I have a confession to make. As a Nashville Native, I have never been to CMA Fest. Around this time of year, I go into hibernation. I avoid downtown at all costs! This year I decided to check it out and experience it for myself.
My girl Lindsey of The Fashionably Broke Teacher, flew down to join the festivities with me and we had the absolute best time! Today I’m going to share what we’ve learned and how to experience CMA Fest for yourself.
A Newbie’s Guide to CMA Fest
What to Pack
You’ll see a lot of CMAfesters wearing jean shorts and a crop top. We found that sundresses were the way to go! I also wore my denim skirt a lot with tie-front tops. (Bonus, find dresses/rompers with pockets that you don’t have to wear a bra with.)
Be Careful with What Color You Wear
You’re going to get sweaty and sweat in places you never know you could sweat. Be careful in lighter colors like yellow and grey, they show sweat!
Lindsey was comfortable in her booties, but I mostly wore my Keds (without socks). I know it’s common to wear cowboy boots during CMA Fest. Trust me, they’re uncomfortable and hot!
Nissan Stadium now has a clear bag policy. This means you need to have a bag where they can see everything inside. This makes security go a lot faster which is a huge plus. This past year they even handed out clear drawstring bags to concertgoers! In my drawstring bag was a reusable water bottle, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, chapstick, portable phone charger, and my CMA Fest pass.
I wore my Brixton and Lack of Color fedoras all weekend. They weren’t too hot and kept the sun off my face.
Where to Eat
- Frothy Monkey
- Jack’s Barbeque
- Mellow Mushroom
- Blue Coast Burrito
- Oscar’s Tacos
- The Southern
- You can get food in any of the honky-tonks on Broadway. Ole Red and Acme Feed & Seed have great vibes and food.
- There are also food trucks and booths with different food up and down Broadway!
A Few Things To Know
Carry a Reusable Water Bottle Around
There are filling stations to keep you hydrated!
Don’t Drink Too Much
June in Nashville is a scorcher. Having a beer or alcoholic beverage can make you miserable. Drink all the water you can! When it cools down, enjoy a drink or two.
Download the CMA Fest App
There are 11 different stages that artists perform each day. Most of the concerts are free and last 20 minutes. However, always make note that if you are constantly changing stages it may be hard to catch your favorite singers! I would def use the CMA App which is very helpful in creating a schedule for yourself daily. I looked at this app every day to decide where we were off to next.
Get a CMA Fest Pass
This pass will give you an assigned seat at Nissan Stadium for the bigger shows and get you into some of the smaller stages as well.
Don’t Bring a Big Camera
I didn’t get into the Music City Center for booths and music because our photographer had her two cameras. They said if the lens is removable you can’t bring it in.
If You Go to a Free Stage, Get There a Half Hour Early
The stages are crowded the way it is, if you get to a stage on time or late, it’s almost impossible to find a seat!
Take a Shower at the End of the Day
After a long and sweaty day, be sure to shower before bed and get clean!
Half of Nashville and Broadway are blocked off during CMA Fest. Lyft and Uber are a little tricky. The drivers can’t drop off/pick up just anywhere. There are specific spots you have to go to. We would want to get a car back to our hotel but by the time we got to the pickup spot, we would be close to our hotel.
And that’s it! You can always follow my CMA Fest highlight on Instagram for all the fun.