Looking for a reason to visit Music City this summer? CMA Fest is one of our favorite festivals of the year! It’s so much more than just a music festival. There’s so much happening all over Nashville, that it can be overwhelming if you’re visiting CMA Fest for the first time. We’ve used our past experience at CMA Fest to help develop a list of helpful tips.

Festival and Travel Tips for attending CMA Fest in Nashville, TN

  • Plan Ahead. During CMA Fest, Nashville is jam-packed with live music, artist signings, and popup shows all over town! Planning ahead is the most important tip we can share with you. Developing a schedule will help you see as much as possible in order to get the full CMA Fest experience. Download the CMA Fest App to help you track your favorite scheduled performers at Nissan Stadium and at the Riverfront Stage. Utilize your phone’s calendar and notes apps to help remind yourself of other events happening around Music City. Don’t forget your beauty products!
  • Free! Not all events during CMA Fest require a paid ticket. The performances at the Riverfront Stage and Music City Walk of Fame Park are free, and there are also a bunch of other free popup shows happening around town. Visit the CMA Fest website for more information on free events.
  • Fan Fair X. Purchase the 4-day pass ahead of time to save $15 ($25 vs. $40). This Fan Experience at the Music City Center is definitely worth visiting! Not all artist meet and greets are determined by a lottery, so you can still meet country music stars if you don’t win the lottery. The Music City Center is packed full of artist interviews, performances, artist merchandise booths and other fun things. Visit the official CMA Fest website to learn more about Fan Fair X.
  • Getting to Nissan Stadium. You can walk, drive, or Uber to get to Nissan Stadium, but we recommend walking. Because there are thousands of people heading to and from one place, walking is your quickest option. We especially recommend walking if you are staying near the city, and want to avoid surging Uber fares. Walking across the pedestrian bridge also offers a beautiful view of the Nashville skyline and is perfect for a photo opp. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes.
  • Where to SitS. If you get tickets on the floor at the stadium, make sure you get as close as possible. You can’t see much from the back, and you will end up watching the big screens the whole time. It’s not worth the cost unless you’re up close.
  • Weather. There’s a very good chance that it is going to rain at some point during CMA Fest. Be prepared, and have a poncho on hand to help keep you dry. You can purchase ponchos from a big box store like Wal-Mart or Target for less than five dollars. The CMA Fest app is also great at keeping country music fans updated about any delays and weather conditions that may affect the concert. Thankfully, there are dozens of bars and restaurants you can visit for a bite to eat or a drink to pass the time while it’s raining.
  • Where to stay. Most CMA Fest events take place in Downtown Nashville and at Nissan Stadium – across the Cumberland River from lower Broadway. That said, you’ll want to stay Downtown, on the West End near Vanderbilt University, or in East Nashville to be within walking distance or a short Uber ride to and from the events. For those traveling on a budget, you can save money by staying farther away from the city, or near Nashville International Airport. Don’t forget to take advantage of your travel rewards programs when booking airfare and hotel accommodations!
  • Buy Merch! Keep your memories from CMA Fest alive by snagging a t-shirt or poster at the merch booth!
  • Anything Else? Don’t forget that bags and purses ARE NOT allowed inside Nissan Stadium. Any bag you plan to bring to the stadium must meet NFL stadium guidelines. Purchase a clear drawstring backpack or tote bag on Amazon to avoid any security hassles.
  • What else is there to do? Visit our Nashville Guide to find other hotspots in Music City if you’ve got extra time.

Check out some of our photos from CMA Fest 2014.