By Tribune staff
NASHVILLE, TN — The 2019 CMA Fest generated a record $65 million in direct visitor spending for its sold-out four-day festival, an increase of 6% over last year’s record $61.2 million, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp announced Monday.
Sarah Trahern, CEO of the Country Music Association, said, “We’re incredibly proud that CMA Fest offers us the opportunity to support music education while also making a positive economic impact on the City of Nashville. This year we welcomed visitors from all 50 states and a record 37 international countries. A multi-day event of this size wouldn’t be possible without the engagement from our entire community. Pre-sale passes for next year’s festival are already outpacing recent years, and we look forward to introducing our city to even more visitors from around the globe in 2020.”
Butch Spyridon, President and CEO, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, said: “We cannot thank the CMA enough for continuing to deliver a world-class event that not only draws thousands of visitors but has also become a huge local draw and a major prime time network TV special.”
Mayor David Briley: “CMA Fest continues to be one of the most successful events we host, drawing people from across the nation and world to our great city and generating vital tax revenues for schools, parks, infrastructure and more. Congratulations to CMA for a record-breaking year and for once again putting on a world-class event.”
CMA Fest remains Nashville’s largest annual tourism event and produces the highest level of direct visitor spending of any annual tourism event held in Nashville. The nightly CMA Fest concerts at Nissan Stadium were sold out, with more than 50,000 in attendance each night. Tens of thousands of fans attended the festival’s outdoor stages and activations as well as Xfinity Fan Fair X inside Music City Center. The Firestone Country Roads Stage at Ascend Amphitheater sold out Friday and Saturday nights with a capacity of 6,800. The Chevy Riverfront Stage, Budweiser Forever Country Stage and the Nashville Acoustic Corner Stage all reached capacity during the festival.
The 2019 event, which took place June 6 to 9 saw a slightly higher share of out-of-town visitors who attended at 84 percent and a slightly lower number of locals at 16 percent compared to last year. About half of those surveyed (51 percent) said they were first-time attendees, compared to previous years (44 percent to 48 percent).
The share of visitors in hotels has stayed consistent over the past few years (67%), while home rental continues to grow (16%) and staying with friends/family continues to decline (10%). Just two years ago, family/friends was the second-most popular accommodation option.