CMA Fest proves it can be a launch pad for country music superstar status

Travis Tritt credited the festival with helping launch his career.
Travis Tritt credited the festival with helping launch his career.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 10:45 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 8:34 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - CMA Fest has had 50 years to prove its impact on the music industry, and for artists performing for the first time, it can be daunting.

“It’s definitely, like, nerve-wracking,” up-and-coming artist Matt Schuster said.

So far, Schuster’s relied on social media to grow his fan base but says he recognizes just how important CMA Fest is for his future.

“It’s sort of hard to process just how big of a deal CMA Fest is,” Schuster said.

Travis Tritt credited the festival with helping launch his career.

“I really noticed a big boost in my career after Fan Fair last year, things really started taking off last year,” Tritt said in an interview with WSMV4 in the 1990s.

The CEO of the Country Music Association says discovering new artists, who may soon become superstars, is half the fun.

“The way that the fans never forget seeing those people on the baby stage. I mean, that’s what I love about Fest,” Sarah Trahern said.

Artists also know they could be inspiring the next superstar. Miranda Lambert, Brett Eldridge, and Kelsea Ballerini have all spoken about watching CMA Fest as a fan and dreaming of being on the main stage.

“I used to sit right there,” Lambert said.

“I was a kid. I was a fan at one point,” Eldridge said. “I know what it’s like to be looking on that stage thinking ‘This is the coolest thing in the world.’”

“That picture was when I was 15 years old. I had just moved to Nashville,” Ballerini said of a photo of her attending CMA Fest. “That picture was me, reaching across grabbing Keith Urban’s hand.”

Meantime, while it’s unclear if Schuster will be the next Keith Urban or Blake Shelton, he has a more modest goal in mind this year.

“I like the idea to get on the stage… and everyone can get in there and just have fun with it,” Schuster said.

Are you attending CMA Fest 2023? Be sure to click here and share pictures and videos of your country music-filled experiences!