It’s that time again! The CMA Music Festival begins this week in Nashville, and the stars have come out to perform and check in with their fans!
AUDIO: Alan Jackson, who performs at LP Field on Sunday (June 10th), says he’s still the same guy prior to hitting it big as a country star.
AJ (CMA Music Fest) OC: …the people. :24
“I was always a more regular guy and I worked and wanted cars and boats and going to the lake, and that’s still exactly what I do now. And I’m thinking about writing songs and I’m still doing whatever I have to do. But when I come home, I don’t hardly pick up a guitar. I’m always fooling with cars and boats and family and the same things I’ve always done prior to being a big star, you know? Maybe that’s kept me more connected with the people.”
AUDIO: Darius Rucker is making a couple of appearances during this year’s CMA Music Festival. On Monday (June 4th), he will host his 3rd annual Darius and Friends golf tournament, in addition to his concert at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon. Proceeds will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Darius Rucker (CMA Music Fest) OC: …awesome. :48
“Music Fest is like nothing else. I say all the time that country music is the only genre that could have something like that. It’s truly amazing, when I come that weekend, people are everywhere and they want to be your best friend. It’s always cool and I love coming here. The thing that always gets me is the show. The fact that you can get that many superstars at one show all playing for free, for the same goal, to entertain those people that are in that stadium that come here for the whole week from all over the world. They come here for one week to see country music, and it’s amazing that those artists say on Friday and Saturday night, this is country music come on out. That’s awesome.”
AUDIO: Dierks Bentley talks about the lengths that fans will go to show their appreciation.
Dierks (fans) OC: …commitment. [laughs] :22
“I know a lot of the early fans by name, because we played a lot of shows at a lot of small venues where we’d be around a lot after the shows. I’m not gonna say her name ‘cause I don’t know if she’d want me to or not, but she has like a dog print of Jake, my dog’s Jake, but she has this dog print on her shoulder with my name in the middle of the tattoo. So, tattoos are always, that’s a big deal when somebody gets your name tattooed on part of their body or something. It’s kind of a scary thing, because it’s kind of a lifelong commitment. [laughs]”
AUDIO: Eric Church, who is poised to hit the top of the country charts in the coming weeks with his current single “Springsteen,” says CMA Music Festival is special and unique to country music.
Eric Church (CMA Music Festival) OC: …of music. :32
“Well, I think it’s what makes country music unique. Find me another format that happens in, it is just not something that happens. I think it’s about what we were talking about earlier; country music is the one format where the fans…the music is really about them, and we’re them; we’re not different than them. We’re not a lot of the rock stars and a lot of the other guys where they’re their own person, they’re their own agenda…they’re not like the people [laughs] that are listening to them. It’s different in country. WE are. We come from there; we are that. I think it’s just a great thing for them to be able to come to our town and to get just this barrage of music.”
AUDIO: Eric Church, who is poised to hit the top of the country charts in the coming weeks with his current single “Springsteen,” says CMA Music
Eric Church (CMA Music Fest) 2 OC: …cool thing. :36
“I like it because all year long, we go to their town and we entertain ‘em, and this time of year, they’re coming to mine. I can still sleep in my bed at night and we still get to hang with ‘em all day. And just as an artist, it’s a neat event. It’s a neat thing. And it’s unique to country music. I mean, if you look around at the other formats, they don’t have this – CMA Music Fest, Fan Fair. I think just to have that and to be able to see ‘em, and see the same people every day, and some people schedule their entire year, vacation time and save up money to come and do this. So, to have people do that for country music – not just me personally – but country music, it’s a really, really cool thing.”
AUDIO: Eric Church, who performs at LP Field on Saturday (June 9th), talks about country fans.
Eric Church (country fans) OC: …in that way. :31
“You’re dealing with people that are secure. They want the show to be the good show for the fans. I just like that there is a lot of youth going on…you can throw Zac Brown in there and you can throw Jamey [Johnson] in there. There’s a lot of artists out there now, a lot of males in the format that are coming, males fans that are coming back that we kind of ignored for a while and a lot of youth. We play a lot of colleges and there’s a lot of college fans now and that’s neat, and it’s healthy for the format and I think that’s where the format is going to grow the most, in that way.”
Lady Antebellum’s fan base has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years, and the trio is looking ahead to when many thousands of their fans will flood downtown Nashville for the 41st Annual CMA Music Festival to catch them in action. The group is scheduled to perform at LP Field on Thursday, June 7th in front of a sold-out crowd.
AUDIO: Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott talks about performing at Nashville’s LP Field during the CMA Music Festival.
Lady Antebellum (Music Fest) 1 OC: …over the world. :14
“The electricity in LP Field every year for that, you can’t really beat it. It’s so much fun to be there, and to have a stadium full of the most die-hard country fans you could ever imagine, from all over the world.”
AUDIO: Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott enjoys performing during the CMA Music Festival.
Lady Antebellum (Music Fest) 2 OC: …again this year. :18
“We’ve done a fan club party every year, and we feel very strongly that we need to continue. That’s a really great way for us to connect in a more intimate setting with our fans. Country music fans are the best fans in the world. I know everybody says that, but it’s true. We are really looking forward to hopping on the stage and doing it again this year.”
AUDIO: Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley on why he enjoys the annual CMA Music Festival.
Lady Antebellum (Music Fest) 3 OC: …really cool. :25
“When you see the same fans, these die-hard fans that camp out outside the radio remotes and the hotels, and all of these places, and you start recognizing them, I think that’s when you start going “Wow, this is a special and unique industry.” You talk to them by name and give them a hug. I can’t think of any other genre that has that kind of connection. The people that come back the same time every year, you know where they are going to be. It’s really kind of a fun thing. It’s really cool.”
AUDIO: Little Big Town will be making several appearances during this year’s CMA Music Festival, including the Eighth Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade and the Seventh Annual CMA Music Festival Block Party on Wednesday (June 6th), as well as their performance at LP Field on Saturday (June 9th).
Little Big Town (CMA Music Fest) OC: (Phillip) …the best, man. 1:43
KIMBERLY: “We played at the fairgrounds. I guess it was the last year at the fairgrounds. We had just gotten our record deal.” PHILLIP: “I remember we were just about to walk out on stage, and we had to play acoustic. I mean there was no backing band.” KIMBERLY: “We were at Mercury. They wanted us to play before Wynonna sang.” PHILLIP: “I remember, my hair was short and Wynonna walked by and tuffed my hair and was like, ‘Oh that’s cute…cute red hair boy.’ [laugh] I was like, ‘Oh great.’ Like little puppy dog, ‘You’re gonna be OK, kid.'” KIMBERLY: “We were nervous.” KAREN: “Oh my gosh, were so nervous. We were so green.” KIMBERLY: “We didn’t have many songs at that point. Maybe three songs, which is what we sang. It was all we knew at the time which is what we had worked up. Because literally we got our record deal in May, and that was June.” KAREN: “And they were like, ‘Why don’t you guys sing a couple songs?’ And, we’re like, ‘Good, because a couple is what we know.’ That was fun. And then moving form that to the stadium shows, to me that the most fun you can ever have…CMA Fest, Stadium shows. It is an energy unlike anything else. It was over the top and I could just come out of my skin at those moments. KIMBERLY: “Me too.” KAREN: “It’s like you just want to float.” PHILLIP: “And it’s like the best country crowd you could ever compile. Every country fan from all over the world wants to be there. That’s like the crux of country music awesomeness. I’m telling you it is the best fun.” KAREN: “It’s the best feeling out there.” KIMBERLY: “They let them line up and all come across the stage so you have all these people that are so giddy, crazy giddy, because they get to walk up close to the stage.” PHILLIP: “And they’re waving and their arms are about to fall off. They’re just so excited. It’s the best.”