It’s been years since I’ve fully dived into Fan Fair, modernly known as CMA Music Festival. Even when I’ve attended in the past I would usually just go to the stages to watch and support whatever artists I was representing at the time , but I typically didn’t walk around the entire festival. This year I decided to do exactly that.
Even thought I was there on business to connect with industry colleagues and artists I help represent, I also had the opportunity to check out other artists I like or haven’t had an opportunity to see perform live. Some shows I spontaneously stopped by were artists I had barely or never heard of. I walked amongst the fans and watched them in the autograph booth lines and at shows. I walked miles every day under the uber hot sun to make the most of my time and the experience that is Fan Fair.
Standing behind one of the stages I was enjoying a new artist who barely has any airplay on radio, yet the fans were into it……and there were a lot of them. This artist was very good and was one of countless acts I saw that had great songs and put on entertaining shows. It further drove home the point to me that there are many more than 20-30 deserving artists and songs that a majority of radio limit themselves to playing in their current rotation. There is a great deal more talent than is allowed through the pipeline that the fans were responding to, showing up for and genuinely supporting.
CMA Music Fest brings in the passionate country music fans from all over the world and from what I gathered in the four days I was in the mix, they like a variety of country music styles and niches. The genre casts a wide net and the same can be true of the country music fan. They like music beyond the center and I sense they are a lot more musical savvy and open minded than radio and the music industry give them credit for.
Music fans are kind of like that…..and so are music listeners.