June is upon us, and if you are a fan of Country Music, you know that this month holds something big.
The annual CMA Fest is a week-long festivity celebrating all things Country. From nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium, to newer artists lining the sidewalks of Lower Broadway, everywhere you turn you will be able to find someone in cowboy boots holding a guitar.
For the span of about 5 or 6 days, the world revolves around Nashville, TN. Almost 100,000 tourists flocked here last year, and with an expected rise in attendees this year, festival goers must be prepared for what lies ahead.
If you are planning on attending CMA Fest this year, make sure you are ready with the following checklist.
Walking Shoes: With the festival taking place in the heart of downtown, it’s no secret that you will be doing your fair share of walking from stage to stage. Bring along your favorite sneakers, and ditch the stylish flip flops. Your feet will thank you when midnight rolls around and you are still standing.
Water Bottles: CMA week is always one of the hottest weeks in the South – literally. Don’t temp heat stroke or dehydration by always drinking water. Remember to bring a few bottles in your bag from your home/hotel each day for both convenience purposes, and because a bottle of water can be upwards of $7 at the venues.
Sunscreen: Yes, you will be outside, and yes, you need to wear sunscreen. Especially at Riverfront where there is next to no shade at all, you need to slather on the SPF. No one wants painful burns when there are still days left to the festival.
Schedule: Download the CMA Fest app for your smartphone and keep track of where you want to be and when. Complete with all of the artists’ performances and meet and greets, the app allows you to customize your week and never miss a second.
Fan Fair X: Not only is Fan Fair X a great way to get some air conditioning, but it is also home to most of the personal artist encounters. Wait in line to meet an artist, or even chill out at the Close Up Stage and listen to the stories behind your favorite songs. Admittance to this does cost, but the investment is well worth it.
Patience: You can plan all you want, but you won’t always be able to make each event that you want to attend. More times than not, your schedule will overlap, or there will simply be too many people around the stage you wish to be at. Be willing to change who you go see, because trust me, no one wants to be at Riverfront when it reaches capacity.
Uber: Let’s be honest, you won’t be needing to go many places out of driving distance from downtown, but when you do, you’re not going to want to have to deal with the ridiculous parking prices each time you come and go. Instead, use Uber. Not only will you have a ride pick you up curbside, but the cost will be significantly lower than if you had driven yourself.
Caffeine: CMA Fest is no joke. It is nonstop concerts, chaos, and fun that you don’t want to miss a single moment of. Events start at 9am each day, and run well past midnight (be sure to check out Charlie Worsham hosting the Midnight Jamboree at Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop June 9th-11th!). There’s a good chance you won’t be catching much shut eye this week. Load up on healthy snacks that will keep you running (avoid the Honky Tonk platters) and even indulge in a little caffeine from time to time when the exhaustion sets in. If you’re not ready to sleep for a week by the end of the festival, you’re doing it all wrong.