stadium (his first in 20 years) to Miranda Lambert’s debut CMA Fest performance in 2007, let’s look back on 16 years of festival moments.

Remember when Eric Church performed a nonstop 17-song acoustic medley to 60,000 fans or when Steven Tyler and Martina McBride teamed up for “Cryin’?” Head over to CMA’s official YouTube + rewatch festival clips ‘till your heart’s content.  

Brush up on CMA Fest history

In case you didn’t know, what’s now CMA Fest originally began as Fan Fair in 1972. Over the past 50 years, the festival moved from Municipal Auditorium to the Nashville Fairgrounds to downtown.

Maybe you want to learn more about Garth’s 23-hour autograph session in 1996 or see photos of Minnie Pearl + Charley Pride during the festival’s first decade. If so, consider this photo gallery required viewing.

Dine out on Broadway + listen to live music

In 2019, CMA Fest generated a record $65 million in direct visitor spendingmore than double what the fest brought in in 2013 — and we know some of that supported hotels, transportation, and dining out downtown.

If you haven’t checked out bars on Broadway in awhile, Miranda Lambert just opened Casa Rosa + you never know when artists like Luke Bryan will take the stage at his 6-story bar, Luke’s 32 Bridge. For live music, keep up with this ongoing calendar to stay entertained all summer long.

Drive down Music Row

Downtown gets a lot of the buzz during the actual festival, but it’s also a good time to do some sight-seeing on Music Row. Plus, you can easily reserve tickets to tour RCA Studio B or catch a show at Bobby’s Idle Hour.

Start planning for CMA Fest 2022

Mark those calendars for June 9-12, 2022. The good news is that if you purchased 4-day passes for CMA Fest 2020 and selected the rollover option, your passes for CMA Fest 2022 will be honored. If not, stay tuned for more details over the next year, including lineup announcements + 2022 tickets options.