Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nashville...CMA Festival Part 1

After we visited Nashville a few months ago, Christen and I pretty much decided that it was our favorite town and quickly began looking for a reason to go back. Enter CMA Music Festival...a four day concert series with the best of the best as well as the up and comings.

Last Wednesday my roommate and I packed our suitcases with our best country music outfits, hats and boots and made the 4 hour drive from Atlanta to Nashville. Despite leaving at 9:30 PM, we were wide awake and only had to stop once because in my rush to leave, I forgot to eat. Whoops! By the time we got into Nashville the front desk was closed...thank goodness for the courtesy phone. Many apologies to the front desk lady that was woken from her slumber to check us in.

We got up around 8:00 the next morning so that we wouldn't miss any of our favorites that were performing in the morning. There were things going on all day....singers that have been around forever and ones that are still waiting for their big break. It was so fun just sitting on our towel, soaking up the sun and listening to good music. There were so many singers/groups performing each day. Some of the highlights from Thursday were Diamond Rio, Neal McCoy, Heidi Newfield, Phil Vassar, Chuck Wicks, and Gretchen Wilson. The best thing about it was all of the day events were FREE!

After a few hours of music we decided to make our way to the convention center to see if we could see any famous folks. We were in luck....Naomi, Chuck Wicks, Reba and Carrie Underwood were all signing autographs. We weren't lucky enough to get the autographs but did get some good pictures.

A festival isn't a festival without booths. I was blown away with all of the tents, booths, buses and trailers lining Broadway. Samples and giveaways everywhere you looked. Good ones too...way better than the ones at Sam's Club. On a sidenote...when I was a kid my parent's used to take us to Sam's to roam the aisles for samples to eat for dinner. They would have been proud to see me stockpiling the Honey Bunches of Oats cereal so I would have breakfast and snacks during the four days!

A girl can't live off cereal alone...actually, I probably could...but we had a better offer for dinner. My sweet friend, Caroline, lives in Nashville and she and her friend (who is now my friend, too) joined us for dinner before the big night concert that evening. It was such a treat to see her after being apart for a few months. Good food, great fellowship.

Each day culminated with a big concert at LP field. Since we had the fancy 4-day passes, we had great seats. Brooks & Dunn started if off followed by Reba McEntire. Then, half-way through Reba, the announcer came out made everybody clear out of the stadium into the concourse because of bad weather that was about to come through the area. An hour and a half later we were still sitting in the concourse and not a single drop of rain had dropped from the sky. After a nap and another hour wait, the weather had moved through and we were told the concert would start back in about 30 minutes. Let me just say, it was totally worth waiting out the 3 hour rain delay. Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley were incredible! The concert wrapped up at about 2:30 AM.

We were making our way to our car when I heard someone screaming my name...out of all the 25,000 people at the concert, we ran into Caroline and Molly on the way out. Super fun. Being the 4-Day-Passers that we were, we had a great parking spot, so we took them to their car...and had a little impromptu birthday celebration for Caroline. Happy 23rd, my friend!

We got back to our hotel around 3:00 AM. That made for the second day in a row that I got into bed in the wee hours of the morning. Good thing we didn't come to Nashville to sleep because we sure didn't get much!

Check back tomorrow for Day 2...and a complete description of the characters people that sat around us during the concerts each night.

1 comment:

Ashleigh Speir said...

I can't believe you were that close to all of those celebrities! What a fun week of music and friendship! I can't wait for day 2...