CMA Music Festival Creates $57.7 Million in Direct Visitor Spending
More Nashvillians Attend CMA Music Festival, Which Reigns as the City’s Largest Economic Generator Among Events
NASHVILLE – CMA Music Festival remains Nashville’s largest annual tourism event, generating strong economic activity for the city, according to research released today by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. The 2017 event, which took place June 8 to 11, generated $57.7 million in direct visitor spending, slightly down from the $59.5 million in visitor spending in 2016.
The slight dip in visitor spending comes as the number of locals who attend has risen to 20 percent of attendees. The number of visitors decreased to 80 percent this year from 85 percent in 2016. CMA Music Festival provided more free offerings in 2017, which made it easier for locals to enjoy the festivities. They also did more outreach to attract Nashvillians.
“CMA Music Festival continues to impress and deliver national and international awareness and strong visitation,” said Beth Seigenthaler Courtney, president and managing partner at DVL Seigenthaler, who serves as NCVC board chair. “It is particularly rewarding that the festival attracts a growing local audience demonstrating that our community appreciates the energy and value that the event provides to Nashville. We are grateful to the Country Music Association for their partnership in growing our hospitality industry and spotlighting Nashville’s brand at home - and from coast to coast.”
Additionally, CMA Music Festival is an economic and marketing powerhouse with the amount of sales taxes generated, its philanthropic efforts and global marketing reach:
- The amount of local sales tax generated by CMA Music Festival in 2017 is estimated at $5.3 million.
- Since 2006, CMA has donated nearly $18 million to music education nationwide; $11.5 million of that has remained local.
- The three-hour ABC Television Network special “CMA Fest,” co-hosted by Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini, airs Wednesday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. CT, bringing even more global marketing exposure to Nashville.
“It was a historic and exciting year for all of us in Nashville as all eyes were on our city with CMA Music Festival and the Stanley Cup Finals, both with a national TV audience,” said CMA CEO Sarah Trahern. “CMA Music Festival has long welcomed fans from around the globe, and much of their interest in visiting, and desire to return, is due in part to the generous hospitality that our neighbors, those that call Nashville home, extend to our visiting fans. We are glad that more people from our community participated as well.”
CMA Music Festival produces the most direct visitor spending of any tourism event held in Nashville, and at $57.7 million, visitor spending remained strong this year. Visitors included both ticketholders to the nighttime concerts at Nissan Stadium, as well as non-ticketholders who attended free concerts during the day.
New features this year included the free Cracker Barrel Country Roads Stage at Ascend Amphitheater and the Budweiser “Forever Country” Park Stage, as well as the VIP Nash Pass, all providing more activations for both locals and visitors to enjoy.
Notable in the research was a continued decrease in the number of visitors staying in hotels, which dipped to 67.5 percent in 2017 from 74.6 percent in 2016 and 80.6 percent in 2015. The number of visitors staying with friends and family increased to 12.9 percent in 2017 from 10.4 percent the previous year. Those staying in home rentals, such as Airbnb and VRBO, rose from 9.2 percent in 2016 to 12.4 percent in 2017.
Research showed a positive trend with millennials attending, increasing from 21.2 percent in 2016 to 25.8 percent in 2017.
Other research highlights for 2017 included:
- About 44 percent said they were first-time attendees.
- Ninety-two percent said they were likely to attend next year.
- About 43 percent said they had attended CMA Music Festival the year before.
- Average length of stay was five nights.
- More families are attending with 12.6 percent saying they came with children, up from 8.8 percent in 2016.
- The number of international visitors is about the same as past years at 11.2 percent.
CMA Music Festival
The Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience began in 1972 as Fan Fair®, bringing 5,000 fans to Nashville's Municipal Auditorium. Now 46 years later, the legendary Festival has become the city's signature music event hosting tens of thousands of fans from every state and two dozen foreign countries. The 2017 CMA Music Festival featured 11 stages with more than 300 acts and 100 hours of music, all to benefit music education. This is the 14th consecutive year the event will be broadcast on national television, a feat no other music festival has achieved.
The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp
The mission of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp is to maximize the economic contribution of the convention and tourism industry to the community by developing and marketing Nashville as a premier destination. Visit the NCVC’s website at www.visitmusiccity.com and follow us on social media: