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CMA Fest Canceled For Second Year in a Row, But Is Slated to Return in 2022

Billboard logo Billboard 3/2/2021 Melinda Newman

For the second year in a row, the Country Music Association has canceled CMA Fest, its annual June four-day event that takes over many Nashville venues, including Nissan Stadium, due to COVID-19.

“After thoughtful deliberation, we are saddened to share that CMA Fest will not take place in 2021,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA CEO in a statement issued Tuesday (March 2). “We know our fans near and far have hoped that the festival could safely return this summer, and while we are encouraged to see COVID-19 vaccines becoming more widely available, we still face several challenges that prevent us from bringing our fans around the world the CMA Fest experience they have come to expect. But rest assured, we have already started planning what will be the most epic celebration of country music next summer. Mark your calendars for CMA Fest June 9-12, 2022!”

In addition to Nissan Stadium, CMA Fest utilizes such venues as Ascend Amphitheater and Music City Center. In a letter to the CMA membership, Trahern explained why the organization opted not to postpone to later this year.

“To produce CMA Fest at the scale we normally do requires a significant amount of advance planning and production. Given the length of our production window, it was simply impossible to find an available window later this summer or into the fall,” she said. She also cited the likelihood of ongoing capacity restrictions  at those and other locations the Fest utilizes.

The 2019 CMA Fest drew attendees from all 50 states and 37 other countries. According to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation, the event brought $65 million in visitor spending to Music City, per the Nashville Business Journal.

The event had not announced its 2021 lineup, but tickets from the canceled, sold-out 2020 fest rolled over to this year.  Fans who are holding on to their tickets can again roll them over to 2022 or request a full refund.

Trahern also noted that the organization’s Music Industry COVID Support initiative remains committed to distributing $3 million over the long term  to non-profit organizations providing resources to music professionals affected by the pandemic. Among its partners are Music Health Alliance, Musically Fed, MusiCares, Notes for Notes, Porter’s Call, The Store and Touring Professionals Alliance Kitchen.

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