|X marks the coolest daytime spot for Nashville’s “signature” event in the new AT&T® U-verse® Fan Fair X (FFX) with autograph signings, concerts, lifestyle exhibits, a marketplace, interviews with the stars, demonstrations, and much more in the brand new Music City Center during 2013 CMA Music Festival, June 6-9 in Nashville.
Kicking things off is Lady Antebellum with “Lady A Day at FFX.” The CMA-Award-winning group will cut the ribbon when the doors officially open to FFX on Thursday, June 6 (9:45 AM). From the CMA Close Up Stage, Lady A will perform an acoustic set and answer questions before signing autographs in their custom “backstage” booth, nicknamed @ClubLabellum. The trio is also launching their PING PONG & SONGS event to include the thousands of fans in town for the Festival. Fans can also register at FFX for a private meet and greet with the group at LP Field on Friday, June 7.
The CMA Close Up Stage is one of FOUR stages in Fan Fair X, where fans can discover new music, learn more about the stars they admire, catch up on the latest fashions, and hear the hits from the writers who created them. FFX is open Thursday through Saturday, June 6-8 from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM and from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM on Sunday, June 9. Venue doors open at 9:00 AM all days.
CMA Close Up Stage
Making her first appearance in FFX since 2010 is Wynonna with “The Wy Xperience,” Friday, June 7 hosted by Lorianne Crook, producer and host of Crook & Chase television and radio. Wynonna will be performing acoustically and answering questions from fans (4:00-5:00 PM) in addition to signing autographs in CMA Central, CMA’s autograph hub (3:00-4:00 PM).
Another artist making a return appearance in 2013 is Ronnie Dunn, who will be participating in a Q&A session with Country Weekly Managing Editor Joe Hudak about Dunn’s art – not songwriting or performing, but photography – on Thursday, June 6 (2:30 PM). Dunn is also donating several signed pieces of his collection to be part of the Keep the Music Playing Silent Auction in FFX, which benefits school music education programs.
The Heritage Panels from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s are sure to be popular with attendees who have followed the format for many years, or those fans who want to learn more about the artists who contributed to the popularity of Country Music today. All of the participants are former CMA Award nominees or winners.
The ‘70’s Heritage panel Thursday, June 6 (3:00-4:00 PM) features Lynn Anderson, Crystal Gayle, Charley Pride, Jeanne Pruett, and Mel Tillis. The ‘80s Heritage panel Friday, June 7 (3:00-4:00 PM) features Larry Gatlin, Lee Greenwood, Ricky Skaggs, and The Oak Ridge Boys’ Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden, and Richard Sterban. The ‘90s Heritage panel Saturday, June 8 (3:30-4:30 PM) features Ty Herndon, Collin Raye, Mark Wills, and Bryan White. All of the panels will be hosted by Kevin Richards of WGNA/Albany, a CMA Broadcast Personality of the Year.
No look at the history and legacy of Country Music would be complete without including a panel paying tribute to the outstanding career of Country Music icon George Jones, who passed away on April 26. This panel, which will be moderated by Hudak, will include Jones’ longtime spouse Nancy Jones, Randy Travis, as well as members of Jones’ inner circle. The panel takes place Friday, June 7 at Noon.
Nashville’s hit tunesmiths will be featured on the CMA Close Up Stage throughout the event including the Music City Hitmakers; and Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame member and host of the CMA Songwriters Series Bob DiPiero and Kristian Bush of Sugarland on Saturday, June 8 (2:30 PM).
Fashionistas can catch up on what’s hot in Country couture during the Wrangler Fashion Show Saturday, June 8 (1:00 PM) featuring Manuel designs. And if your wardrobe runs more towards camouflage, the outdoors-types will enjoy the Field and Stream presentations on Thursday and Friday, June 6-7 (2:00 PM).
AT&T Showcase Stage
This marks the second year that AT&T has been title sponsor of the exhibit hall experience; first at the Nashville Convention Center and now FFX inside the Music City Center.
Showcasing some of the best up-and-coming BMI songwriters in Nashville, the AT&T Showcase Stage will be the place to discover new talent and some soon-to-be hits. Performing (in alphabetical order; all artists are subject to change) are Drew Baldridge, Ryan Beaver, Ann Marie Boskovich, Adam Craig, Erik Dylan, Melissa Fuller, Kimberly Kelly, Mallorie Haley, Cheryl LuQuire, Doug McCormick, Chancie Neal, and Jacob Powell.
Durango Music Spot
A perennial favorite with attendees, the Durango Music Spot will bustle all four days with music from Festival favorites including: Lynn Anderson, David Ball, Mandy Barnett, T. Graham Brown, Carter’s Chord, Mark Chesnutt, Billy Dean, Jimmy Fortune, Wade Hayes, Con Hunley, Buddy Jewell, Georgette Jones, Marty Raybon, Collin Raye, TG Sheppard, Ray Stevens, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, Mark Wills, Bryan White, Billy Yates, and many more.
The Durango Music Spot operates Thursday through Saturday, June 6-8 (11:00 AM-4:00 PM) and Sunday, June 9 (11:00 AM-3:00 PM). The stage is hosted by and broadcast live on 650 AM WSM, WSMOnline.com, and the 650 AM WSM Official Mobile App.
Nashville’s Signature Event
Getting a coveted autograph from an admired artist or celebrity is the heart of what CMA Music Festival is all about – the interaction and relationship between Country Music artists and their devoted fans.
Launched in 2012 and back again in 2013 is an improved online autograph drawing so that fans don’t spend time waiting in long lines only to leave empty handed and disappointed. The new procedures for autograph seekers enhance the overall Festival experience, improve safety, and make the process for securing a treasured autograph with the most popular artists equitable for all Festival goers.
Of the hundreds of artists appearing in FFX over the four-day event, only a projected 10 percent of signings will require a ticket. All others will be open, non-ticketed signings. A complete list of artists appearing in FFX (including a listing of autograph sessions that require tickets) is posted at CMAfest.com.
Some of the artists who will be making appearances at FFX include: Lauren Alaina, Bill Anderson, Kix Brooks, Laura Bell Bundy, Kristian Bush, Eli Young Band, Florida Georgia Line, Brantley Gilbert, Lee Greenwood, Randy Houser, Lady Antebellum, Tracy Lawrence, Brenda Lee, Little Big Town, Dustin Lynch, Justin Moore, Kip Moore, Craig Morgan, Joe Nichols, The Oak Ridge Boys, Cassadee Pope, Lisa Marie Presley, Thomas Rhett, Josh Turner, Wynonna, and Chris Young.
Country artists aren’t the only celebrities making appearances in FFX. For the first time in 2013, the cast of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” will be in the Music City Center to meet fans and sign autographs including Phil Robertson, Si Robertson, Kay Robertson, Willie Robertson, Korie Robertson, Jase Robertson, Missy Robertson, Jep Robertson, Jessica Robertson, Al Robertson, Lisa Robertson, John Godwin, Justin Martin, Sadie Robertson, and John Luke Robertson.
CMA’s longtime partner Chevrolet, the Official Ride of Country Music, will also have artists signing in their FFX booth including Bush Hawg, Craig Campbell, Kristy Lee Cook, Bucky Covington, Sarah Darling, Clinton Gregory, and more.
Fan Fair X will be filled with memorabilia from Country’s legends and top stars in the new FFX Vault. Among the featured items: a love note from Garth Brooks to Trisha Yearwood; jewelry worn by Taylor Swift during a Teen Vogue photo shoot; Brad Paisley’s first business card; Carrie Underwood’s yearbooks; and stage and personal clothing items from Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Dolly Parton, Little Jimmy Dickens, Miranda Lambert, Loretta Lynn, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Tammy Wynette, and more. Fans can also check out the vehicles of some of their favorite stars.
Keep the Kids Playing Pavilion
New in 2013 is a special area in FFX just for children and families called the Keep the Kids Playing Pavilion.
Activities in this kid-friendly section of FFX include meet and greets with Veggie Tales characters; the Adventure Science Center with an interactive exhibit on the science behind music; fingerprinting with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office; face painting; Music & Arts instrument petting zoo with mini lessons; a green screen for photos sponsored by Kidde; Notes for Notes with a music studio experience; arts and crafts with the Tennessee Art League; seed packet giveaways from the Tennessee Environmental Council; and a global humanitarian awareness exhibit from World Vision. The Pavilion will also be the home to the Ultimate Air Dogs, the premiere dog jumping organization in the country, and their daily demonstrations of canine flight and splash.
Named for CMA’s music education initiative, which provides instruments and supplies to deserving schools, the Keep the Music Playing Stage will feature several performances from groups and artists including Julie Roberts reading stories Sunday, June 9 (1:00 PM).
Country singer/painter Steve Wariner will participate in a special session Saturday, June 8 (11:15 AM) on the Keep the Music Playing Stage. Hosted by WSM AM and GAC host and Grand Ole Opry announcer Bill Cody, Wariner will talk about the intersection of being a performer and a visual artist. Members of the Tennessee Art League will also be on hand to help kids express themselves through music and art. Seventeen of Wariner’s paintings in pen and ink, watercolor, encaustic, and acrylic will be on display in the FFX Vault all four days.
FFX is free to all CMA Music Festival four-day ticket holders. If you do not have a four-day Festival ticket, CMA is making available tickets to FFX for $10 a day; or $25 for a four-day pass. CHILDREN 12 AND UNDER ARE FREE. Tickets are available at the Music City Center inside the Registration area during the event and through Ticketmaster at Ticketmaster.com or the CMA Music Festival Box Office by calling 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378) (price includes handling fees). Visit CMAfest.com for details.
Fans can stay in the loop by visiting CMAfest.com, the official website of CMA Music Festival, where they can sign up for the CMA Exclusive e-news. Fans can also connect with CMA at Facebook.com/CMA, Twitter.com/CountryMusic, Pinterest.com/CMAworld, and Instagram.com/CMA_Country_Music_Association.