Monday, June 13, 2011

CMA Music Festival…Day 1

I love country music or, as my mom recently called it, Country and Western. 167381_10150140768906271_19262061270_8410848_5432808_n So I was downright gleeful when sweet lucky Laura won (as in they were F-R-E-E) a set of 4 all access passes to the CMA Festival in Nashville!  Whoop, whoop!  Nash-Vegas, here we come!

I don’t like giving away the ending, but let me tell you, 4 days of music, beer, and 95-degree heat will really drain a person!  But when we pulled into town on Thursday, we wasted no time getting right down to business.
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Our first stop was to the streets!  There are stages set up everywhere featuring up-and-coming acts as well as veterans trying to make a comeback.  We stopped and listened to Casey James of American Idol 2010 fame.  Plus, he sure is easy on the eyes!

…a quick li’l bit of Casey’s “gig”
At Fanfare Hall, there were booths everywhere with stars doing meet-and-greets, autograph signings, etc.  On Day 1, we optimistically foolishly thought we would just be able to stand in a li’l line and meet whomever we wanted.  Nah.  Turns out, each artist like Kellie Pickler pictured below will have a set number of “tickets” which ensure your place in line.  After that people get in a "Hope Line” waiting to see if there is any time for left overs.  Both the line for tickets and the Hope Line had people camping out for hours.  Insanity.  I have other plans for my time in Music City.  However, we did walk around and observe the artists doing their thing.  Kellie was so cute and little!
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This guy below didn’t have a line.  Sadness.  So I wanted to make him feel welcomed to the industry.  His name is Mark McGraw and he is an up-and-coming.  He signed an 8x10 Glossy to Rob encouraging him to “Be a country star” in lieu of a rock star.  Cuteness.  Oh, and note to self to throw that dress away.  Or stand up straight.  Okay, both.
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Did I mention the insanity?  Included in the madness of the craze…the public’s wardrobe choices.  I mean, seriously?  Seriously?  Look to the right of Kylee and…wait for it…CMA Festival 010
…check out the view from behind:CMA Festival 012
Surprisingly, that didn’t kill our appetite, so on to dinner at Big River Grill.  Maybe we were starving, but it was amazing!  Delicious! Look at us cuties all lined up.  L-R that’s Kendra, Laura, me and Kylee.
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After we ate, we started heading to LP Field for the first of 4 nights of concerts.  I know the heat really weighs heavy on people, but c’mon.  Really?  These girls must be uber-sleepy, huh?CMA Festival 016
There she is behind the lovely Cumberland:CMA Festival 017
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Check out the massive stage set up:CMA Festival 019
We had general admission tickets, which put us on the 3rd level in first-come-first-served seats.  More on that later, though.  We were quite high, but at least there were jumbotrons for us to see the close-ups.
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Tonight’s lineup included the Zac Brown Band.  They played (among their popular hits) “The Devil Went Down Georgia”.  If you look closely at the screen below, you can see Zac “sawing on his fiddle and playing it hot”:
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Randy Travis came out for a bit: CMA Festival 027
Also singing with Zac Brown band were Alan Jackson, Amos Lee, and one of the newer stars of Country Music, Sonia Leigh.

Easton Corbin came out to do an acoustic bit during a set change.  “I’m A Little More Country Than That”.  Then Mrs. Jay Barker a.k.a. Sara Evans did her thing.CMA Festival 030
We got to hear Casey James again during another acoustic bit.  Then the best of the night (in my opinion) Jason Aldean wowed us.  And, yes, Kelly Clarkson joined him for “Don’t You Wanna Stay”:CMA Festival 031
Brad Paisley took the stage as the headliner this night.  Yes, in case you forgot, all of these big names played in one night!  We still have 3 more nights of great lineups. By the time Brad finished playing, it was well after midnight.  We had to get up super early the next morning because we just knew we could beat the system somehow and be able to rub elbows with all our favorite stars.  It was apparent we were not getting any sleep this weekend!

Stay tuned for 3 more days of Country Music’s biggest party!

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