This is a guest post from Nashville, TN based writer Chuck Schultz.
CMA Festival occurs once a year in June in Nashville, Tennessee as it brings together country music artists and fans from around the globe (ok fans from around the globe). This year the festival runs from June 9-12 on stages set up throughout the downtown area. Nightly shows at Nissan Stadium, though, are sold out. You may be able to acquire tickets via stubhub.com or other secondary market, but to be completely honest, you really don’t want to waste you time. There is so much talent and music being played that it would take a normal human weeks to see it all.
Tips For Canadian’s at CMA Fest!
Don’t think you can do it all, you really can’t. Check out the listings and see whom you’d like to see play. That way you’re not running around. Another suggestion is just finding a stage and setting up camp for the day and enjoy whomever is playing.
Hydrate, drink lots and lots of water. Yeah I know we all like our adult beverages from time to time but during this festival, it’s usually the hottest week of the summer in Nashville.
Wear lightweight clothes, and have a rain jacket at the ready. It is summer in Tennessee after all.
Hungry? There will be vendors on the street and the bars/restaurants on Lower Broadway will be open BUT they’ll also be jammed. You’ll really want to get off the beaten path (to get away from crazy American tourists anyway). You have some options that you can either walk, or get a ride to.
Demonbruen Hill- there are bars and restaurants. I’d recommend Harp & Fiddle it’s as close to a Irish joint as we have. If you go, ask for Amanda, tell her I sent you.
Hillsboro Village-this would be about a 25 minute walk from downtown or a quick ride. Belcourt Taps and McDougal’s Chicken of Belcourt Ave are the places to check out.
As far as specific restaurants- Rotiers (best cheeseburger in the world), Taco Mamacita, Tavern and South Street. These places are all in the Midtown/Music Row area and are not far at all. It gets you off the reservation so to speak and you really get the vibe of what Nashvillians are all about.
Ok you’re going to ask about Hot Chicken right? Only one place to go. Bolton’s. They have two locations. Google it.
Things to do that aren’t CMA Fest?
Take a tour of the Ryman, seriously it was built the same year as Massey Hall in Toronto and truly is a wonder.
If you like museums, The Country Music Hall of Fame and The Frist are must’s. Mainly for the air conditioning.
Canadian Standoff in Support of Fort McMurray
If you happen to be arriving early in the week and amazing event is taking place June 6. It’s called the Canadian Standoff, which is a monthly series that features Canadian Artists, and this particular show is to benefit Red Cross Canada for Fort McMurray. The lineup is stacked with some amazing talent; including legends, Terri Clark and Michelle Wright. Newcomers Twin Kennedy and Tenille Arts are also lending their talents. It’s a night not to be missed. Starts at 5pm at Soulshine Pizza, Division Street in Nashville. There is no ticket, just donations. So please attend if you’re in town.
So come on down, enjoy yourself and stay cool. One Love Y’all.
Chuck Schultz has over 20 years experience in the music industry. Writing for such publications as No Depression, American Songwriter and Downbeat Magazine among others. Schultz is also an advocate of Canadian Music and the creator of the monthly Canadian Standoff and weekly Canadian Exchange (The X) in Nashville Tennessee.