Musicians ready for exposure at CMA Fest - WSMV News 4

Musicians ready for exposure at CMA Fest

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Musicians perform at Tootsie's on Wednesday before the CMA Fest begins. (WSMV) Musicians perform at Tootsie's on Wednesday before the CMA Fest begins. (WSMV)

Thousands of country music fans are ready to party during CMA Fest Thursday, and some musicians who already play downtown look forward to the exposure.

Propped up by the Ryman, Eric Cox came from Knoxville to Nashville to drop his wife off at a teacher conference in Mount Juliet and snuck downtown to play some tunes.

“This is where I need to be, and this is where anybody needs to be that cares about music,” said Cox.

He’s not a regular around Broadway, so the added crowds for CMA Fest are a plus.

“Here, every song I’m playing I’ve actually got an audience. People are passing by, but they’ll stop and listen and I get lots of compliments. A lot of donations, which is always nice. But it’s not all about that. It’s about someone actually listening,” said Cox.

Around the corner, Michael Simeon plays at Tootsie’s and told News4 his take on the extra fans this week.

“The bars are like back and forth because you have performers on the street. Like yesterday morning, Chris Stapleton was sound checking, so the streets were packed and the bars were empty. The second he was done, the bars were full again,” said Simeon.

He competed on American Idol three years ago and now he lives in Nashville to write and perform.

“If I get discovered on Broadway, that’d be awesome. If not, I get to wake up and do something I love every single day,” said Simeon.

Visitors said they love CMA Fest because it’s live music around the clock from well-known artists and local musicians in the bars.

The CMA Fest runs from Thursday to Sunday.

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