June 9, 2009 — More than 50,000 fans are expected to hit the streets of downtown Nashville every day from Thursday to Sunday this week for the annual CMA Music Festival, a mix of live concerts and personal artist interaction that leave plenty of tourists nursing sore feet and sunburns and desperately needing sleep.
The fans truly appreciate the opportunity, but the artists — including Jack Ingram and Gretchen Wilson — are just as impressed with the event.
"Only in country music do the artists come together to celebrate the fans," Jack says. "To see all the stars coming together in a place and throwing a party for the fans, well, that's cool. I love being part of letting the people who love this music know how much they mean to us."
Jack is shooting the video for his current single, "Barefoot And Crazy," Friday in A ustin. But he'll then make the trip to Nashville to sign autographs in the Fan Fair Hall and to perform Sunday at the closing stadium concert at LP Field along with Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift and John Rich, among others.
Gretchen will be there at the very beginning. She's the first artist slated to deliver a set at the Riverfront Stage Thursday morning. And on Thursday night, she's set to appear on CNN's "Larry King Live" to talk about the festival.
"Ten a.m. is early, but get ready 'cause I'm ready to rock!" Gretchen says. "It will be exciting to kick off such a great week."
Gretchen may unveil some new music during her set. She's releasing a digital track, "If I Could Do It All Again," Tuesday.
Gretchen is also signing autographs at Fan Fair Hall. Others expected to take pictures and meet with fans in the exhibit booths include Reba McEntire, Montgomery Gentry, Randy Houser, the Lost Trailers, Little Big Town, Craig Morgan, Joe Nichols, Steve Wariner, Josh Turner, Luke Bryan and Jason Michael Carroll.