ABC Invites You To Summer's Hottest Music Event, "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock"

NASHVILLE –– ABC heads to Nashville to take you to the hottest music event, "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock." Reigning CMA Horizon Award winner Taylor Swift, former "American Idol" finalist Kellie Pickler and Country Music Star/"Dancing
with the Stars" champion Julianne Hough host the special airing Monday, September 8  (9:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Filmed in Nashville June 5-8, the special features performances by some of today's most exciting Country Music sensations in a four-day party and music celebration: Trace Adkins, Rodney Atkins, Bucky Covington, Billy Ray Cyrus, Faith Hill, Julianne Hough, Alan Jackson, Jewel, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood,Keith Urban, Gretchen Wilson and Dwight Yoakam.

In addition to exciting, never-before-televised music performances, viewers will also get the ultimate Country Music fan experience firsthand. In exclusively shot segments for the special, the cameras capture the Festival's behind the scenes moments between the artist and their fans and follow the stories of several passionate Country Music fans at the festival. Bucky Covington acts as tour guide around the massive CMA Music Festival and shows the festival experience through his eyes. John Rich of Big & Rich tells us how Gretchen Wilson went from bartender to singer at Nashville's legendary honky tonks, while Taylor Swift sings in an impromptu street performance and signs autographs at the Fan Fair Exhibit Hall. Meanwhile, certain fans are surprised to learn that they've been chosen for a "lucky day" meet and greet with their favorite Country star; Kellie Pickler spends some time with Nick Manciero from Bethany, Conn., Rob Levasseur fr om East Hartford, Conn. and Dan Orlowski from Woodbridge, Conn.; Faith Hill surprises her biggest fans Juliette Warren and David Newton from Australia and Keith Urban meets Alex Hamel, Stephanie Hayward, and Cara Corbett from Toledo, Ohio. Finally, Sarah and Elizabeth Marince, two young aspiring artists from Pittsburgh, Penn., take a trip with Julianne Hough to her recording studio, which turns into a "girl's day out" for the three of them.

The annual music festival is unlike any other, with four days, 30 hours of autograph signings by Country Music's biggest names and up and comers, 100 hours of live music, more than 400 artists and celebrities, and a party list of thousands of avid, singing and dancing-till-dawn fans. This is the fourth time ABC  will broadcast this special - which invites the whole country to America's biggest Country Music bash - since the original Fan Fair® was launched in 1972. This year 208,000 fans attended CMA Music Festival, its biggest turnout yet.

"CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" is executive produced by Robert Deaton and directed by Gary Halvorson. The 2008 CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" was shot in high definition and will be broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound.

Click on the photos below for larger view

Photos: Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler & Julianne Hough perform at the 2008 CMA Music Festival.  Swift, Pickler & Hough will co-host as well as perform on "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock" Sept. 8 on ABC.  Photographer: John Russell / CMA

2008 CMA Music Festival Attendance Up 9.4 Percent
Tickets for 2009 CMA Music Festival Selling Fast; Gold Circle Section Sells Out In Record-Setting 15 Minutes

JUNE 9, 2008 –– NASHVILLE –– CMA Music Festival hit an all-time high attendance record in 2008 with a 9.4 percent increase over 2007 during the four-day Festival, Thursday through Sunday, in Downtown Nashville.

"Even with gasoline prices around $4 a gallon and weak economic conditions around the country, we saw an increase in our attendance on every level from local and regional participation to those fans that traveled from around the world," said CMA Chief Executive Officer Tammy Genovese. "I believe that speaks to the strength of the event, the popularity of our artists, the dedication of our fans, and the entertainment value of the Festival."

The average daily attendance in 2008 was 52,000. By comparison, in 2007 the average daily attendance was nearly 48,000.

"We made a decision this year to announce our attendance as a daily average rather than a four-day aggregate so people are not overwhelmed by a huge number and potentially turned off from attending the Festival because they are concerned about parking or moving around downtown," Genovese said. "It is actually much easier than people think and we want to communicate that in a new way." 

Fans definitely enjoyed themselves and made it known at the Box Office. Tickets for CMA Music Festival 2009, which will be held June 11-14, went on sale Saturday and Gold Circle four-day ticket packages sold out in a record 15 minutes. By Sunday, advance sales bested sales during the same period in 2007, by 4.2 percent.

"You know you are giving the fans what they want when they put down their hard-earned money for an event and we haven't even announced who will be performing," remarked Genovese.

Increased sales of four-day ticket packages and single concert tickets contributed to the growth, as well as record attendance at CMA Music Festival's free areas - including the McDonald's®-Dr Pepper® Family Zone, Fun Zone, Chevy(tm) Sports Zone and Chevy Plaza.

Surprise appearances are a hallmark of this event. And 2008 didn't disappoint. The first night at the VAULT(tm) Concert Stage at LP Field included an unannounced appearance by reigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year Rascal Flatts. On Friday, Keith Urban delighted the crowd - and one fan in particular - when he leapt from the stage, sprinted into the stands and autographed his guitar for a stunned fan. Jessica Simpson made several unannounced appearances including the Wednesday Block Party, the Fan Fair Hall and at LP Field. Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn also made an unexpected appearance to sign autographs for fans.

"We love giving our fans something special and unexpected," Genovese said. "It is amazing to hear the stadium erupt in applause when an unannounced guest steps out on that stage."

And it all benefits children and music education in Nashville. 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 donates 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."

To date, CMA has donated more than $1 million on behalf of the artists who participate in the Festival - including $368,500 from the 2006 CMA Music Festival and $655,600 from 2007 CMA Music Festival. Several students groups participated in the Festival including drum corps from Antioch and Overton High Schools, who marched in "The Fourth Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade." In addition, 800 students were given tickets to attend Saturday night through the generosity of HCA/TriStar.

CMA Music Festival is - and always will be - about the fans and their relationship with the artists and the music. The theme is universal and in 2008 Festival attendees came from every state and 28 foreign countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Latvia, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom (which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

The Festival got underway Wednesday with Grand Marshall James Otto leading the way for "The Fourth Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade" with an estimated crowd of 12,000 spectators. Following the procession, the fun kicked into high gear with "The Third Annual CMA Music Festival Block Party" on the Chevy Plaza at the Sommet Center. Keith Anderson, Luke Bryan, Joe Nichols, James Otto, Phil Stacey, Chris Young, and Zac Brown Band performed for an estimated crowd of 6,000 according to police.

Nightly Concerts on the VAULT(tm) Concert Stage at LP Field
In all, 36 acts participated in the star-packed Nightly Concerts on the VAULT Concert Stage at LP Field. The lineup Thursday included Jewel, Montgomery Gentry, Kellie Pickler, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and acoustic performances by Luke Bryan and Jennifer Hanson

Pre-show activities included the presentation of the Stars and Stripes by the United States Marine Corps Recruiting Station Nashville Color Guard and a fly over with FA-18s from The Bengals of VMFA (AW)-224 from Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, S.C., a tradition that was a crowd pleaser all four nights. Lyric Street recording artist and season six "American Idol" finalist Phil Stacey sang the national anthem, and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean officially welcomed fans to Music City for the 37th annual event, which began as Fan Fair® in 1972.

Fans were treated to performances Friday by Faith Hill, Jack Ingram, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban. Julianne Hough performed with Turner's band. Jake Owen and Ashton Shepherd performed acoustic sets.
Though the evening marked Hill's first performance at the Festival in 10 years, she insisted that her appearance felt like a family event. "Well, it's a short drive," she joked. "And my kids are at home, so I kind of feel like I'm off tonight."

Saturday's lineup rocked the house with Trace Adkins, Rodney Atkins, Alan Jackson, Little Big Town, Craig Morgan, and Kenny Rogers. Jason Michael Carroll, Jamey Johnson, and Darryl Worley delivered acoustic performances.

Sunday's lineup featured Bucky Covington, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sara Evans, James Otto, Randy Travis, and Dwight Yoakam. Phil Stacey, John Stephan and Chuck Wicks performed acoustically.

Yoakam last appeared at the Festival 20 years ago when he performed with personal friend and mentor Buck Owens. "It's great to be here at CMA Music Festival," he said. "It's been a long, long time." Then, referring to the many giants of Country Music who had played at CMA Music Festival, he added, "It hasn't been a very succinct journey to this point for me, but the shoulder I'm standing on is theirs."

Greased Lightning® Riverfront Daytime Stages
Fan favorites Phil Vassar and Jo Dee Messina got the 2008 CMA Music Festival off to an energetic start Thursday morning during the kick-off concert at Riverfront Park. Fans were waiting before dawn to see the powerhouse performers.

The dual stages bustled throughout the four days with a rich array of performers from both major and independent record labels. In all, 106 acts performed more than 34 hours of concerts. 

truTV(tm) Fan Fair® Hall
The state of continuous commotion that's been the standard for the truTV(tm) Fan Fair Hall was back in force with 408 artists and celebrities appearing at the Nashville Convention Center. Exhibit booths sold out with 110 exhibitors. Attendance over the four days was more than 53,000. For the first time, single day tickets to the Fan Fair Hall were available for purchase Saturday and Sunday.

"This is my first time at CMA Music Festival. I'm really impressed with the way fans form friendships here. I definitely want to become a part of this community over the next several years," said Taylor Young, 27, of Mountain View, Calif.

As in previous years, dedicated fans camped out on the street outside of the Exhibit Hall starting at 8:00 PM, not only in hopes of being the first in line for autographs when the doors opened the following morning, but also to share in what has become a special tradition for this group. "I came down here at 5 this morning and found there was already a long line to get in," said Sam Pfeiffer, 36, of Arlington, Va., on Thursday morning. "I guess I'll have to make it earlier tomorrow, but that just adds to the sense of adventure."

Their dedication paid off. Aaron Tippin surprised the assembled fans and signed autographs around 2:00 AM Thursday following his performance at The Marty Stuart's Late Night Jam.

Country superstar Alan Jackson made his first appearance in the Fan Fair Hall since 1998 Friday signing 300 autographs in two hours with his wife and author Denise Jackson.

Teen sensation Taylor Swift signed in the Big Machine Records booth Saturday from the time the doors opened at 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM - with no break. She signed 900 autographs, the longest consecutive signing since Garth Brooks' marathon 23 hour signing in 1996.

Kix Brooks made a surprise appearance in the Fan Fair Hall signing approximately 500 autographs in three hours at the Brooks & Dunn booth - after signing another 100 in the Borders® booth. Carrie Underwood signed 400 autographs in four hours and Wynonna signed for five hours. Other popular artists included Jessica Simpson, Kellie Pickler, Sara Evans, Julianne Hough, Lady Antebellum, Bucky Covington, Billy Gilman, Emerson Drive, Joe Nichols, James Otto and Chris Young.

Mary Kay® presents Acoustic Corner, which launched in 2004 as a showcase for independent artists, featured 30 solo or group performers. The area on the second floor of the Convention Center hosted a steady stream of fans.

Premiere on the Air
CMA's official radio partner, Premiere Radio Networks, brought 20 of Country radio's top-rated stations from markets including Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Louisville, Nashville, Norfolk, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa, Washington, D.C., and overnight syndicated radio program "After MidNite with Blair Garner" to Nashville for three days of remote broadcasts from the Convention Center. More than 75 artists and celebrities participated in the remotes reaching 10 million listeners.

In addition, Premiere also teamed up with several ABC Television Network affiliates to bring the excitement of the event to cities across the country. Jack Ingram and the stars of ABC Daytime joined on-air personalities for the first-hand reports to several markets including Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Phoenix and Seattle.

"With the new television studio added to the service we've been offering to radio at CMA Music Festival, we expect to help participating stations reach an audience of more than 13 million this year," said Ilycia Deitch Chiarmonte, Senior Director of Events for Premiere Radio Networks.

Borders had locations at the Exhibit Hall, Riverfront and LP Field. The Top 5 selling CD titles belonged to (in order) Alan Jackson, Taylor Swift, Joe Nichols, Carrie Underwood, and Chris Young - who all signed in the Fan Fair Hall during the Festival. Other bestselling artists included Lady Antebellum, Jake Owen, Kellie Pickler, Josh Turner, Keith Urban, Whiskey Falls, and Stephen Cochran. 

"One of the goals with this event is to help build a marketing platform for developing artists," Genovese said. "With the variety of artists on the list, it tells me that our fans are discovering new music at CMA Music Festival and they aren't waiting until they get home to buy it."

CMA Music Festival Merchandise
The official CMA Music Festival merchandise line was very popular with attendees. According to Music City Merchandise, which designs and produces the collection, onsite sales were up nearly 11 percent over 2007. A popular item this year was a T-shirt that listed all announced performers for the Nightly Concerts. Music City Merchandise, which had booths at the truTV Fan Fair Hall, Greased Lightning Daytime Stages, McDonald's-Dr Pepper Family Zone, the Sommet Center, and VAULT Concert Stage at LP Field, has been CMA's merchandise partner for the past

Chevy(tm) Sports Zone
CMA's free Chevy Sports Zone was a huge hit with participants and fans looking for fun and friendly competition. More thank 100 celebrities, artists and athletes participated in Chevy Sports Zone activities during the four days.

"The Field & Stream Celebrity Total Outdoorsman Challenge presented by Mobil 1" was a highlight Thursday with Country Music artists and other celebrities showing off their outdoor skills with contests in archery, fly casting, bait casting, and air rifle and attempting to beat the two-time Total Outdoorsman Challenge Champion Paul Thompson, who also joined the competition. In an upset that had people buzzing, Daniel Lee Martin beat Thompson for the First Place seat. Martin's prizes including a televised hunting trip and new BowTech bow. On Friday, the Field & Stream held local and regional Total Outdoorsman Challenges. Cory Jones finished first out of nine competitors in the local qualifier, winning an all-expense paid trip for two to the 2008 CMA Awards and moving on to the regional qualifier. Also moving on to the regional qualifier were Scot Marcin, Paul Hughes, and Martin (who was invited to compete in the regional qualifier based on his scores from Thursday). Nineteen outdoorsmen competed in the regional qualifier Friday afternoon. Chris Nischan and Martin had the best scores and will compete in Field & Stream Total Outdoorsman Challenge National Championship, Sept. 5-7 in Springfield, Mo.

The fur was flying during the DockDogs® Competitions Presented by Outdoor Channel. Competitions took place in the DockDogs' 25,000 gallon mobile pool. During the Celebrity Challenge on Sunday, Outdoor Channel host Mike Pawlawski and his canine partner Quasi won with a distance of 24 feet, 10 inches, setting a new record for the DockDogs Celebrity Challenge. The Outdoor Channel's Tiffany Lakowsky and Bo won the silver medal with a distance of 20 feet, 5 inches. Trick Pony's Keith Burns and Cheyenne took home the bronze leaping for 19 feet, 11 inches. Also placing in the top tier were CMT's Katie Cook and Rachel Reinhart from the band Gloriana.

The Celebrity Sports Challenge Presented by Glaceau Vitaminwater® Hosted by Steve Azar proved to be a fan favorite with an amazing array of sports champions and celebrities competing along with Azar and other artists. Five teams competed, each identified by the color of their jersey. In the end, victory was awarded to the Navy team, which included Todd Armstrong, Steve Azar, Aaron Benward of Blue County, former NFL linebacker Steve Cole, Tennessee Titans punter Craig Hentrich, and Ken Purvis.

The Outdoor Life Calling for Conservation Competition took place Friday.  Hosted by Shoot Straight TV's Chad Schearer, this game-calling contest highlights the launch of a new conservation program: Outdoor Life's "Project Save-A-Stream," a nationwide program dedicated to cleaning up our waterways. Professional and celebrity callers competed to determine the best turkey and big game calls.

Two winners were selected: Julie Ingram was the audience favorite, based on volume of applause, but the judges gave the official first prize to Trent Willmon, along with an Alberta Canada Black Bear Hunt and a check for $1,000 to donate to the conservation organization of his choice.

The first ever CMA Music Festival BBQ Championship took place Saturday and Sunday. Teams from across the nation competed in four categories (pork ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket and chicken) for a chance to win a share of more than $17,000 in cash and prizes to be distributed to category winners.

The Grand Champion of the CMA Music Festival BBQ Championship, the Lotta Bull BBQ team from Marietta, Okla., will receive $2,500, a CMA Awards trip package for two including accommodations, an invitation to take part in the prestigious KCBS-sanctioned American Royale competition, and eligibility to participate in the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue (better known as "The Jack") in late October in Lynchburg, TN.

The CBR/RFD-TV Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge was held Saturday with artists squaring off against champion bull riders to see who could make the eight seconds. The event was hosted by Tuff Hedeman, five-time World Champion and President of CBR. The winning team was professional rider Jake Littlefield and Jason Brown.

The Fiesta Celebrity Grilling Challenge was held Saturday with host Lee McWright, Executive Chef for Fiesta Gas Grills. Artists and celebrities were paired with professional chefs in a culinary competition. The winning team was Mark Wills and Chef Jason Brumm of the Nashville restaurant Radius10.

Sunday's "Third Annual New Holland/Michael Peterson Celebrity Tractor Race" had artists and celebrities revved up with contestants racing against the clock through an obstacle course on a New Holland Boomer(tm) compact tractor. The winner was singer/songwriter Darby Ledbetter with an astounding time of :47 seconds. Trent Willmon was second with :51, followed closely by Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, with a time of :52 seconds.

Chevy Plaza 
The Chevy Plaza free area on the Sommet Center plaza buzzed with activities featuring vehicle displays, interactive consumer experiences, games, and the Chevy Ride & Drive event. The Chevy Stage featured 33 daily performances. Visitors were also able to test-drive an Avalanche, Cobalt Sport, HHR, Impala SS, Tahoe Hybrid, all new Malibu, Aveo, Equinox Sport or one of two Silverados (1500 and 2500 HD). The number of test drives topped 1,000 and Chevy provided 34,700 giveaway items including hats, shirts, mugs, playing cards, and more.

McDonald's®-Dr Pepper® Family Zone
Growing in popularity each year since it was introduced in 2001, the free McDonald's-Dr Pepper Family Zone was buzzing during CMA Music Festival with activities for youngsters and the young at heart.

The Family Zone was a popular destination Sunday for the McDonald's Family Picnic, with McDonald's providing free sandwiches to the first 500 attendees.

For the second year, top high school vocalists from across the nation were in Nashville to compete for the prestigious title "Music City Rising Star." The Music City's Rising Star Youth Vocal Soloist Competition was held in the McDonald's-Dr Pepper Family Zone with 129 students from 25 states competing. The Top 5 finalists were announced Saturday on the Greased Lightning Daytime Stages. Winners from first to fifth were Jernie Talles, 14, of Fort Pierce, Fla., Morgan Grotheer, 17, of Savannah, Ga., Kaley Caterton, 15, of Waco, Texas, and Anna Brooke Higdon, 17, of Sevierville, Tenn.

CMA Celebrity Close Up Presented by Great American Country
The inside track is what CMA Celebrity Close Up is all about with a lively question and answer format hosted by media personality Lorianne Crook. And she treated the record-breaking audience of more than 3,400 over two sessions to a bit of insider information with guests Bucky Covington, Sara Evans, Joe Nichols, Jake Owen, Taylor Swift, Randy Travis and Gretchen Wilson.

Great American Country (GAC) was the presenting sponsor of the celebrity gab sessions, which were taped for two future television broadcasts by the same name on the Country Music-themed cable network. The first episode is scheduled to air Saturday, July 19 (9:00 PM/ET) and the second episode will air Saturday, July 26 (9:00 PM/ET). Schedule and times subject to change. 

"The participating artists are really in their element in front of a live crowd of fans, and we always see a side of them we never expected," said Sarah Trahern, GAC Senior VP of Programming.  "Answering questions directly from their fans really gets to the heart of who they are, and the featured artists tell us they enjoy themselves as much as the audience does."

CMA Music Festival After Hours(tm) Presented by CMT(tm)
The fun never ends. Sixteen clubs participated in CMA Music Festival After Hours presented by CMT offering drink specials and activities for festival goers and Nashvillians.

"The Official CMA After Hours Kick-Off Concerts" were held at the Hard Rock Outdoor Stage with performances by The Clark Brothers, Whiskey Falls, and Mark Wills. Hard Rock Café Nashville's Stub Hub Songwriters in the Round returned to the After Hours lineup for its second year providing fans a glimpse into the stories behind the songs.

ABC Daytime
Drama is a staple of both Country Music lyrics and daytime television series, and the artists and actors met at the crossroads during 2008 CMA Music Festival when the ABC daytime stars of "All My Children," "One Life to Live," and "General Hospital" made their return at the Festival.

Daytime actors that attended CMA Music Festival included Bobbie Eakes ("Krystal Carey") and Ricky Paull Goldin ("Jake Martin") from "All My Children;" Kassie DePaiva ("Blair Cramer") from "One Life To Live;" and Bradford Anderson ("Damian Spinelli"), Rebecca Herbst ("Elizabeth Webber"), and Jason Thompson ("Dr. Patrick Drake") from "General Hospital".

ABC Block Party
The ABC Block Party hosted by "Bachelor" alum Bob Guiney on Saturday included a performance by Country artist Marcel, appearances by the Daytime stars including a performances by Bobbie Eakes and Kassie DePaiva, a question and answer session with two-time "Dancing With the Stars" champion and emerging Country star Julianne Hough, and trivia contests where winners received "Dirty, Sexy Money" that could be redeemed onsite for ABC merchandise.

Media Coverage
More than 750 journalists from more than 200 domestic and international media outlets were credentialed for 2008 CMA Music Festival. Among the domestic outlets at CMA Music Festival were, ABC Radio Networks,, AOL, Associated Press, CMT, Country Weekly, GAC, Getty Images, In Touch Weekly,, MSN, OK Magazine, Outdoor Channel, People, Premiere Radio Networks, Reuters, The Tennessean, USA Today, and US Weekly, International media from 14 countries were credentialed as well, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Among the 49 international outlets represented were Bayerischer Rundfunk/Bayern 3 (Germany), BBC Radio Lancashire (UK), Country Music Channel (Australia), Disney Tribune (France), Maverick Magazine (UK), The Music Network (Austra lia), Personalities Magazine and (Ireland), Queensland Country Life (Australia), RTL (France), and more.

Sponsorship is a key element to the marketing, fan experience and financial support of the Festival. Nearly 70 partners gave out more than 300,000 product samples.

VAULT was present in the Fun Zone and title sponsor of the LP Field concert stage. "The CMA Festival was a great event for VAULT - we definitely got it done and then some," said Neil Golson, VAULT Brand Manager. "We were able to spread the word about this fantastic brand, and quench the thirst of tens of thousands of Country Music fans over the course of the long weekend."

Greased Lightning Cleaning Products passed out more than 36,000 trial size samples of their cleaning product.

"Country Music fans continue to amaze," said Craig LaPointe, Event Manager for Greased Lightning. "With Greased Lightning's involvement at the Festival since the inception of the Riverfront stages in 2001, 2008 proved to be the perfect place for Greased Lightning to call attention to our newest promotion, This year's tremendous turnout and fan appreciation laid the exciting groundwork for the 2009 CMA Music Festival possibilities."

truTV distributed 800 gas cards and 11,000 key chains and mint tins to fans. Fans also recorded DVDs in front of a green screen that made it look like they were on an oil rig. 

Tetley Tea distributed 30,000 wet samples in the Fun Zone and 20,000 dry samples in the Fan Fair Exhibit Hall.

With temperatures in the 90s, Blue Bell Creameries was a popular spot in the Fun Zone, where they handed out 20,000 ice cream samples. And there was a lot of puppy love in the Chevy Sports Zone with 16,000 Waggin' Train Dog Treats samples handed out in the Fun and Sports Zones..

CMT passed out 2,200 foam fingers for the Super Fan sections at LP Field. CMT also provided an artist photo for every fan who passed through their autograph line at the Fan Fair Hall. They made autograph hunting easier by handing out 2,500 sharpies and produced 1,500 "Can You Duet" CDs for fans who sang in the Can You Duet booth.

McDonald's was a first-time sponsor in the McDonald's-Dr Pepper Family Zone in 2008. They distributed 20,000 coupons for Southern Style chicken sandwiches and biscuits, 11,000 coupons for iced coffee, 11,600 servings of McDonald's Apple Dippers, and 10,300 servings of McDonald's Fun Cookies. They also provided 560 Southern Style Chicken Sandwiches, 720 Cherry Pies and 560 apple Dippers Sunday during the free McDonald's Family Picnic.

"McDonald's' participation in the 2008 CMA Music Festival was a terrific opportunity to connect to our customer's passion for Country Music," said Ted Bertuca Jr., a local McDonald's Owner/Operator.

"I found the CMA Festival to be the total entertainment package - great music combined various fun and interesting activities. That, together with eclectic downtown Nashville, it offered something for everyone! What I found most impressive, was how nice the crowd was," said Cathy Kolumbus, Senior Brand Manager, Tetley USA. "Everyone we spoke to was genuine and seemed to be having a great time, despite the heat."

2009 CMA Music Festival Tickets
2009 CMA Music Festival will take place Thursday through Sunday, June 11-14, in Downtown Nashville and tickets are available now. Tickets for 2009 CMA Music Festival were available to Music Festival attendees during the event and available nationally today. The Gold Circle section is already sold out and tickets are selling at a rapid pace, 4.2 percent ahead of 2008 sales figures and 29 percent ahead of 2007 sales.  Fans are encouraged to order early for best available seating.

To order tickets, call 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378); visit to download an order form to fax or mail; visit to buy online or charge-by-phone at 615-255-9600. Prices do not include applicable handling fees. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice. All sales are final and non-refundable. Four-day ticket package categories correspond to a different level of seating at LP Field. Children 3 years and younger are admitted FREE.


LEVEL                            ADULT                                    12 & YOUNGER

Gold Circle (Floor)            SOLD OUT                               N/A
Floor Level                       $175                                        $123
Lower Level                      $155                         $109
Club Level                        $145                                        $102

ABC Television Special - Monday, Sept. 8
As previously announced, the Festival was filmed for a two-hour television special "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" scheduled to air on the ABC Television Network Monday, Sept. 8 (9:00-11:00 PM/ET). Hosting the special for the first time will be two-time "Dancing with the Stars" champion Julianne Hough, former "American Idol" finalist Kellie Pickler and reigning CMA Horizon Award winner Taylor Swift. Robert Deaton is the Executive Producer. Gary Halvorson is the Director. The special was shot in high definition and will be broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound.

This is the fourth year the special will air on ABC. The primetime special debuted on the CBS Television Network in 2004.

Both the concerts and the interaction between the artists and fans will be captured in the special with heart-pounding performances interspersed with heart-warming encounters between the artists and their avid admirers. Taped exclusively for the special, cameras followed the stories of several Festival attendees, who had their dreams come true when they were granted a once-in-a-lifetime meeting and personal encounter with their favorite Country stars.

On the Web
The Second Annual Fan Social was held at Buck Wild Saloon on Saturday, where a maximum capacity crowd of MySpace and Facebook social-networking friends met in-person. Capitol Records Nashville recording group Lady Antebellum, who performed at the first of these gatherings in 2007, returned with an acoustic performance. Lyric Street artist Trent Tomlinson performed and participated in an autograph session.

For up-to-the-minute information about tickets, travel information, schedules, artists appearing at 2009 CMA Music Festival and more, visit and sign up for Exclusive, a periodic e-newsletter with exciting artist features and Country Music news.

CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. CMA Board member Tony Conway is the Executive Producer of CMA Music Festival. Premiere Radio Networks is the official radio broadcaster. Chevy: The Official Ride of Country Music. Borders®: The Exclusive Music & Book retailer of the CMA Music Festival. Wrangler®: The Exclusive Jean of the CMA Music Festival. Additional promotional partners include, American Airlines, Armour® Vienna Sausages, Assets®, Blue Bell Creameries, Bluegreen Corporation, BowTech Archery, BP, BullFrog®, Carl Black Chevrolet, Championship Bull Riding, Call2Recycle(tm), CHILL Cooling Towel(tm), CiCi's Pizza®, CMT(tm), Coca-Cola®, Coyote Ugly®, Cutter®, Digital Rodeo, Dr Pepper®, Dunkin Brands, Inc, Facecard, Fidelity Investments® Nashville, Field & Stream, Fiesta Gas Grills, GEICO, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, GAC Great American Country, Glacèau Vitaminwater®, Greased Lightning® Cleaning Products, Hard Rock Cafe, Kansas City BBQ Society, MARTHA WHITE FOODS INC, Mary Kay®, McDonald's®, Mr. Coffee®, Music City Rising Star, Nashville Shores, New Holland, Outdoor Channel, Outdoor Life, RFD-TV, Repel®, Rocky Boots, SELECT COMFORT, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Silpada Designs®, Southern Living Magazine, Space Chimps, Sprint Nextel Corporation, Strawberry Shortcake, Super 8 Motel®, Tennessee Education Lottery Corp®., Tetley® Iced Tea, The Yankee Candle Company, Inc.,  truTV(tm), U.S. Air Force, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish, USO, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, VAULT(tm), Waggin' Train, Wrigley's Spearmint, Wrigley's Doublemint, Wrigley's Juicy Fruit, Wrigley's Big Red, Wrigley's Winterfresh, and XM Satellite Radio. EMT services are provided by Vanderbilt Sports Medicine and Vanderbilt Life Flight. CMA Music Festival ® and Fan Fair® are registered trademarks of CMA.

Keith Urban was a surprise performer at the Nightly Concert on the Vault Concert Stage LP Field Friday, June 6 in Downtown Nashville during the 2008 CMA Music Festival. Urban, who performed a song while walking through the audience, is shown autographing his guitar for a fan.  Photo by:  John Russell / CMA

Jessica Simpson greets Ellis Woodall III from Nashville, Tenn., in the truTV Fan Fair Hall at the Nashville Convention Center Friday, June 6 during the 2008 CMA Music Festival. Simpson also greeted the crowd at the Nightly Concert on the Vault Concert Stage LP Field Thursday, June 5.  Photo by: Jim Hagans / CMA

Rascal Flatts makes a surprise appearance and performs at the Nightly Concert on the Vault Concert Stage LP Field Thursday, June 5 in Downtown Nashville during the 2008 CMA Music Festival.  Photo by: John Russell / CMA

Julianne Hough, Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift To Host "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock" On ABC

JUNE 6, 2008 –– NASHVILLE –– It's a raucous girls' night out when "Dancing with the Stars" champion Julianne Hough, former "American Idol" finalist Kellie Pickler and reigning CMA Horizon Award winner Taylor Swift host "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" Monday, Sept. 8 (9:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"The summer's hottest concert special, just got hotter with the addition of these three beautiful, talented performers as hosts," said CMA Chief Executive Officer Tammy Genovese. "They are all America's sweethearts and I know they will each add sparkle and fun to a great night of musical performances."

Filming Thursday through Sunday, June 5-8, during the annual CMA Music Festival, the special features today's most exciting Country Music stars during a four-day party and music celebration in Nashville.

Some of the artists already announced to appear at the Nightly Concerts on the VAULT(tm) Concert Stage at LP Field include Trace Adkins, Rodney Atkins, Billy Ray Cyrus,  Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Jewel, Miranda Lambert, Pickler, Sugarland,  Swift, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, Dwight Yoakam, and surprise appearances by Country superstars - a hallmark of the Festival.

The annual event is unlike any other: four days, 30 hours of autograph signings, 100 hours of live music, hundreds of artists and celebrities, and a party list of thousands of avid, singing and dancing-till-dawn fans. This is the fourth time ABC will broadcast this special - which invites the whole country to America's biggest Country Music bash. Originally started as Fan Fair® in 1972, last year the event experienced its biggest attendance to date - 191,000.

In addition to exciting, never-before-televised music performances, viewers will also enjoy the ultimate, Country Music fan experience. In exclusively shot segments for the special, the cameras will capture behind-the-scenes moments between the artist and their fans and follow the stories of several passionate Country Music enthusiasts.

Most people know Hough as winner of two consecutive seasons of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," but her passion is Country Music. She recently released her self-titled, debut on Mercury Nashville and her current single, "That Song In My Head," is climbing Billboard's Hot Country Songs. She will be on tour throughout the summer with Brad Paisley. Hough is no stranger to the Festival. She made her first CMA Music Festival appearance in 2007, when she introduced Big & Rich.

Undoubtedly one of the most popular finalists on "American Idol," Pickler's legion of fans continues to grow. She just released her new single, "Don't You Know You're Beautiful" from her forthcoming sophomore album, which will be available in late summer. Her Gold certified debut album, Small Town Girl, includes the hit singles "Red High Heels" and "I Wonder," a song that moved many in the audience to tears when she performed it in November on the 2007 CMA Awards.

What a difference a year makes. Swift has gone from High School student to bonafide Country superstar with a treasure trove of accolades and awards including the coveted 2007 CMA Horizon Award. Swift is consistently ranked Country's No. 1 artist on MySpace and was named Country Music's Hottest Female Artist of 2007 by AOL Music and Best New Artist of 2007 by the editors of iTunes. Her self titled, Big Machine debut has surpassed sales of 3 million copies and this summer she is on tour with CMA Vocal Group of the Year Rascal Flatts.

"CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" is executive-produced by Robert Deaton and directed by Gary Halvorson. The 2008 CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" will be shot in high definition and broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound.

L-R: Julianne Hough, Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift will co-host "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" airing Monday, Sept. 8 on the ABC Television Network. Photo Credit: Justin McIntosh (Taylor Swift pic), BNA Records (Kellie Pickler pic) and Mercury Nashville (Julianne Hough pic).
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Added: July 2008
Keith Urban performs at the 2008 CMA Music Festival.
Urban's performance will be featured on "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" Sept. 8 on ABC.
© Stephanie Mullins / CMA
Taylor Swift performs at the 2008 CMA Music Festival. Photo by John Russell / CMAKellie Pickler performs at the 2008 CMA Music Festival. Photo by John Russell / CMAJulianne Hough performs at the 2008 CMA Music Festival. Photo by John Russell / CMA
Julianne HoughKellie PicklerTaylor Swift