NASHVILLE—In just two short weeks, tens of thousands of Country Music fans from around the globe will descend upon Nashville for the 48th annual CMA Fest, the four-day music festival featuring more than 300 artists performing on 11 stages throughout downtown Nashville. Artists performing at CMA Fest donate their time and talent so a portion of ticket proceeds can help fund the CMA Foundation's mission of providing students with access to high-quality music education and providing educators the resources they need to create and sustain thriving programs. CMA Fest will feature several special events and activations during the festival that will raise awareness and help fund the CMA Foundation’s social impact and unique model of giving.
“Thanks to the generosity and support from our Country Music community and fans, the CMA Foundation is able to provide opportunity and access to high-quality music programs to kids across the country in an ongoing effort to shape our next generation to be leaders and positive forces within their communities,” says Tiffany Kerns, Executive Director, CMA Foundation. “Because of the funds raised each year at CMA Fest and through events and partners, we can continue to leverage more opportunities to strengthen the music education ecosystem and ultimately impact more and more children with the power of music.”
Kicking off CMA Fest week, Reese Witherspoon’s Nashville retail store, Draper James, will host a CMA Fest summer kick-off event Monday, June 3 from 5:30-7:00 PM. The event will feature performances by Sarah Darling, Stephanie Quayle and Rachel Wammack, make-up touchups and a braid bar, along with tasty treats and complimentary cocktails. Draper James will donate 15% of its proceeds during the event to the CMA Foundation.
Continuing its ongoing partnership, the CMA Foundation and U.S. Bank will launch an activation titled Play For M.E., taking four old, worn pianos from within Metro Nashville Public Schools and having artists from Nashville’s WHAT. Creative Group design and paint murals on each piano. The pianos will be placed throughout downtown Nashville during CMA Fest along with a donation bin, where festival attendees will not only have the opportunity to donate directly to the CMA Foundation, but they’ll be able to show off their talent and post photos using #itstartswithME and #MusicMadePossible for a chance to be featured on CMA’s social media, in addition to receiving a free printed photo. Following CMA Fest, the CMA Foundation will provide replacement pianos to Metro Nashville Public Schools.
To truly share the impact of the CMA Foundation’s work with those attending CMA Fest, students from Nashville-area music programs will perform during the festival. Two different student groups from Nashville School of the Arts, under the direction of choral director Trey Jacobs, will perform the National Anthem—the first kicking off the Chevy Riverfront Stage Thursday morning, followed by a second group performing Thursday evening at Nissan Stadium. On Sunday evening at Nissan Stadium, students from Andrew Jackson Elementary School, under the direction of music specialist Franklin Willis, will perform their cover of Carrie Underwood’s “The Champion” for the stadium crowd. Both Jacobs and Willis are multi-year recipients of the CMA Foundation’s Music Teachers of Excellence Award, which honors music educators from across the country for their exemplary work and provides each a $5,000 grant to be used both in the classroom and for personal needs.
Celebrity trainer and fitness expert Erin Oprea will bring the burn to Fitness at Fest on the Bridgestone Arena Plaza for a body-sculpting workout class on Saturday, June 8 from 8:15-9:30 AM, with special guests Country Music star Carly Pearce, radio personality Amy Brown and DJ Grant. Keeping the party going, participants will head with Oprea to Whiskey Row for brunch and dancing immediately following the event. While the free registration is currently full, Oprea has encouraged fans to donate to the CMA Foundation.
Two-time CMA Award-winning artist Thomas Rhett will host a special event Saturday, June 8 at 12:00 PM at Bridgestone Arena, inviting fans to an up-close-and-personal celebration of his new album Center Point Road. The one-time-only, stripped-down performance in the round will reveal stories behind the brand-new songs, with a portion of ticket proceeds from the event benefiting the CMA Foundation. In addition, Thomas Rhett has invited students from Brentwood, Tennessee’s Ravenwood High School marching band to attend the event; the band previously performed “Life Changes” on stage with Thomas Rhett at the CMA Awards last November.
Tree Vibez Music, the music publishing company owned by Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, will bring its Tree Vibez Music Tour Bus straight to fans at Xfinity Fan Fair X throughout CMA Fest. Several of the publishing company's hit songwriting friends and family including Corey Crowder, Cale Dodds, Ernest, Baylee Littrell, LOCASH, RaeLynn, Jordan Schmidt and Canaan Smith will stop by for special meet-and-greets in addition to autographing a limited amount of one-of-a-kind Tree Vibez Music t-shirts, donated by Richards Southern, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the CMA Foundation.
Popular Colorado-based muralist Kelsey Montague (best known for the Taylor Swift ME! mural in Nashville) painted an original interactive mural for the CMA Foundation that will be on display at the CMA Fan Experience in Xfinity Fan Fair X. Fans are encouraged to “lift their voice for music education,” share their photos and contribute to music education. In addition, Nashville-based Friendly Arctic Printing & Design has designed a custom, limited edition CMA Fest poster that will be sold at their booth at Xfinity Fan Fair X as well as their website. A portion of proceeds will go directly to the CMA Foundation.
First-time sponsor HanesBrands is proud to partner with the CMA Foundation and help support local schools. The CMA Foundation’s charge of supporting music education goes hand-in-hand with the Hanes4Education program, where buying Hanes, Champion, Alternative or ComfortWash printed shirts from a supplier for concerts, community events, and more earns cash for local schools. Look for the Hanes Comfort Zone booth on Broadway where festival-goers can take a break, cool down and custom print a graphic tee. The Music is Life tee was designed for the festival to celebrate the new collaboration between Hanes and the CMA Foundation.
In addition to the above events and activations, as well as the donation bins at Play For M.E. pianos, festival attendees will be able to use a brand-new text-to-donate feature (text COUNTRY to 707070) as well as the Official CMA Fest App to give back to music education initiatives through the CMA Foundation.
About CMA Fest
The Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience™ began in 1972 as Fan Fair®, which drew 5,000 fans to Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium. Now in its 48th year, the legendary festival has become the city’s signature Country Music event that hosts tens of thousands of fans from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and 36 international countries. In 2018, CMA Fest featured 11 official stages with hundreds of artists performing—all to benefit music education. CMA Fest is a one-of-a-kind festival with artists donating their time to perform so ticket proceeds can directly benefit high-quality music programs across the country through the CMA Foundation. CMA Fest is filmed for a primetime ABC Television Network special, with 2019 marking the 16th consecutive year the event has been filmed for television, a feat no other music festival has achieved.
About the CMA Foundation
Established in 2011 as the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association (CMA), the CMA Foundation is committed to improving and sustaining high-quality music education programs across the United States, working to ensure every child has the opportunity to participate in music education. Through strategic partnerships, professional development and grant distribution, the CMA Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), has invested more than $25 million across the national public school system, after school programs, summer camps, and community outreach organizations. Guided by the generosity of the Country Music community, proceeds from CMA Fest, the four-day-long music festival held annually in Nashville, are used to power the CMA Foundation’s social impact and unique model of giving.
Megan Hanson, CMA Foundation
Lisa Valentine, CMA
Communications Project Manager