For more than 46 years, CMA Fest has brought together Country Music's biggest stars as well as emerging artists who appear and perform for free in support of the CMA Foundation and music education! Launched as Fan Fair® in 1972, the very first festival was attended by 5,000 people and was held at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium. The event moved to the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in 1982, then to Downtown Nashville in 2001. Today, nearly 90,000 Country fans attend CMA Fest events in downtown Nashville each day of the festival!
In 2005, the CMA Music Festival was chronicled in a 2-hour primetime, network TV special on ABC, where it has aired annually ever since. In 2009, the special grew to be 3 hours long.
Proceeds from CMA Fest benefit the CMA Foundation, which supports music education programs throughout the country. More than $17.5 million has been given by the CMA Foundation to organizations enhancing the lives of students through the power of music. Thanks to the generosity of Country artists playing CMA Music Festival for free and the continued support of our fans, music education programs continue to be supported, sustained, and implemented.