One week ago we were at the Music City Center getting ready to find out what all the hype is about each year for the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee. In my blog, I want to share with you what I learned as a Native Nashvillian.
So, what is the big deal about the CMA Music Festival that is held in downtown Nashville every year? “The CMA Music Festival is a four-day music festival centered on country music hosted each June by the Country Music Association in Nashville, Tennessee. Beginning in 1972 as Fan Fair” it now generates crowds of more than 75,000 people!
Many of us who live in Nashville tend to head for the hills each year around the first of June. We know how crazy downtown will be with all the tourists descending on Music City to take in all the country music that Nashville has to offer.
Although I was born and raised in Nashville, before this year I had NEVER been to the CMA Festival and never really wanted to go. Don’t get me wrong- I love country music and love my hometown, I just wasn’t too crazy about being in the middle of 70,000 fans during 95 degree weather.
I have always understood the CMA Music Festival is good for our city and brings in a lot of revenue and puts us in the spotlight. “Sixty-three media representatives from 32 international outlets, such as BBC Radio 2, UK; ZDF, Germany; RTL, France; MBS, Canada; and DPA, Germany, with coverage in the following 20 countries, also descended on Nashville: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.” ( http://www.cmaworld.com/cma-music-festival/2017/06/2017-cma-music-festival-delivers-capacity-crowds-sold-nightly-concerts-highest-fan-engagement-46-year-history-music-event-summer/)
BUT I still never had a desire to be a part of Nashville’s busiest week of the year . . . until this year when I was accepted as a vendor at the CMA Xfinity Fan Fair X in the Music City Center where I would be selling my Nashville T-shirts, prints and Nashville products for 4 days.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as we were unloading our two vehicles and I saw large box trucks pulling up and forklifts unloading crates of items. I quickly realized the popular items for the tourists were cowboy hats, cowboy boots, tank tops with country sayings on them, and anything that promoted Country Music, Country Music Artists, and being a Country Music fan!
It hit me that I was one of the very few vendors who was NOT promoting Country Music! I was promoting Nashville. Yes, all these thousands of fans come to Nashville, but these loyal fans come here one week a year and it is for Country Music!!! During this week they eat, sleep, talk, dance, listen to, and BUY anything that has to do with Country Music and their favorite Country Music Star. At this moment I realized that I might have a problem!
But I would soon learn just how much these faithful fans were in love with our town, our music, our accent, our friendly nature and Lower Broad!
Although I was not selling any products that had to do with Country Music, cowboy hats or boots, I did have people stop at my booth and I had the time of my life meeting folks from all over the world and hearing about how great Nashville is!
I had the privilege of talking to fans from New York, California, Louisiana, Washington D.C., Washington state, Maine, England, Australia, Canada, (who by the way were rooting for the Predators!), and many, many more from all over the world!
The majority of the Country Music fans make the trip to the CMA Music Festival every year and many of them have already purchased tickets for next year.
One couple told me this was their 27th year to visit Nashville during June! Another couple told me they had just visited Nashville for the first time 16 months ago and had already been back 3 times since.
Many fans told me Nashville was their favorite city and would love to move here. Still, more told me how nice everyone is in Nashville and how much they feel at home each time they visit.
Hearing such positive comments and wonderful stories over the 4 days made my heart full of joy! I felt honored to be a vendor at the show and represent Nashville and what this great town is all about!
I was able to share my love for Nashville in my way with many of the CMA fans through my prints, my T-shirts, postcards and other products. I also got to share my stories of being a Native Nashvillian and the good and bad (traffic) of seeing the changes of my hometown over the years.
This past week I have gotten to see through the eyes of the many Country Music fans why the CMA Music Festival and Nashville is such a positive, rewarding and tremendous experience and was actually excited each day to go downtown and see the hustle and bustle of our city! There were people everywhere at 7:00 every morning getting ready to have another fabulous day in our town!
After being a vendor this past week, I have experienced up close how so many people embrace our city and also how the people of Nashville treated those visiting. Now I understand how Nashville has been chosen as the “IT” city and the “Friendliest” city and one of the “Top Destinations in the World’!
We are a vibrant, exciting, fun, and growing town with so many fabulous country stars who love their fans, thousands of Nashvillians who are friendly, warm, and accommodating to our visitors, and an atmosphere that says, “Welcome to our home!”
I will have to say that this past week I learned that although it was a week of hot temps, crowds everywhere, expensive parking, early mornings and late nights, the CMA Music Festival was also festive, friendly, hospitable, and showed just why Nashville is the best city in the U.S.A. !
My heart also beams with pride knowing that my prints will be hanging in homes all over the world and I had a part of sharing my love for Nashville in my own way through my photos of my beloved hometown.
Although my sales were not what I expected, (I know what to sell next year!) will I be a part of this gigantic festival next year?
You better believe it!
I will never forget this experience and am proud to live in Nashville!
My name is Terri Watson and I have the CMA Music Festival fever and am not afraid to say it out loud! Can’t wait until next year!
Until next time…
I hope you spend every day, living, learning, laughing and loving life…while focused on Nashville and the great state of Tennessee!
My best to you,
P.S. By the way, I am having a CMA Music Festival Inventory Sale if you are interested in some really cool Nashville shirts that have various photos I have taken of iconic sites around town. Sorry, no boots or cowboy hats on my products but there is always next year!
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The shirts are reduced to $18.00 with s/h $3.00. I take paypal.
To my wonderful friends who have supported me in my donation campaign to help me get to the CMA Music Festival, I want to offer you a $5.00 credit (on top of the reduced price of my shirts) toward any of my products! Grab one of my other Nashville shirts above and you pay only $13.00 + s/h.
Please follow me on face book and sign up to receive my blogs! Also, be watching for new products featuring my images of Nashville!
You can visit my website http://www.terrilwatsonphotography.com to see new photos I have taken that I upload on a regular basis and new products!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support, love and encouragement!