Tuesday, June 15, 2010

CMA shows 'Nashville is back'

Country music fans turned out big at this year's CMA Music Festival, defying record-breaking temperatures and resolving any doubt that Nashville's May floods would deter diehard music fans.
Estimated daily attendance at the four-day event stood at 65,000, a 16 percent increase over last year, according to figures released by the Country Music Association.

Attendance at LP Field's nightly concerts topped 49,000 — up about 17 percent from 2009 — and sales of four-day concert ticket packages were up by a third, according to the CMA.

"It's proof positive that Nashville is back," said Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, which advertised heavily in advance of the music festival to get the message out that Nashville was open for tourism and conventions despite recent flooding.

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The CMA said attendance increased at all of its public venues.

At the Greased Lightning Fan Fair Hall in the Nashville Convention Center, where fans had the chance to meet 253 artists and celebrities in person, attendance was 55,385 over four days, compared with last year's attendance of 53,000.

Riverfront Park's attendance was up 6 percent over last year, when the outdoor concert and vendor area was open for the first time.

How much money CMA visitors spent while they were here is still unknown. Last year, CMA Fest-goers spent an estimated $22 million.

The convention and visitors bureau is expected to release this year's economic impact figures today.

Reach Anita Wadhwani at 615-259-8092 or awadhwani@tennessean.com.

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