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Country 13/06/2006

2006 CMA Music Festival Breaks Attendance Records With More Than 161,000 Country Music Fans Attending

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NASHVILLE, TN (Country Music Association) - CMA Music Festival set a new attendance record in 2006 with 161,590 people attending the four-day Festival, June 8-11, in Downtown Nashville.

"It was an amazing event on many different levels - from the caliber of the artists and our surprise guests, to our incredibly enthusiastic fans, who traveled from around the globe to be here, and the growing support from Nashville and our surrounding communities," said Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Operating Officer. "Each year we say it, and it is true again in 2006: this was the best CMA Music Festival ever."

Attendance at the Festival hit an all-time high. Single concert tickets at the Greased Lightning Daytime Stages at Riverfront Park and the Nightly Concerts at LP Field were up eight percent from 2005. In fact, CMA opened the upper level of LP Field for the second year and doubled the amount of seating to accommodate the demand for single night concert tickets. CMA also experienced a six percent increase in the sale of four-day ticket packages.

"Increased single concert ticket sales are an indication of increased local support and participation in the Festival," Genovese said. "It is a trend that started last year and I'm happy to say we saw it continue in 2006. Local companies and individuals are embracing this event as never before - especially now that it benefits music education."

Fans enjoyed themselves and made it known at the Box Office. Tickets for CMA Music Festival 2007, June 7-10, went on sale Saturday and Gold Circle four-day ticket packages sold out in a record two hours. By Sunday, advance sales bested sales during the same period in 2005, by a robust 41 percent.

"They are coming back based on the experience they had this year, and from the initial response and what we are hearing from the Box Office, they obviously had a good time and will be back in 2007," Genovese said.

Attendance has grown from 124,000 in 2003, to 132,000 in 2004, 145,000 in 2005 to more than 161,000 in 2006. Increased sales of four-day ticket packages and single concert tickets at Riverfront Park and LP Field contributed to the growth, as well as record attendance at CMA Music Festival's free areas - including the Family Zone, Fun Zone, Chevy Sports Zone, and Chevy "All Access Music Tour."

"Our aim has been to grow this event into a world-class Festival for our fans, our artists, our industry, and our city," Genovese said. "And working together with our key stakeholders and partners, we are well on our way to accomplishing that goal."

Several factors accounted for the increase including moving the Chevy Sports Zone from the LP Field side of the Cumberland River to a new location adjacent to the Family Zone; an extensive local advertising campaign to drive awareness of the free areas; additional programs, including a sports challenge with celebrities and pro-athletes; additional performance stages; activities for children; and the weather, which stayed clear and dry until the very end of the event.

The concert at LP Field was delayed Sunday night for more than an hour due to heavy lightning and storms, but the fans weren't ready to call it quits and the music continued with Sugarland after the storm passed. Unfortunately, a second weather system made it impossible for unannounced, surprise guest reigning CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Gretchen Wilson to perform.

"We were fighting the clock and weather, and we ran out of time with another storm approaching," Genovese said. "The Office of Emergency Management was advising against going any later and we have to put the safety of the artists, our fans and hundreds of on-site workers and volunteers first and foremost."

Surprise appearances are a hallmark of this event. And 2006 didn't disappoint. Thursday night reigning CMA Horizon Award winner Dierks Bentley made an unannounced appearance, while CMA Entertainer of the Year Keith Urban joined CMA Awards hosts Brooks & Dunn during their set. On Friday, Country superstar Kenny Chesney also made a surprise appearance.
"We love giving our fans something special and unexpected," Genovese said.

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.

To date, CMA has donated more than $800,000 to worthy causes on behalf of the artists and in 2006, CMA launched "Keep the Music Playing," which earmarks music education in public schools for this important initiative through a partnership with the Nashville Alliance for Public Education. CMA anticipates contributing $300,000 toward music education for Metro Nashville's 73,000 public school students in 2006.

The charity donation is appreciated, but at its heart, 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 2006, Festival attendees came from every state and 27 foreign countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Uruguay.

New this year was the "CMA Music Festival Block Party" following "The Second Annual CMA Music Festival Kick Off Parade," featuring special guests Big & Rich and a variety of artists, celebrities, and athletes riding in classic Chevy vehicles and the newest model cars.

Following the Downtown procession, the party kicked into high gear with a free block party at the Chevy "All Access Music Tour" stage on the plaza at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Big & Rich made a surprise appearance and Cowboy Troy acted as host and emcee for the event, which drew an estimated crowd of 3,000, according to police estimates.

Nightly Concerts at LP Field
In all, 33 acts participated in the star-packed Nightly Concerts at LP Field.
The lineup Thursday included Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley, Brooks & Dunn with Keith Urban playing guitar on "Believe," Sara Evans, Pat Green, Little Big Town, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blake Shelton, and Hank Williams Jr. Pre-show activities included an appearance by Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell; Mark Wills, singing the national anthem; and the participation of the United States Marine Corps Recruiting Station Nashville Color Guard and a fly over by three Air Force F-16s from The Checkerboards of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312, from Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, S.C.

Midway through Evans' hit-filled set, the singer stopped to introduce Kristen Wright and Sean Marks, both 24, of Buffalo, N.Y. When Marks dropped to his knee and asked Wright to marry him, the crowd erupted into cheers.

Fans were treated to performances Friday by Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Terri Clark, Billy Currington, Montgomery Gentry, Wynonna, and Trisha Yearwood.

During her performance, Yearwood stopped to say, "We always hear so much about how great it is for the fans to see all their favorite artists in the same place, but it's the same for me. I just love coming here and getting a chance to see all the fans."

Saturday's lineup included Billy Ray Cyrus, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Craig Morgan, Brad Paisley, Josh Turner, and Carrie Underwood, who made her first Festival appearance in 2005 after being named American Idol.

"It's been a great week," Underwood shouted to the enthusiastic audience. "It wasn't too long ago, I was sitting out there with y'all."
Sunday rocked the house with Keith Anderson, Clint Black, Los Lonely Boys with Ronnie Milsap, Joe Nichols, LeAnn Rimes, SHeDAISY, and Sugarland - who capped the night and the Festival.

"Country Music fans are the best fans in the world," Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles shouted as the band launched into "Something More," to the delight of the wet, but eager, crowd.

Greased Lightning Daytime Stages at Riverfront Park
Crowd pleaser The Charlie Daniels Band got the 2006 CMA Music Festival off to a rousing start Thursday morning with the kick off concert at Riverfront Park. Fans were waiting well before dawn to see the legendary fiddle player and the concert venue on the banks of the Cumberland River stayed packed all day and every day after.

"This is all about the fans," Daniels said, just prior to hitting the stage. "It's like everybody that comes to town gets a backstage pass. It's really up close and personal for the fans. This is the music of the people, the music of the common man - which is what I am. It's about the salt of the earth, Country people who get up every morning and make this country work. It's their music."

A few blocks away at Rippy's Smokin' Bar & Grill, "Good Morning America" Feature Correspondent Mike Barz interviewed artists Billy Currington, Sara Evans, and Josh Turner live on the ABC Television Network in front of an enthusiastic, sign-toting crowd.

Throughout the four days, the Riverfront dual stages bustled with a rich array of performers from both major and independent record labels. In all, 86 acts performed more than 32 hours of concerts.

Backstage, first-time CMA Music Festival performer Danielle Peck was waiting her turn to go onstage. "I came to the Festival last year as a fan, and I'm here this year as an artist," she said proudly.

In the middle of Tanya Tucker's typically scorching set, Style Network's Niecy Nash, host of "Clean House" and special CMA Music Festival correspondent for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," belted out a soulful "Delta Dawn," trading verses and harmonizing with Tucker.

Wrangler Fan Fair
The state of continuous commotion that's been the standard for the Wrangler Fan Fair (Exhibit Hall) was back in force at the 2006 CMA Music Festival. A total of 326 artists and celebrities appeared in the Wrangler Fan Fair at the Nashville Convention Center for the autograph and photo sessions. Exhibit booths sold out with 115 exhibitors. Attendance over the four days was up from 43,567 in 2005 to 49,507 in 2006.

In fact, several people camped overnight on the sidewalk outside the Convention Center including Joe Vitale of St. Louis, who was attending the Festival with a group of friends. He was first in line at midnight. The 15- year veteran said of this annual tradition: "This is what we do - it's all in fun."

Among the biggest draws for the booths were Trace Adkins, Big & Rich, Blue County, Billy Ray Cyrus, Montgomery Gentry, John Michael Montgomery, LeAnn Rimes, Aaron Tippin, Tanya Tucker, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, and recent "Nashville Star" winner Chris Young.

Other popular artist appearances included Jason Aldean, Keith Anderson, Jeff Bates, John Berry, Kassie DePaiva, Emerson Drive, Ty England, Erika Jo, Josh Gracin, The Grascals, Lila McCann, Neal McCoy, Jo Dee Messina, Ronnie Milsap, Craig Morgan, Julie Roberts, Sawyer Brown, Trick Pony, Trini Triggs, Two Foot Fred, Clay Walker, Bryan White, Trent Willmon, Darryl Worley and Chely Wright.

One of the highlights was a wedding in the MuzikMafia booth. In 2005, Jo Ann Dresch and Brad Moyer of Pennsylvania got engaged while waiting in line at the booth and this year they returned to tie the knot. Officiating at the ceremony was MuzikMafia member/rapper Mista D and Big & Rich made an appearance to congratulate the couple.

Fan Fair featured a mix of artist booths and lifestyle exhibits. "We were up eight percent over 2005 with the Cowboy Store, which is our exclusive Wrangler retailer for the CMA Music Festival," said Edyie Brooks-Bryant, Wrangler Marketing Manager, Country Music, Licensing and Public Relations. "We believe this continues to be a great event for us to reach our target consumer. It also serves as an opportunity to interface with current Wrangler endorsees as well as meet new artists. We look forward to 2007!"

The Acoustic Corner, which launched in 2004 as a showcase for independent artists, featured 24 performers. The area on the second floor of the Convention Center was packed with fans, who usually followed the artists to their booths for autographs.

Premiere on the Air
CMA's official CMA Music Festival radio partner, Premiere Radio Networks, brought 19 of Country radio's top-rated stations (including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Indianapolis, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.) and the nationally syndicated "After MidNite with Blair Garner" to Nashville for three days of remote broadcasts from the Convention Center. A wide variety of 75 artists, celebrities and athletes participated in the remotes reaching nearly 9 million listeners.

Tower Record Sales
According to Tower Records, which sold CDs at the Wrangler Fan Fair and other event locations, the Top 10 selling artists for CMA Music Festival were (in order): Carrie Underwood, Phil Vassar, PovertyNeck Hillbillies, Jeff Bates, Danielle Peck, Jason Aldean, Keith Anderson, Brad Paisley, Little Big Town, and Trace Adkins. Each of the artists made an appearance at CMA Music Festival.

"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."

Chevy Sports Zone
CMA's free Chevy Sports Zone, in its third year, moved from the grounds at the stadium to Downtown, and was a huge hit with participants and fans in looking for fun and friendly competition among celebrities, artists and athletes.

On Thursday, Rusty Tabor was the surest shot at the "The Fifth Annual Andy Griggs Celebrity Archery Tournament," sponsored by RealTree and Yamaha Motor Corp., USA. Tabor emerged the victor with a score of 112. Rhett Akins and Griggs tied with matching scores of 105. A one-shot, shoot off determined the second place finisher with Akins second and Griggs, who won the competition in 2005, third. The U.S. Navy Parachute Team "Leap Frogs" kicked off the tournament by parachuting in from 13,000 feet.

On Friday, "The Steve Azar Celebrity Sports Challenge," presented by On The Run and Exxon, proved to be a fan favorite with an amazing array of sports champions and celebrities competing along with Azar and other artists. In the end, Azar's Blue Team was victorious with Steve Cole (former NFL linebacker with the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles) and legendary golfer John Daly winning with a score of 107.

Saturday featured "The Craig Morgan FLW Outdoors Fishing Tournament." Anglers and artists squared off and the best fish won with Lila McCann and FLW Tournament Champion Luke Clausen coming in first. The winning catch weighed in at a respectable 9.7 pounds.

Also on Saturday, the K-9s in Flight presented by Zen Puppy performed three shows to packed stands, featuring his famous pack of canine Frisbee catchers.

Sunday, "The Michael Peterson/New Holland Celebrity Tractor Race" had fans revved up. Country Music artists and celebrities raced against the clock through an obstacle course on a New Holland compact tractor and the winner was Wade Hayes with a time of 54 seconds, followed by U.S. Army Captain Bruce Bailey (55 seconds), who is a veteran of the war in Iraq, and John Berry (56 seconds).

The CMT Stage at the Chevy Sports Zone was popular with fans and local attendees enjoying music from 14 artists over the four days.

Chevy "All Access Music Tour"
A free area on the plaza at the Gaylord Entertainment Center buzzed with activities featuring a traveling showcase of pop culture memorabilia, vehicle displays and interactive consumer experiences and games, which brought Chevrolet's "An American Revolution" campaign to life.

Within the Chevy "All Access Music Tour," visitors saw rare music memorabilia from the 1950s to today; competed for prizes in trivia contests, listened to tunes at the XM Satellite Radio kiosks; and participated in the interactive activities such as the lighted floor Dance Game and Wishoo Photo Booth, which allowed fans to get their picture taken and be present on the cover of Country Weekly magazine.
The Chevy "All Access Music Tour" stage featured daily performances including David Frizzell, Mark McGuinn, T.G. Sheppard, Six Wire and more.

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

The Crisco Country Favorites Corner was a popular destination Sunday for The Crisco Family Picnic, featuring free lunch for the first 500 attendees. The meal was made from recipes found in the Crisco Country Favorites Vol. II Cookbook. Also, on Sunday, Hot Apple Pie hosted a pie-making contest.

"That's the first time we've made pie," said Brady Seals of the group.
More experienced and nationally known chefs Jon Ashton and Steven Raichlen conducted cooking demonstrations throughout the Festival.
Continuing a tradition of music everywhere you turn, the Family Zone featured several performances over the four days.

Saturday was 93 degrees and sunny as fans gathered under a tent in the Family Zone for "The 23rd Annual YW Celebrity Auction" hosted by Martina McBride with proceeds supporting programs to benefit victims of domestic violence. The auction raised in excess of $100,000, including $40,000 from two bidders who offered $20,000 each to record a song produced by McBride and her husband, John McBride, in their studio.

CMA, The Tennessean's Newspaper in Education program, and sponsors Purity Dairies, Office Depot and the Nashville Zoo, teamed up in 2006 to present "The Third Annual Color Me Musical" poster and essay contest. The contest encourages children in kindergarten through 8th grade to design a poster around how music moves them and then write an essay about it. The winner in the K-4 division was Eli Creasy, 8, of Cottontown, Tenn. In the 5-8 division, Chelsea Wright, 14, of Franklin, Tenn., was the winner.

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 two-day audience of 2,400 to a bit of insider information with guests Cowboy Troy, Jamie O'Neal, Phil Vassar and members of Lonestar (Michael Britt, Richie McDonald, Keech Rainwater and Dean Sams) on Thursday; and John Corbett, Josh Gracin and members of Diamond Rio (Jimmy Olander, Marty Roe, and Dan Truman) on Friday.

Great American Country (GAC) was the Presenting Sponsor of the celebrity gab sessions, which were taped for a television broadcast by the same name on the Country-themed cable network. "CMA Celebrity Close Up" will premiere Sunday, July 9 (8:00 PM and Midnight/EDT).

CMA Music Festival After Hours(TM)
Thirteen Downtown Nashville clubs participated in CMA Music Festival After Hours(TM) offering specials to festival attendees. Each received official Music Festival T-shirts with a "Why Sleep?" motto that was a late night call to action for the party hearty attendees.

With Country Music on America's network, ABC Television Network looked at CMA Music Festival as an opportunity to introduce themselves to Country music fans with open-to-the-public parties Friday and Saturday at hotspot Bailey's Pub & Grill.

The entire upper level of the club was adorned with banners and table covers trumpeting the 2006 CMA Awards, which will air for the first time on ABC on Monday, Nov. 6. Fans had chances to win gift bags with DVDs of popular ABC programs and listen to music from Country artists Luke Bryan, Sarah Buxton, The Lost Trailers, and Jake Owen.

NBC Daytime
NBC Daytime and CMA continued their successful partnership for the sixth consecutive year with stars of "Days of our Lives" and "Passions" making several appearances during the Festival. Actors included Darin Brooks ("Max Brady"); Christie Clark ("Carrie Brady"); Bryan Dattilo ("Lucas Roberts"); Rachel Melvin ("Chelsea Benson"); and Alison Sweeney ("Sami Brady") from "Days of our Lives," and Adrian Bellani ("Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald"); Galen Gering ("Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald"); Emily Harper ("Fancy Crane"); Heidi Mueller ("Kay Bennett"); and Mark Wystrach ("Nicholas 'Fox' Crane") from "Passions."

Soap opera fans had to summon another burst of energy to attend Saturday night's sold-out NBC Daytime After Hours(TM) Party at the Wildhorse Saloon featuring stars from "Days of our Lives" and "Passions" plus a special performance by Montgomery Gentry.

Media Coverage
Nearly 700 journalists were credentialed for 2006 CMA Music Festival representing more than 200 domestic and international media outlets. Among the domestic outlets represented at CMA Music Festival were ABC Radio Networks, Associated Press, Associated Press Radio, Associated Press Television, CMT, FLW Outdoors Magazine/Fox Sports Net, GAC, "Good Morning America," People, Playgirl, Premiere Radio Networks, Reuters, Sirius Satellite Radio, SoapNet, The Tennessean, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," TV Guide, US Weekly, Westwood One Radio Networks and XM Satellite Radio. International media from 15 countries were credentialed as well, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Among the international outlets represented were BBC Radio Lancashire, BBC Radio Leicester, CMR+ Radio, CMT Canada, Country Music Channel, Evening Herald, Highway FM, Irish Daily Mirror, Irish Times, Kol Israel, Music Network, NHK- FM, RTL, Sunday World, That's Country, VOA Indonesia and more

Sponsorship is a key element to the marketing, fan experience and financial support of the Festival. More than 20 partners conducted on site sampling, with many of them running out of initial supplies and surpassing all previous numbers. In fact, Greased Lightning distributed more than 50,000 samples this year.

2007 CMA Music Festival Tickets
2007 CMA Music Festival will take place Thursday through Sunday, June 7- 10, in Downtown Nashville and tickets are available now. Tickets for 2007 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. Fans are encouraged to order early for best available reserved seating.

"That speaks to the strength of this event and the tradition we have of delivering quality entertainment for the fans," Genovese said. "They are purchasing tickets before we have announced any artists for 2007, but they know they don't want to miss it."

To order, 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 reserved seating at LP Field. Children 3 years and younger are admitted FREE.

Gold Circle (Floor) - SOLD OUT - SOLD OUT
Floor Level - $155 - $110
Lower Level - $135 - $ 95
Club Level - $125 - $ 86

ABC Television Special - Monday, July 24
As previously announced, the CMA Music Festival was filmed for a two-hour television special scheduled to air on the ABC Television Network Monday, July 24 (9:00-11:00 PM/ET). Robert Deaton is the Executive Producer. Gary Halvorson is the Director. This is the second year the special has aired 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.

For up-to-the-minute information about tickets, travel information, schedules, artists appearing at 2007 CMA Music Festival and more, visit and sign up for CMA Exclusive, CMA's e-newsletter.

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, an American Revolution, is the official ride of the 2006 CMA Music Festival.

Promotional partners include Advil, American Airlines, AmSouth, Auto Zone, Bridgestone Firestone, Camping World, Carl Black Chevrolet, Chick-Fil-A, CMT, Coca-Cola, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Country Weekly, Crisco, Dave & Busters, FLW Outdoors, GEICO, Gillette Venus Vibrance, Grand Ole Opry, Great American Country, Greased Lightning, HCA, Major League Baseball, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, Mr. Coffee, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nashville Zoo, New Holland, Office Depot, On The Run and Exxon, Monroe Carell Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Papa John's Pizza, Prilosec OTC, Purity Dairies, RealTree, Southwest Airlines, Sharpie, Super 8, Tennessee Education Lottery Corp., TGI Fridays, The Tennessean, Ultra Pet/Zen Puppy, U.S. Navy, WellPatch Pain Relieving Pads, Wrangler, and Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. Fan Fair is a registered trademark of CMA.

Smucker's, JIF, Crisco, Hungry Jack, and Martha White are registered trademarks of The J.M. Smucker Company. Pillsbury and the Barrelhead logo are trademarks of The Pillsbury Company, used under license.

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