CMA Fest 2021 cancelled over ongoing COVID-19 concerns

4 March 2021 | 1:00 pm | Mallory Arbour

Nashville’s CMA Fest has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Country Music Association announced.

Nashville’s annual multi-day festival CMA Fest has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Country Music Association announced on March 2nd.

CMA Fest is one of the oldest country music festivals after starting in 1972 as Fan Fair, and renamed in 2004. In addition to hours of live music, the event offers fans a variety of unique opportunities to experience their favourite artists, including autograph signings, celebrity sports competitions and interactive exhibits. The annual June event runs over four days, with over 400 artists and celebrities participating in the festivities.

The festival attracts numerous international and out-of-state visitors, and brings in close to $60 million in revenue each year, with a percentage going to charity. In 2011, the total combined attendance was estimated to have exceeded 250,000 people at ticketed events and in free areas.

The Country Music Association issued the following statement on the decision to cancel this year’s festival:

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“After thoughtful deliberation, we are saddened to share that CMA Fest will not take place in 2021. We know our fans near and far have hoped that the festival could safely return this summer, and while we are encouraged to see COVID-19 vaccines becoming more widely available, we still face several challenges that prevent us from bringing our fans around the world the CMA Fest experience they have come to expect. But rest assured, we have already started planning what will be the most EPIC celebration of Country Music next summer.”

Given how CMA Fest spans across the entire downtown Nashville area, including Nissan Stadium, Ascend Amphitheater, and Music City Center, and the significant amount of planning and production that goes into such a large event, the festival can’t be rescheduled nor go ahead with capacity restrictions.

CMA CEO Sarah Trahern added, “We know that you may be wondering why we cannot reschedule our event to take place later in 2021, however, to produce CMA Fest at the scale we normally do requires a significant amount of advance planning and production. Given the length of our production window, it is simply impossible to find an available window later this summer or into the fall.”

CMA Fest is one of multiple American music festivals that have already been cancelled for 2021, including Coachella and Stagecoach. The 2021 CMA Fest was slated to be the 50th anniversary, but with no 2020 or 2021 festival, that anniversary will be delayed until 2023.

CMA Fest will be held Thursday, June 9 to Sunday, June 12 in 2022. Anyone who retrained their 2020 passes can keep holding them or opt for a refund at Passes for CMA Fest 2022 are not yet available.

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Images: Country Now