2010 CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL SELLS OUT LP FIELD EACH NIGHT FOR THE FIRST TIME; LP FIELD ATTENDANCE UP 16.7 PERCENT FROM 2009
NASHVILLE - CMA Music Festival hit an all-time record in 2010 selling out each night at LP Field, the venue for the nightly star-packed concerts, sending a strong message that Music City is in fact open for business following the devastating floods in May.
"This news is terrific for our community, our industry, and the artists who gave freely of their time over the past week to make CMA Music Festival the biggest and best event since it started as Fan Fair in 1972," said Steve Moore, Chairman of the CMA Board of Directors. "After all we have been through, and all the hard work everyone contributed to getting the venues and businesses ready for our fans, this is a huge win for everyone who cares about Music City. This community needed a big win and we got it."
With the unprecedented sell out, the Festival experienced a 16.7 percent increase in attendance at LP Field including four-day ticket packages, promotional and single night tickets with an average nightly attendance topping 49,000.
The increase was felt throughout the Festival with record numbers in all the free zones, public events, and concert venues including Riverfront Park, which experienced a daily increase of 6.4 percent over 2009, when the area was opened to the public for the first time.
Estimated daily attendance throughout the Festival in 2010 was 65,000 compared to 56,000 in 2009.
When the final counts were tallied, there was a 33.3 percent increase in the sale of four-day ticket packages, which resulted in a decline in the sale of single night tickets. Many seats that had been originally designated for single night ticket purchase were converted to four-day ticket packages due to the high demand. The Festival also experienced its biggest crowds to date in the free areas including the Chevy Music Stage on the Bridgestone Arena Plaza and the Family, Fun, and Sports Zones along with the Music City Zone, which launched in 2009 on the Public Square at Metro Courthouse.
According to the NCVB, the direct visitor spending generated by CMA Music Festival in 2009 was $22 million. And it is seems that 2010, was a boon to business again. Figures for 2010 will be released by the NCVB at a later date.
"The impact of this year's CMA Music Festival is more significant than ever because of its timing following the flood," said Butch Spyridon, President of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau. "The fact that this was the biggest and best CMA Fest in Nashville's history is icing on the cake. It's proof positive that Nashville is back!"
"Months of preparation and planning certainly paid off in the safe flow of pedestrian and vehicle traffic in downtown Nashville throughout the CMA Music Festival," said MNPD Special Events Coordinator Lieutenant David Corman. "These are some of the largest crowds we've ever experienced and we are pleased the Music Festival ran virtually without incident."
Businesses in Downtown Nashville that suffered catastrophic damage were motivated to jump-start their recovery by opening in time for CMA Music Festival.
Joe's Crab Shack suffered more than $1 million in damages and was projected to be out of action for up to three months, yet with support from its home office it managed to open its doors by June 8. The effort paid off, with extended hours and 10 extra servers and six extra cooks added to the staff to handle the accelerated business.
"CMA Music Festival is the key to our success for the summer," said Ray Lockhart, General Manager, Joe's Crab Shack in downtown Nashville. "We actually had a record day on Saturday, doing $42,333, about $800 more than we'd done the previous Festival. And typically, we do about $30,000."
The Festival benefited smaller businesses, too.
"CMA Music Festival is always a big deal, but it's more important than ever," said Michael Duguay, owner of Mike's Ice Cream on Nashville's Lower Broadway, whose business lost electricity in the wake of the flood for nearly a week. "We've had a slower than average year, but now we're doing even more business than usual for CMA Music Fest. So these fans mean a lot to us. We really appreciate what they bring to the downtown area."
"We lost all our food, beverages and equipment in the basement," said Mark Gendron, Assistant General Manager, Past Perfect, a restaurant in downtown Nashville. "We lost 12 days worth of business. Now, with CMA Fest, we're making $3,000 above what we make on a normal weekend. We definitely needed this."
CMA Music Festival was a boon to downtown businesses, but it benefits music education and flood relief in Music City. The artists and celebrities participating in CMA Music Festival donate their time. They are not compensated for the hours they spend signing autographs and performing. In appreciation of their exhaustive efforts, CMA will donate half the net proceeds from the event to music education on their behalf through a partnership with the Nashville Alliance for Public Education called "Keep the Music Playing" and the remaining half to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to aid flood victims in need.
"Through diligent management of the Festival, CMA has been able to increase its donation to Keep the Music Playing each year," said Pam Garrett, Executive Director, Nashville Alliance for Public Education. "And at this critical time in the life of our city, CMA's generosity has reached out to include the thousands who continue to suffer as a result of our recent flood.
Garrett continued, "I am so appreciative of our Country Music Association and artists. They care about our students, they care about our quality of life, and they care about Nashville."
"CMA has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to Nashville year after year and has shown it once again with the decision to help Music City recover from the floods," said Ellen Lehman, President of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. "Millions have been affected by this disaster, and The Community Foundation's disaster funds will strategically address needs as they emerge and evolve over the coming months and years. We are honored to partner with CMA to connect its incredible generosity with the widest range of our community's flood-related needs."
CMA Music Festival partners stepped up to aid in the cause with independent donations to The Foundation for flood relief including the ABC Television Network, Chevy, and Manwich.
"The 2010 CMA Music Festival was a huge success and a testament to the passion of Country Music fans here in Nashville and around the country," said Phil Caruso, Chevrolet National Sales Promotion Manager. "It was also heartening to see how far Nashville has come since the flood just over a month ago, which is a tribute to the strength of the community. As a longtime partner of the CMA, we at Chevrolet were happy that we could contribute to the flood relief efforts by integrating it into our activities throughout the week. For every consumer test drive at the Festival, Chevy donated $10 to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. We are proud of our partnership with the CMA and look forward to continued success in 2010."
"Country Music is the number one format listened to by our consumer, so it was a no-brainer to partner with CMA, to come here and engage with the consumers in an environment where they have a passion," said Ryan Stalker, Brand Manager, Manwich, who presented $10,000 to the Community Foundation. "It's been great to play a role in helping the community in Nashville rise above the challenges it has faced in recovering from the flood."
CMA Music Festival is about the fans and their relationship with the artists and the music. The theme is universal and in 2010, Festival attendees came from every state, and Washington, D.C., and 26 foreign territories including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jersey, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and U.K. (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales).
The Festival got underway Wednesday with Grand Marshall Brenda Lee leading the way for "The Sixth Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade" in front of an estimated 14,000 cheering spectators.
Following the procession, the fun kicked into high gear with "The Fifth Annual CMA Music Festival Block Party" on the Chevy Music Stage at the Bridgestone Arena Plaza with performances by David Nail, Joe Nichols, Jerrod Niemann, and Chuck Wicks before an estimated crowd of more than 7,000. A scheduled performance by Randy Houser was cancelled due to an afternoon thunderstorm.