Last night I got back from my much anticipated trip to Nashville. This was my 5th (almost) consecutive year going down for CMA Fan Fest. I went for the first time in 2008 and then have gone every June since 2010. This year we had our biggest crew ever with about 25 of us in total. The trip was absolutely amazing. If you don’t know what Fan Fest is (you are missing out!), it is an 4 day long country music festival that raises money for music programs in public schools. All of the artists perform for free so that all of the proceeds can go directly to the programs. It features all of country music’s major artists performing on Nashville’s Riverfront during the day and then at LP Field at night. Highlights from this year’s line up included Zac Brown Band, Phil Vassar, Luke Bryan, Craig Campbell, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, Joe Nichols, Sara Evans, Brett Eldredge, Kip Moore, Little Big Town, Hunter Hayes, Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton, Jerrod Neimann, Jake Owen, David Nail, Corey Smith, Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, The Band Perry, Jake Owen and Carrie Underwood. Phew!! That was only the acts that I can remember!! You can visit the CMA’s website for the full line up. Highlights from the show will air on August 12th on ABC.
Despite this being one of the best vacations of my 27 years, we did experience a few snags. The first would be the surprise performance by Lenny Kravitz. If you follow me on twitter, you may have an idea how I feel about this. Lenny came out and performed a 45 minute set which was one of the longest (if not THE longest) out of the 4 nights. The crowd was completely unfamiliar with his songs besides American Woman and Fly Away. After multiple attempts to coax the crowd into singing along to one of his other songs and being met with silence, Lenny then decided to extend the song with a 10 minute guitar solo. He clearly didn’t read the crowd…..or the camera men when they tried cutting him off about 10 minutes earlier. He finally flipped off the crowd and stormed off the stage in anger. I truly don’t know what the CMA was thinking by having this “surprise SUPER MEGA STAR” featured. One can only assume there were some type of backstage politics involved. I won’t even get into the decision to have Jason Aldean (a real country artist) join Lenny on stage for one song and then leave.
The only other snag was Sunday night’s concert at LP Field. Due to an impending thunderstorm, each act was limited to 1-3 songs instead of their planned 5-7. Poor Jake Owen was only brought on stage for one song before he was told to get off. Brad Paisley and The Band Perry were both allowed two and Carrie Underwood had time for three. We all know Mother Nature cannot be tamed but because of the rushed acts, the concert let out over 2 hours before the rain actually began. I do want to commend all of the artists for handling their shortened time gracefully. After all, they donated their time to be there when they absolutely could have been paid to perform elsewhere.
Here are some highlights from our trip:
Above: Kip Moore, Eric Church, Brad Paisley, Zac Brown Band at LP Field
Clockwise: Some of the ladies of the trip, Vanderbilt’s football field from our hotel window, Craig Campbell at the Riverfront, Quitting my day job and learning to play guitar, Phil Vassar at the Riverfront
While in town, we stopped for dinner at my all time favorite restaurant, Whiskey Kitchen. Our meal highlights included WK Bourbon Poppers which were bourbon BBQ glazed chicken poppers, seasoned sweet potato fries, ranch; Aristocrat Wings flavored with truffle, parmesan, parsley, black pepper; The Southerner which was a quarter pound biscuit, peppered bacon gravy, cheddar cheese, topped w/ fried egg and with choice of side choose from: fried chicken, smoked ham, fried green tomato, or steak (I went with the tomato)
Only 360 days until next year’s trip to Nashville. So blessed ^