Country music makes room for hockey - WSMV Channel 4

Country music makes room for hockey

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CMA Fest officially gets underway on Thursday. (WSMV) CMA Fest officially gets underway on Thursday. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

CMA Music Festival had to make way for the Nashville Predators for the first time in the country music festival’s history.

Games 5 and 6 of the Stanley Cup Final are happening during the event, and it’s taken a lot of sharing and flexibility to accommodate the anticipated crowds.

Over 100,000 people are expected to pack downtown Nashville for CMA Fest and the hockey games on Thursday and Sunday, according to Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp President Butch Spyridon.

CMA CEO Sarah Trahern said Wednesday they've been joking about a lineup like this with the Predators for a couple of years. So now that it’s finally happened, they worked out where Preds fans can go to watch the games.

"I’ve lived here 20 years and it’s going to be, this town is going to kind of have to shut down to allow for these two things to happen," said John Ettinger, a Nashville resident. "I think if there’s a city that can shut down like that it is Nashville."

The city may not literally shut down, but some streets definitely will. Because of CMA Fest, the watch party on Broadway moved up to land between 4th Avenue and 7th Avenue. Walk of Fame Park will be open for Preds fans as soon as musicians wrap up there.

"One of the things we added this year was Ascend Amphitheater at night. And as we were planning that, the Preds started moving further and further into the Stanley Cup," Trahern said.

CMA organizers said they finished planning early and had some room to work with at Ascend. Shows are booked for Thursday through Saturday. But on Sunday, it’s game day.

"As we were meeting with the Preds, we figured out that Game 6 if we were moving on, could be Sunday night. So, we purposefully stopped booking," Trahern said.

The artist lineups didn’t change, but some musicians may wander off.

"We had a couple of artists that might have been going to do things with us Sunday night but now are going to go to the Preds game," Trahern said.

Bridgestone plaza will have limited access as a watch party area. Only 300 wristbands will be given out for both games starting at noon on Thursday and Sunday.

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