First-timers, regulars sing same song at CMA Fest

Whether you're a newbie or you've been going to CMA Fest for decades, fans sang the same song down on Broadway Friday, hoping to see the next big thing.
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 9:19 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Whether you’re a newbie or you’ve been going to CMA Fest for decades, country music fans sang the same song on Broadway Friday, hoping to see the next big thing.

“You can’t pass up anything. You’ve got to look out for people and you never know who the next big star is going to be,” Ernestine Godfrey said.

Godfrey’s been going to CMA Fest for nearly 20 years, pulled into the action by her sister, Gloria Ingram, whose first CMA Fest was at the Fairgrounds in 1999 when it was known as Fan Fest.

“(It was) nothing like this. It was more intimate then. It was a lot smaller. It was really great,” Ingram said.

First-timers Michael Brown and Erica Rubio, who came from California, were hoping to stumble on an up-and-coming artist who soon will be one of the next household names.

Bruce and Gail Wilson had that fortune in 2006, watching a young Taylor Swift on the Riverfront Stage.

“It was just so remarkable to see her grown like that,” Gail Wilson said. “I’ve always said if I got stuck on an island somewhere with only one thing, I would take music with me. You’ve got music in your live, you’ve got it all.”

For Brown and Rubio, who planned to see headliners like Kelsea Ballerini and Kane Brown, just being in Nashville for country music’s biggest party was worth the flight from California.

“We don’t have that in California, just the Stagecoach Festival, and we didn’t go to that, so we were super excited to come here,” Rubio said.

“Seeing how all these young artists are coming up, how good they are, how well they sing, I really think we’re in good hands for sure,” Brown said.

With more than 83 artists playing on several stages in downtown Nashville, there’s no telling where the artists you see this year will end up the next time you come to Nashville for CMA Fest.

Lauren Lowrey and Stefano DiPietro served as hosts at different CMA Fest events on Friday.

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