It’s the most wonderful time of the year for country music. CMA Fest has taken over the streets of downtown Nashville, bringing country music lovers together from all locations and walks of life. This week every year is, hands down, the most spectacular event for those who are fans of the genre, giving them up close and intimate looks at their favorite artists, while also allowing the opportunity to see the biggest names in music perform in a stadium.
Each year CMA Fest gets bigger, better, and busier. This particular year is even more people-packed than ever, as Music City is bringing two vastly different groups of people together in one place at one time: music fans and sports fans.
The Nashville Predators are vying for their first ever Stanley Cup, battling the Pittsburgh Penguins to become the 2017 NHL champions. Last night, the Preds played Game 5 in the best-of-seven series in Pittsburgh, but that didn’t stop the team’s fans from coming downtown to show support.
Bridgestone Arena, which holds approximately 20,000 people, was sold out last night, as Preds fans banded together to watch the team around its home ice on the jumbotrons. At the same time as the game was taking place, Nissan Stadium, which can seat close to 70,000, was packed to the brim with country music fans seeing Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Cole Swindell, Miranda Lambert, a surprise Garth Brooks appearance, and more. Add in the many who camped out in the street on Lower Broadway to watch the game on a giant portable screen, and Nashville was in overdrive.
What we noticed as we walked down the streets of CMA Fest yesterday was that whether someone was wearing cowboy boots or a jersey, this city is filled with love and support this week. We saw respect for one another, respect for our musicians, respect for our team, our city, our restaurants, our bars, and our roads. People walked down the street saying “Go Preds!” to those clad in country wear and were met with a returned chant and smile.
There is camaraderie. There is concern. There is community.
This is Nashville during CMA Fest week, and we couldn’t love this city more.