Music News

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 05: (L-R) Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney, and Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts perform onstage at the 2014 CMA Festival on June 5, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

We’re tired just thinking about it.

As if Games 3 & 4 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the 2017 CMT Music Awards weren’t enough for one American city in a single week, Nashville still has the 2017 CMA Music Festival in front of it. The four-day event with a more than 40-year history is growing rapidly, and more than a few artists are getting nostalgic about the one-of-a-kind festival.

“I think one of my favorite memories is remembering the last time it was at the fairgrounds,” Rascal Flatts‘ Jay DeMarcus says in a conversation recently released by the trio’s record label. “That year we were a brand new act and just to see that and be a part of it remembering how it was when I was a kid it was really, really special for me, and I know for the guys, too. And we got to meet Garth that year. We were new kids on the scene and it was so overwhelming walking by all of those superstars and seeing people we had idolized for so long.”

Growth is one aspect of the CMA Music Festival that seems to come up over and over. “[And] how much our genre has literally reached the farthest corners of the world to take country music to,” Jay continues. “[It’s] amazing to see how many people travel from everywhere to come to this event this week. I love that so much and it’s a testament to what country music has become and how worldwide it is now. It’s no longer a niche market.”

The CMA Music Festival began in Nashville in 1972 as Fan Fair. It moved from the Tennessee State Fairgrounds to downtown in 2001, adopting its current name three years later. Today its nightly stadium concerts are filmed for TV, which air later in the summer on ABC. Learn more and buy tickets for that last-minute trip here.


Teddy McDonald is a fun-lovin’ country music fan man living in Nashville, Tennessee.