MP&Festival time in Tennessee!

June 8, 2012

Country music fans enjoy CMA Music Fest activities on lower Broadway.

Each year in early June, CMA Music Fest – formerly Fan Fair – and Bonnaroo bring a mix of music, denim, tie-dye, dreadlocks, gridlock, celebrities, boot-scooters and hippy-shufflers to Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

We hope you’ll add to the following list of festival memories from members of the McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations staff.

“Working downtown – Ground Zero for CMA Music Fest – provides the best ‘people-watching’ opportunity of the year. I love the buzz, the excitement, the cowgirl boots and, most of all, the sales tax revenue it brings to Music City.”

–          Roger Shirley, Editorial Director

“I was a freshman in college during Bonnaroo’s inaugural year, so I’ve really grown up with it in a sense. It’s hard to list one favorite thing about Bonnaroo – the lovely ladies, the good food, the interesting people you meet and, of course, the awesome music – are all at the top of the list. But the best thing for me has to be the time spent with my closest friends. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard, and as frequently, as I have at Bonnaroo over the years. Inevitably, someone in the group always does something so silly, so stupid or so daring, that all you can do is laugh your butt off.”

–          Matt Griffin, Account Executive

“I love the blend of music that comes to Middle Tennessee for Bonnaroo. A few years ago I got to see the Avett Brothers, Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z all in the same day. That variety brings such an eclectic group of fans, and yet everyone can relate to one another because we all are cooking under the same Tennessee summer sun. It is a fantastic weekend.”

–          Andrew Colton, Intern

“My favorite thing about CMA Music Fest? Beer, cowboys, rhinestones and live country music, of course!”

–          Elizabeth Elmore, Account Executive

“As a student journalist at last year’s CMA Music Fest, I met people from all over the world who came to Nashville to celebrate country music. But the most important person I met was my boyfriend – we worked and wrote side by side the entire festival, and we’ve been together ever since!”

–          Tara Knott, Intern

“We’re already Music City all year long, but when Bonnaroo and CMA Music Fest come around every June, there’s no doubt that this area is the center of the music world. Even if you don’t attend either event, you can feel the energy and you feel fortunate to live in a place where so many people have come to have fun.”

–          Andrew Maraniss, Partner

“I particularly enjoy people-watching during festivals like Bonnaroo and CMA Music Fest. You get to see how many mullets are left in the world!”

–          Kate Vorys, Staff Associate


–          Javier Solano, Vice President

“I love CMA Music Fest for the people-watching. Nowhere else will you see an American flag crop top worn with a pink sparkly cowboy hat and jean shorts.”

–          Lauren Barrett, Account Executive

“The CMA Music Fest and Bonnaroo have one thing in common: they bring people together who just want to let it all hang out and enjoy their favorite music. I don’t see many self-conscious people at either event. I dig that, even if that means seeing a bunch of unfortunate jorts and Crocs outfit combos.”

–          Katie Schlacter, Senior Account Executive

“The energy of the crowds gets me going. When the parade was going down Broadway, I was stoked to be able to look out and see all of the excitement. But, honestly, walking downtown to grab lunch and people-watching is my favorite.”

–          Kelly Brockman, Senior Account Executive

“My favorite memory of CMA Music Fest was from back when it was Fan Fair and much of it was held at the state fairgrounds. Our client was Emersia Entertainment, which was going to take a miniature version of the Country Music Hall of Fame on the road to cities across the U.S. Great people with shaky financial backing. One of the clients was Al Ross, who put Kiss together and convinced them to paint their tongues.

They and we decided they needed a booth at Fan Fair, so we ordered a bunch of Emersia church fans and sat in a booth in a cow barn at the fairgrounds. The idea was to tell country music fans to be watching for a visit by the exhibit to their community. Temperature and humidity were each around 99. But I really enjoyed meeting all the tourists and seeing their various outfits. I found that church fans also make great fly swatters if you swing them well.

–          Mike Pigott, Founding Partner

“The best part about CMA Music Fest is the people-watching. On my way to work this morning I saw a woman in her 80s who was dressed to the nines in a sparkly jacket and hat and the mandatory cowboy boots. (If you come to CMA Music Fest without cowboy boots, you’d best purchase a pair right away.) Three blocks down, I saw a group of much younger women carrying a blow-up doll. And all before 10 a.m.”

–          Alice Pearson Chapman, Partner

“I absolutely love working downtown and being in the midst of CMA Music Fest. Last year, I had a business luncheon at The Palm on opening day. I had to maneuver the parade on the way in and a crowd gathered on the Bridgestone Arena plaza for an outdoor concert on the way out. I stuck out like a sore thumb in my business attire, but I loved every second of being in that excitement and seeing so many people who don’t live here loving the city that I get to live in and love every single day.”

–          Pam Veach Schmidt, Account Supervisor

“Two days before I got married, I was on lower Broadway asking CMA Fest-goers if they had heartburn. (Just one of many crazy things I have done for an MP&F client.) Our awesome interns were peppering me with sunscreen to be sure I didn’t have a pink nose on my big day.”

–          Leigh Lindsey, Account Executive

“Hands down, it’s the people-watching. It’s such a guilty pleasure, and CMA Music Fest is a prime time for it. Being a block away from Broadway’s honky-tonks, we always see tourists sporting hats and boots to Music City; but CMA Fest brings out so many more fanny packs, hairy men in sleeveless shirts, and cheap, glitzy cowboy hats walking around downtown.”

–          Diane Hargrove, Account Supervisor


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